The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Aftercare: Keep Your Ink Vibrant and Your Skin Feeling Its Best

The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Aftercare: Keep Your Ink Vibrant and Your Skin Feeling Its Best

The Ultimate Guide To Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoo aftercare is the key to preserving the beauty and integrity of your tattoo for years to come. You invested in this tattoo - you spent time and money to express yourself. You've come this far - you can鈥檛 stop now. Read on for our comprehensive guide to tattoo aftercare, we're here to offer guidance at every stage of the healing process.

Our guide has it all - from hygiene practices to specific instructions, we are here to help you understand the importance of keeping the area clean and nourished during the early stages of healing and forever after.

Take this guide as just that鈥攁 guide. It's always most important to follow the instructions of your artist, as they know your skin and their work best. These general aftercare guidelines can help you better understand what to expect ahead of time but don鈥檛 worry if your individual timelines don鈥檛 match up. Remember, each tattoo will have unique requirements based on its size, location, and intricacy, so if you have any specific questions, always consult your artist. These guidelines reflect what one journey could look like, but whatever your journey looks like is epic because it鈥檚 yours.

And if you just got a fresh tattoo... congrats! We can't wait to see what you got. Don鈥檛 be afraid to tag us, we love to see it. We live and breathe tattoos. If you're thinking about getting one but haven't committed yet鈥 we've been there. If you have questions, let us know.

No matter what stage you are in the tattoo process - still researching or en route to your appointment, this guide is full of tips and tricks that can help you today, tomorrow, and forever. Adhering to these principles can help ensure your tattoo looks and feels its best. You鈥檙e welcome.

What Makes Proper Tattoo Aftercare So Important

Tattoo aftercare is a must to preserve your tattoo's beauty for the long run. When you get a tattoo, you create an open wound on your skin (yikes, I know, but it鈥檚 part of the process) ). Like any wound, you want to care for it so it heals properly and you prevent infection. This is why aftercare is so important - you need to give the area the proper attention to promote healing and reduce the risk of complications. Plus, how your tattoo heals sets the tone for how it stays. So you need it to heal nicely. Trust us.

We are here to help... We want your tattoos to stay fresh and vibrant, so keep reading. It鈥檚 worth it鈥 Tattooed skin, like all skin, is important to nourish. This is especially true of recently tattooed skin as your body's immune system responds to the tattoo, diligent aftercare helps to minimize the risk of infections and promote proper healing.

The best advice we have for you, whether you鈥檙e going in for the first tattoo or your hundredth, is to follow your artist's instructions. Ask for detailed aftercare instructions, and follow them diligently. Pay attention to how it looks and feels, and if something feels wrong consult a doctor and your artist right away. Consulting with a dermatologist can also help you find the best aftercare plan for your unique skin.

Understanding The Tattoo Healing Process

Understanding the tattoo healing process can help you reduce the likelihood of harmful situations or elements. After the first session, your healing journey begins. It typically lasts anywhere from two to four weeks, although individual experiences may vary based on the location, size, and intricacy of the tattoo and the individual artist鈥檚 process.

The tattooed area may feel tender and slightly swollen during the first few days. It's common for the tattoo to ooze a small amount of blood and plasma during this time as the body's natural healing mechanisms kick in. Additionally, the tattoo may begin to form scabs as the skin regenerates.

As the days progress, the tattooed area may start to flake and peel. It is vital to resist the urge to pick or scratch at the flaking skin. Scratching your tattoo can lead to scarring that will change the way the tattoo looks and feels long term. Nobody wants that!

Proper hydration and moisturization during the healing stages can help ensure the area is properly cared for as the skin heals and regenerates. Your tattoo artist should provide specific tips and instructions tailored to your tattoo for the best possible outcome. Keeping an open line of communication with your tattoo artist throughout the aftercare journey can help address any concerns and ensure that your tattoo stays in shape.

If anything ever feels off or wrong with your new tattoo, don鈥檛 wait to contact a doctor to have everything checked out.

