Tattoo Aftercare: Importance, Instructions & What Not To Do

An Essential Guide to Tattoo Aftercare

Post tattoo care or tattoo aftercare is just as critical as looking after the skin. Just as one takes exceptional care of their face and tries to look hydrated and healthy, it is essential to moisturize and exfoliate the body so tattoos adapt well to the skin and age properly. There are a few tricks that you can follow to ensure that your tattoo remains bright, colorful and your skin does not get infected. Read on to find out how to look after your skin once you get a tattoo.

Why is Tattoo Aftercare so Important?

You might be surprised to know that aftercare is one of the most important aspects of getting a tattoo. Although a cosmetic procedure, the art of tattooing goes deeper into the skin, and tattoo healing is vital to keep your tattoo looking fabulous. It is also crucial for your overall health.

More than being a piece of art and a way to show your sense of style, tattooing is a medical procedure too. The artist uses a needle to insert the ink underneath the skin. Even a slight abrasion to the skin is susceptible to infection. So when you are being tattooed, you are making yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections.

It is important to care for your tattoo and prevent complications to ensure it heals well. Both the tattoo artist and you play equal roles in the entire process. Your first step is to go to a licensed and reputed artist and then look after it at home. It could be challenging to know the best tattoo aftercare instructions as some states do not require artists to give aftercare instructions.

What You Need to Know Before Getting a Tattoo?

Getting a tattoo may seem like a dream. Whether getting a tattoo, aftercare, or even preparing yourself, there are a few tips that one needs to follow before getting it. A tattoo is a cosmetic procedure that affects your skin deeper than you would think. So there are a few essential tips that you must follow before getting a tattoo:

  • Sleep well the night before you get a tattoo. Sleep tends to relax the brain and soothes any nerves that you may have about getting tattooed.
  • Try to refrain from consuming any alcohol or drugs before or during the session.
  • Eat well and make sure that you are not on an empty stomach.
  • Bring food to the tattoo session, especially if you intend to get a big-sized one that will take a long time.
  • Stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids.

Day-by-Day Tattoo Aftercare Instructions:

If you have just got inked and need tips on new tattoo care, follow the step-by-step instructions for each day. Navigating through these steps is neither tough nor overwhelming. Following these steps will ensure that your tattoo looks fantastic for years to come.

Day 1

The first 24 hours after getting yourself inked are essential. The skin has just been cut open and needs to be looked after. Follow the below steps:

  • Around 3-4 hours after leaving the tattoo shop, gently remove the artist’s bandage on your tattoo since your new tattoo and skin need to breathe. If a cling film is used (which is not recommended), make sure to keep it on for 3-4 hours after you get the tattoo. Take it off before you go to sleep and put on a new one after giving it a good wash.
  • If your tattoo artist has used a specialized tattoo film, then leave it on for the first 24 hours. If you plan to cover your tattoo, make sure you use a breathable film.
  • If you are changing bandages, wash them with water, a tattoo cleanser, or neutral soap. Some tattoo artists may suggest keeping the dressing on for the first 24 hours to prevent leaking or rubbing.

Day 2 to 3

Instructions for tattoo care first 48 hours need to be followed precisely since it is the very early stages of the tattoo, and it is still raw. If you follow these steps, you can be sure of protecting your skin:

  • If you are using a plastic bandage, remove it and discard it. You can now start washing and moisturizing your skin. If you are using a protective tattoo film, gently remove the film and clean the area. Apply a layer of moisturizer and put a new protective layer of tattoo film on it. Do not remove it for the next 2-3 days.
  • Wash 2-3 times a day and moisturize the tattooed area when completely dry. Wash the tattooed area gently to prevent any rubbing or abrasion. After day 2, wash the tattoo with water and a gentle cleanser or mild soap 2-3 times a day. Make sure you know your skin type.
  • Moisturize with medicated balm after it is clean and dry. For those who have dry skin, make sure you apply lotion more often to avoid dry skin. When using the regenerative balm, apply a thin layer gently and evenly and make sure it is not clumped on.

Days 4 to 6

By day 4, your tattoo will start healing slightly, and you need to look after it just like looking after your skin:

  • Apply sunscreen to avoid any exposure to the sun. Once the bandage or protective film is removed, the tattoo is still sensitive. Apply a sunscreen with SPF 30 to your tattoo every time you step out in the sun to avoid it from fading.
  • Stick to a hydrating routine. A little scabbing will appear as the redness begins to fade. Do not pick at the scabs. Your skin may start itching. Follow instructions from your tattoo artist and keep applying soothing products and cream. These will reduce scarring, itching and reduce the risk of tissue damage. Moisturizing can speed up the healing process while minimizing the chances of any such damage.
  • Continue applying healing creams at least twice a day. Make sure to apply a thin layer so that the skin can breathe.

Days 15 to 30

By Day 15, your tattoo should have started to heal, and the scabs should have begun to fall off. But, it would be best if you still took precautions to make sure that the skin is completely healed. Care instructions are pretty simple during this time:

  • Repeat the same washing routine as previously
  • Apply balm on the tattooed area
  • Make sure to keep your skin hydrated. Eat well and try to avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes for a month after getting tattooed.


What Not to do After Getting a Tattoo?

There are a few things that one should altogether avoid doing after getting a tattoo:

  • Do not drink excessive alcohol as it thins the blood. This could cause bleeding during the healing process.
  • Do not go swimming, as exposure to the harsh chemicals in a pool could increase the chance of infections.
  • It is advisable not to expose your tattoo to harsh sunlight for a month. If you cannot avoid it, make sure to apply sunscreen.
  • Do not over hydrate as it is important to let the skin breathe.
  • Do not wear tight clothing as it is important to give your skin enough space to breathe. The tattooed area is sensitive and needs to heal.
  • Do not scratch or pick your tattoo. Please resist the urge to scratch when it is itchy, as it could get infected.

What to Do When a Tattoo Gets Infected?

A reputable tattoo artist and a proper care regime should help avoid infections. But there are cases where it can happen. Seek medical help when you seem to see even a hint of infection on the tattooed area. Fever, shivers, pain, pus formation, swelling, redness, or soreness are signs that your tattoo is infected, and you need to seek medical help immediately.

When Should You go to The Doctor?

You must seek the advice of a doctor and seek medical attention when you observe something abnormal. Go to the doctor when you experience any of the following:

  • Swelling which does not seem to subside
  • Intense or severe pain
  • Draining of pus
  • Firm rashes or bumps (granulomas)
  • Excess bleeding
  • Fever, sweats, or chills
  • Pain when tattoo exposed to sunlight

How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal?

Timeliness for healing a tattoo is dependent on the size of the tattoo and how well you look after the fresh ink. A tattoo, on average, can be expected to heal within two or three weeks. The healing process can take several phases. However, follow your tattoo artist’s instructions and look after your tattoo for it to heal entirely and look fabulous.

Tattoos can be fantastic, but one needs to remember that it is vital to look after the tattoo after being inked. There may be many reasons to get a tattoo; however, carefully following the aftercare procedure is essential if you want it to look fresh long after getting it done.

Also Read:

Unique Watercolor Tattoos Ideas
Causes and Treatment of Infected Tattoo
Effective Ways to Remove Permanent Tattoo

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