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Aftercare Essentials

A tattoo is more than just a piece of art and a way to assert your personal style. It’s a medical procedure too.

Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections.

Caring for your tattoo can prevent those complications and ensure that the tattoo heals properly.

The First Day

Cover it up

The artist should apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment over the tattoo and then cover the area in a bandage or plastic wrap. This covering prevents bacteria from getting into your skin. It also protects the tattoo from rubbing onto your clothes and getting irritated.

Keep the dressing on for as long as your tattoo artist recommends, which may be just a few hours. It’ll help absorb any fluid or excess ink that leaks from the tattoo.

Gently wash the tattoo

After a few hours, you can remove the covering.

First wash your hands with water and soap. Then gently wash the tattoo with warm water and fragrance-free soap. Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth.

Apply a small amount of fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer to the tattoo. You can keep the covering off at this point to let your skin breathe.

Healing Process

Wait for it to heal

While your tattoo heals, you should:

  • wear sun-protective clothing whenever you go outside

  • call your tattoo artist or doctor if you experience any symptoms of infection or other problems

You shouldn’t:

  • cover your tattoo with sunblock until it’s fully healed

  • scratch or pick at the tattoo

  • wear tight clothing over the tattoo

  • go swimming or immerse your body in water (showers are fine)

Special Attention

Tips for long-term tattoo aftercare

  • Keep it clean. Wash your skin daily with a gentle, fragrance-free soap.

  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin moisturized.

  • Watch what you wear. Wear SPF clothing so the sun won’t fade your tattoo. Avoid scratchy fabrics, such as wool, which can damage the art.

  • Avoid excess weight gain or loss. Changes in weight could stretch out or distort the tattoo.

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