Expert Recommended Tattoo Aftercare Instructions For A New Tattoo

We said it before and we鈥檒l say it again - every tattoo, and every person, is different. First and foremost, listen to your artist for your specific instructions.

Below is an overview of the different stages of healing. Take it with a grain of salt knowing no two tattoos are the same. Don鈥檛 worry if your journey doesn鈥檛 match this perfectly, we鈥檝e all got our own timeline. That means the days it takes for each stage of the healing process could, and likely will, be different. So don鈥檛 worry if you are not lining up with the below.


Days 1-3

It鈥檚 vital to keep the area clean and moisturized the first few days after getting a new tattoo. Better hygiene will promote healing and prevent infection. You can use a mild, antibacterial soap with warm water.

Gently wash the tattooed area two to three times daily, or as instructed by your artist. After washing, let the tattoo dry. Avoid exposing the tattoo to hot water, excessive sweating, or friction during this stage. If possible, try to avoid submerging your tattoo in water.

After cleaning the tattooed area, we recommend pat drying with a paper towel, as bath towels can leave behind fibers and impurities.

Keep in mind that your tattoo artist might recommend that you keep your wrap on your tattoo for more than three days. Follow their recommendation for how long to keep the wrap on and once you take it off you can start the cleaning process.

Day 3

By the third day after getting your tattoo, you may feel itchy or dry as the area begins to scab and peel. You must resist the urge to scratch the scabs to help prevent damaging the tattoo. A little scratch or wound can greatly disrupt the healing process.

Continue to follow your aftercare routine of washing the tattoo with antibacterial soap and applying moisturizer as needed. If your tattoo artist applied plastic wrap or a bandage after the tattoo session, gently remove it.

Days 3-5

As the tattoo enters the later stages of healing, you may notice more significant peeling and flaking of the skin. This is a natural part of the healing process as the body sheds the dead skin cells to reveal the fresh tattoo design beneath. Avoid exfoliating the skin as this can delay the healing process.

Continue to moisturize the tattooed area regularly to soothe any dryness or discomfort. Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight. Additionally, avoid soaking the area in water like swimming pools or hot tubs to help reduce the risk of infection.

Days 5+

After the first week, your tattoo (depending on the size), should start to look and feel more settled. BUT READ ON.. you're not out of the woods yet. It is important to continue to maintain the area to keep your tattoos looking bright and vibrant.

As your tattoo continues to heal, look for any signs of infection, such as excessive bumps, redness, swelling, or pus. If you are experiencing these symptoms, or something looks or feels off, immediately consult your tattoo artist and/or a doctor. We can鈥檛 reiterate enough the importance of following your artist鈥檚 instructions and staying in touch with them throughout the process.

Top 10 Tattoo Aftercare Tips For A Better Aftercare Routine

Follow these important tips to preserve your artwork. Because you already know, Real Never Fades.

1. Keep Your Skin Vibrant and Moisturized

Moisturize your tattoo regularly with a high-quality moisturizer, preferably twice daily (or as recommended by your artist). This is not only important throughout the healing process, but forever after for tattoo maintenance. You can use a reliable moisturizer to keep the area nourished and vibrant, for life. 

2. Avoid Drinking Alcohol for at Least A Month

Alcohol can thin your blood and may increase the risk of bleeding during the tattoo and tattoo-healing process. It's best to avoid alcohol consumption for about a month to promote optimal healing. It is also recommended to avoid alcohol a few days before getting a fresh tattoo.

3. Wash Your Tattoo with Clean Hands

Avoid using washcloths, bath towels, bath sponges, or loofahs to wash your tattoo. They may harbor bacteria that can lead to infection. Instead, gently wash the tattooed area with clean hands and mild soap.

4. Keep Your Tattoo Uncovered Or Wear Loose Clothing

You need to allow your tattoo to breathe. Keep it uncovered or wear loose, breathable clothing. It can help to prevent irritation and allow for proper air circulation.

