11 Tips on How to Care for Your New Tattoo

Prev1 of 2

Got a new tattoo? Now what? Here you will find our top 11 tips on taking care of your new tattoo. There are so many aftercare recommendations and products out there, some deliver and some don’t, however- the most important thing (which is #1 on this list) is to listen to your tattoo artist– he or she will inform you precisely what you must do to properly care for your tattoo, all based on the results they’ve seen over many years of experience. The vast majority of tattoo healing problems are because the clients/customers fail to follow directions. The instructions you’re given are very important. Now, these pointers below are for general care, and they are very basic, time-tested guidelines. If any point differs from what you are instructed, follow the advice of your artist. And remember that people have different types of skin, allergies, potentials for reactions, etc, so everyone will naturally heal differently.

Top 11 Tattoo Aftercare Tips:

1– Pay attention to what your tattooist tells you and do precisely what he or she instructs. If she/he is a professional with experience, they will certainly know what product and healing technique works best for their own work, in general, and for their clients in particular. Keep in mind, if you change the aftercare for whatever reason the tattooist is not obliged to touch up your tattoo free of cost. It is your responsibility to take care of your tattoo once you leave the studio.

Tattoo aftercare tips

2– DO NOT WRAP YOUR TATTOO AGAIN unless explicitly instructed to do so by your artist. It is extremely important to keep the tattoo clean after the protection has actually been taken off. Remember, your new tattoo is just like an open injury, do not forget that! Most tattooists advise hand-washing the tattoo extremely lightly though thoroughly with your (CLEAN) fingers, using an unscented, anti-bacterial soap. Allow it to air dry or lightly pat it dry with a clean paper towel. CLEAN. Everything you use or touch must be clean. You don’t want cat hairs sitting on your healing tattoo.

3– It is very common that a new tattoo be sensitive, red or slightly inflamed. Most people experience some irritation a day or so after getting a new tattoo (it differs depending on the size, placement and amount of work in the tattoo). If these symptoms continues longer than 3 or 4 days, call your tattooist so you can set up a time to come to the shop so they can see it and advise you.

4– Your tattoo will weep in the first couple of days. The fluid may be clear or slightly colored the same as your tattoo. This is normal, and it does not indicate that your tattoo is coming out. Just clean it regularly as instructed and let it go through the healing process. Your body knows how to heal itself, you are merely assisting it.

Tips on how to care for your new tattoo
NOTE: If your tattoo is wrapped like THIS, you’d best go to a better quality artist/shop, and take extra care to avoid possible infection. -Editor

5– Keep your tattoo slightly moist. If you allow it to dry out it can lead to a thick scab formation and you don’t want that. Drying out your tattoo can cause it to slow the recovery procedure and could even harm the tattoo. Your tattooist will likely advise a cream or ointment to use and how often to apply to your new tattoo. DO NOT OVERSATURATE your tattoo! Too much ointment on your tattoo and it cannot breathe. A very light coat is all that’s needed. Patting off excess ointment so that it is barely even shiny. A dab is all you need.

Prev1 of 2

Tattoo Artist since 1990 and creator/publisher of Tattoo Artist Magazine since 2003

Similar Articles

5 thoughts on “11 Tips on How to Care for Your New Tattoo

  1. why would you post a picture of a cling wrap bandaid? I was taught it’s a green house for bacteria and infection. Great article though would love to share but that picture would contradict what I’ve been telling my clients for years. It’s also against health regulations in my area.

    1. You’re right! Forgot the caption & warning. I’ll get it on there soon! Check it again, And then share;)

  2. What is the reasoning for not re wrapping it? During the work on my sleeve, I covered my arm for the first 48 hours while my skin is weeping. I re wrap my work in a CLEAN, loose, gauze bandage. I do this when I sleep so the bed sheets don’t stick, if I have to wear long sleeves, or if I am in an area where my tattoo could be touching dirty chairs, couches, ect. I figure its best to keep it covered and clean while it is still open. The gauze is breathable, and much cleaner then anything long sleeve shirt that comes out of the laundry.

    Am I totally wrong on this? I am a nurse, so maybe my over bearing wound care knowledge is coming in to play! lol

    Thanks for the great article and blog! Its great to see reputable advice from real artists!


    1. Oh, yeah- I’m sure you see LOTS of people who fail to follow instructions, huh? Haha. You should already know, this is only about education for the masses on the basics, for people who don’t know, haven’t gotten tattooed yet, or who didn’t get care instructions from their trailer park scratcher. So we rely upon the K.I.S.S. rule, (Keep It Simple, Stupid)
      -Go to a good studio and follow the advice given you, there.

      All said, your being a nurse and working around blood and wounds all day long, as a career professional, it’s much more likely you are going to clean and care for your tattoo properly on a regular basis, and you seem to have found a method that works for you and which you understand, because of your training. Most don’t have that. So our goal is simple, easy, and effective, while minimizing the chances of someone screwing up their new work. I would not recommend to the average new client to do anything more complicated than clean and care for it several times a day. If re-wrapped and not cleaned every few hours, left sitting in that ooze and ointment, it increases the risk of infection and then cross-contamination, and, primarily, it’s about breathe-ability and reducing the healing time. Gauze is better than plastic, in this regard, but, then, I’ve seen people fail to clean and replace that, as well, causing the gauze to stick to the ointment, the healing skin and any scabs. Ripping those off after a day or two of untreatment and real problems arise.

      The majority of poorly healed tattoos we see are caused by people failing to follow the SIMPLE advice given them in their care instructions, relying instead on whatever they prefer to think is best/better, or what their ‘friends’ have told them, or simple apathy or negligence.

Comments are closed.