What you need to Know to Properly take care of your Tattoo


There is a dimension many seem to assume when it comes to getting a tattoo. The procedure is quite complex and could even require medical care if not properly taken care of. Other details include cleaning which goes way past getting the best antibacterial soap for tattoos. The way cleaning is conducted matters too. Luckily, this piece outlines how to undergo care in different stages and the standard of various products used during the process.

General notes on Tattoo Care

Caring commences as soon as the artist finishes their work. They should apply petroleum jelly sparingly to serve as ointment. A bandage or paper foil follows to keep the tattooed area safe from contact with bacteria-infested surfaces. Any leaks from the tattooed area will be kept in the bandage and could seep out after removal. After about one day, removal of bandages should be done followed by cleaning. Use antibacterial, fragrance-free soap with some lukewarm water. Then, let the area dry out or pat using a paper towel. Other towels come with lots of bacteria hence they should be avoided.

During the healing process, observe the following:

  • Always have some clothing cover the tattooed area when going out in the sun
  • Clean the area as instructed and seek medical advice in case of infections

During the process, you should avoid the following:

  • Use of sunscreen to cover the area
  • Helping the scabs come out through scratching
  • Wearing clothing that is too tight around the tattooed area
  • Swimming or immersing tattooed area in too much water.

Day-to-day Tattoo Aftercare

The speed with which your tattoo heals depends on its size as well as the care given. Here is a breakdown on what you should do over time.

Day 1: at the parlor, your artist will wrap the tattooed area in bandage or foil. They will also instruct on when you should remove, though it usually ranges between a few hours of getting home and one day. On removal, a mixture of ink, blood, and plasma will ooze out. It is no cause for worry, and the redness on that area should not cause any alarm. After careful removal, wash your hands and use fragrance-free, antibacterial soap the clean the tattoo in gentle circular motions.

Days 2-3: scabs have probably started forming at this point. As a result, the tattoo will appear dull or cloudy. Washing should be done 1-2 times a day, then apply recommended moisturizer to keep the skin well hydrated. No need to panic if you see excess ink dripping as you wash.

Days 4-6: it is one of the most trying stages. You will feel itchy and want to scratch on the scabs. However, that should be avoided at all costs as it can cause scars. Cleaning should be done 1-2 times daily depending on level of activity. Suitable moisturizers should also be applied as that helps in the healing process.

Days 6-14: Scabbing continues in this stage, and the itch may get advanced a bit. Use moisturizers to relieve the itchy feeling. The skin should also be healing quite well. Thus, any swelling and redness would mean improper healing. In such situations, seek medical advice.

Days 15-30: the final stage of healing involves clearing up of the tattooed area. Any scabs left will disappear and dry skin should be pampered with care by use of moisturizers. Basically, the upper layers will be completely healed at this point but the inner layers might take up to three months.


So long as everything gets done right, hardly will you experience any complications during the healing process.

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Tips on Proper Tattoo Care

After getting that much awaited tattoo, questions begin on various issues. For instance, should I apply oil or lotion? If so, what is the Best Lotion for Tattoos? In case you are at that stage, we will go through these among other questions. At the end we also hope to provide useful information in response to concerns.

Further Questions

  • What do I do to avoid a skin infection?
  • Are there particular steps, and if so, how do I know what am doing is right?
  • Is the information provided by my artist enough or should I contact a dermatologist?

What does the law Say?

If living in the United States, minimal are the resources associated with tattoo aftercare. Luckily though, the internet has come to the rescue. There is considerably a good number of tattoo related websites that provide tons of information to a global populace. Back to offline, 30 states in the United States award licenses to tattoo parlors. It is further required of an artist to provide aftercare instructions by word of mouth or in written form.

However, there are seven states with no detailed regulations, if any. Another seven states go further in enforcing aftercare instructions. The states of Arkansas, Delaware, Michigan, North Dakota, Alabama, Louisiana, and Massachusetts regulate under their public health departments. Therefore, making it a serious medical requirement. Many dermatologists though feel that it is only fair that all states take up the matter seriously. It is a consensus that everyone should receive proper and detailed aftercare instructions after getting their piece.

Tattoo care Basics

It would be such a waste investing in a tattoo only for it to disappoint, courtesy of a few things done wrong. Remember, your artist is human too and they could forget a few things. Thus, it is imperative that you equip yourself with information, as follows.

  • After the piece is done, the artist should cover it in a thin petroleum jelly layer, followed by a bandage or foil.
  • Get rid of that bandage after one day. Do not even think of putting on another bandage. Gently wash the area with some lukewarm water, and antibacterial soap. Then, let it dry out or use a paper towel (do not use a towel, as they are often germ-infested).
  • For the next two weeks, apply antimicrobial oils at least twice a day. It could also be done on a need basis, but sparingly.
  • Moderately wash your art a number of times per day. The frequency could be informed by factors such as work intensity.
  • Lastly, use lotions to keep up the tattoo colors. Too much of it though would lead to excessive and unwanted moisture.

Other Long-term Tips

First the above process should be repeated for 2-4 weeks. At first bath tubs, Jacuzzis, and swimming pools are advised against. However, over time one can engage in such, plus basking. Yet, lots of caution need to be exercised. For example, hot scalding water even after a fortnight would still be irritating. As for basking, tattoo-friendly sunscreen (above SPF 30) is a must. Otherwise, the colors will fade over time, besides other skin ailments caused by too much UV exposure could set in.

Maintaining the Moisture Levels

Scabbing is quite normal and you should not aid the process in any way. That would lead to infection plus unusual swelling at times. Too much of it though should warrant a visit to the hospital. You might want to check out Aveeno, a lotion with a wonderful ingredient that helps in moisture retention. Such products will help maintain color vibrance for a really long time. Application intensity will of course be influenced by the amount of exposure your piece gets. For instance, tattoos on hands and face would need a little bit more of lotion in comparison to other in less-exposed areas.


Taking care consumes as much time, effort, and resources as getting the tattoo takes, if not more. You have to be really dedicated so as to maintain the tattoo as it appears when you get out of that parlor.

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