5. Avoid Sunlight As Much As Possible

Protect your tattoo from direct sunlight, especially during the first week of healing. If your tattoo comes in contact with UV rays, it may damage the design or hinder the healing process.

However, you want to avoid applying sunscreen to fresh tattoos, as doing so can clog the pores, interfere with the healing process, and potentially cause irritation or infection in the sensitive area. As such, it is best to avoid direct sunlight altogether, and at a minimum protect the area with loose-fitting protective clothing.

6. Avoid Too Much Water On Your Tattoo

Excessive exposure to water, such as prolonged showers or soaking in hot tubs, can soften the skin. It can negatively impact your aftercare routine and can increase the risk of infection. Limit water exposure to short showers (or spot cleans) and pat the tattoo dry gently afterward with a clean paper towel.

7. Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water helps to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. It can promote overall skin nourishment and aid in healing your tattoo. Plus, it鈥檚 good for you.

8. Do Not Shave

I know this one may feel weird, but trust us, you can鈥檛 shave the tattooed area right away. Shaving over the tattooed area during the healing process can irritate and increase the risk of infection. Plus it sounds painful. Let the hair grow naturally until the tattoo is fully visible and healed.

9. Do Not Go In Swimming Pools Or The Ocean

Chlorine and salt water can be harsh on a fresh tattoo. It may also increase the risk of infection. So keep it simple and avoid swimming This includes pools, lakes, oceans, or even your bathtub. If the activity involves immersing the area in water, it鈥檚 best to avoid it until you complete your aftercare journey. It will prevent complications and preserve the integrity of the ink.

10. Keep In Touch With Your Artist

Maintaining a relationship with your tattoo artist after getting your tattoo is crucial for several reasons. They are the experts on your specific tattoo and can provide tailored advice for its care, ensuring its longevity and vibrancy. Additionally, they can address any concerns or changes your tattoo may undergo over time, offering peace of mind that you're taking the best possible care of your new artwork.

Essential Tattoo Aftercare Products

Essential tattoo aftercare products play a crucial role in the quality of your tattoo. These nourishing products, such as tattoo-specific balms, lotions, and cleansers, can help moisturize the skin. It is also important to find a high-quality tattoo wash that is harsh on germs but gentle on the skin. Tattoo aftercare doesn鈥檛 stop once the tattoo is healed, so invest in products you can use over the long run.

  • Daily Moisturizing Tattoo Balm
    • Designed to be used across the tattoo lifecycle
    • Moisturizing formula made with skin-loving naturally-derived ingredients
    • Luscious texture with an addicting tropical smell
    • Sold in two sizes including travel tub
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
    • #1 Artist recommended tattoo aftercare
  • Antimicrobial Foaming Tattoo Soap
    • Multitasking tattoo soap that works before tattooing to clean skin, in-process as a wash, and throughout the healing process to maintain tattoo hygiene
    • Cleans skin without drying it out
    • Tough on germs and bacteria but gentle on skin
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • CBD Balm
    • Multipurpose cream that soothes, nourishes, and moisturizes the skin and body to provide comfort and restore vitality
    • Made with 500mg of pure CBD Isolate and no THC
    • Luscious formula with an addicting tropical smell
    • Cruelty-free & vegan
  • Daily Rejuvenating Lotion
    • Formulated to provide deep hydration and leave skin feeling soft and smooth
    • Ingredients like Shea Butter, Aloe, and Jojoba Seed Oil replenish the skin鈥檚 moisture
    • Made with the finest naturally-derived ingredients to keep skin looking and feeling its best
    • Signature tropical fragrance smells like vacation
    • Cruelty-free & vegan

While proper aftercare will get you through the first few weeks, it is important to maintain your artwork for life. Hustle Butter's range of products not only helps cleanse, nourish, and hydrate fresh tattoos but keeps them looking and feeling good long term. A little Hustle goes a long way. Trust us, your tattoos will thank you.