Whether it’s your first tattoo or your tenth, the same rules apply. Follow these simple instructions to ensure your tattoo heals properly.
You can expect your new tattoo to take approximately two weeks to heal on the surface, and up to two months to heal completely.
How to take care of your tattoo
Note: if your tattoo was bandaged using Tegaderm or Saniderm, please follow the instructions given to you by the artist who did your tattoo.
- Remove the bandage in a clean environment after 2 to 4 hours.
- Always start by washing your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching the tattoo.
- Wash your tattoo with hot water (not scalding) and a mild hand soap using only your hands. Proceed to pat your tattoo dry with a clean paper towel.
- After cleaning, apply a small amount of unscented lotion (such as Curel, Aveeno, Cetaphil, etc.) to the tattooed area. Apply to the area every few hours, or as needed.
- If your tattoo feels tight or itchy, that is a good indication to apply lotion.
- Aquaphor ointment is acceptable for the first couple of days after receiving the tattoo; after a couple of days, switch to an unscented lotion.
Things to avoid
- DO NOT use Vaseline or any other heavy, petroleum based products.
- DO NOT excessively wash your tattoo. One or two times a day will be more than sufficient.
- DO NOT pick at or scratch your tattoo. Doing so will only result in lost color, possible scarring or potential infection.
- DO NOT subject your tattoo to harsh chemicals or conditions; examples include, but are not limited to:
- Chlorinated pools
- Direct, prolonged sunlight
- Tanning beds
The risk of infection is minimal if these aftercare tips are followed closely. At the first sign of infection, we recommend reaching out to your primary care physician or urgent care clinic.
To be clear: your friend, Google, WebMD, etc. are not professional tattoo artists. If there are any questions or concerns regarding the healing or aftercare of your tattoo, please contact the shop or the particular artist that did your tattoo.