Now that you’ve got your new ink, you want to make sure you take excellent care of it to avoid infection and keep it looking pristine for years to come. Here’s how to care for your new tattoo:
Remove the bandage after 1-4 hours. If your tattoo is bigger/higher trauma (color, solid, sensitive areas) leave the bandage on the full 4 hours (to finish most of the seeping). If it’s smaller, mostly linework, etc. you can take it off sooner.
Wash your hands with antibacterial soap (unscented or with natural oils), then wash your tattoo with the antibacterial soap (we like dial foaming hand soap, dr. Bronner’s, or soap made for tattoo aftercare like Redemption). Make sure to use your fingertips (not washcloth or anything abrasive).
Rinse thoroughly and gently with lukewarm water. Make sure any loose plasma or ink chunks rinse away, DO NOT pick them off manually. Pat dry gently with a clean, fresh towel or paper towel. Allow your tattoo to air dry another 5-10 mins.
When dry, apply a very SMALL amount of healing ointment (we prefer Redemption brand, or other ointment made for tattoos; next best is Aquaphor). Rub into tattoo gently with clean fingertips. When done, the tattoo should have a sheen, not a thick layer or excess. You want the tattoo to be able to “breathe.” Do not re-cover with any kind of wrapping. Be mindful of the area and try to avoid touching it against any dirty surfaces.
Repeat this process at least 2 times daily, extra if you get sweaty or dirty. If you want extra protection for the tattoo your first night, or in the first few days at work/around contaminants (pets, kids, etc.) you may, after the ointment is applied, use a clean, loose cotton/natural fiber garment over it. Make sure the garment is something you don’t mind getting a little excess ink or ointment on. We do recommend letting fresh tattoos breath uncovered as much as possible.
After 4-5 days, you will notice your tattoo going into the next stage of healing-shiny/dry/itchy/peeling. Gradually switch to an unscented lotion (such as Lubriderm or Jergens). Moisturize your tattoo several times a day, whenever it appears dry; but let it dry out between applications! Always make sure your hands are clean when you are treating your tattoo.
- DO NOT pick, scratch, or peel any loose skins or scabs! They will come off when ready naturally, or while gently washing or applying moisturizer.
- DO NOT soak your tattoo in pools, oceans, baths, hot tubs, etc. for 2-3 weeks. The soaking and bacteria contamination could seriously damage your tattoo or cause infection!
- NO direct sunlight until completely healed. Once healed, if you cannot prevent exposure to the sun, apply maximum strength sun block (45 spf or higher) to keep your colors bright and new! Sun exposure is the leading cause of tattoos fading and losing clarity over time.
- BE AWARE that during the first few days of healing, the tattoo might seep ink, blood, or lymph which may stain clothing, sheets, or other fabrics.
For any questions or concerns feel free to call or email us! Check out our app for even more aftercare and tattooing resources.