If you are considering getting a tattoo, or you’ve already gone down the road and gotten inked, you’ll want to insure your new tattoo is properly cared for—for the long haul. No worries, we’ve got you covered Before. During. And After. Read on for some simple, straight talk to keep your tattoo looking like new, for life.
It probably goes without saying that any care you give to your tattoo must be done in VERY clean, sanitary surroundings to avoid any infection or complications, especially immediately after in the early stages of healing.
Most after-care instructions are generic, but there may be some specific details for your design. Be sure to follow any specific instructions given by your tattoo artist.
The time and attention you give it during the initial healing will not only prevent your skin from any permanent damage, but it will also prevent the ink from fading.
- Most tattoo artists will advise that bandages can be removed after about 2-3 hrs minimum, but should not be left on longer than 6 hrs.
- Once the bandages are removed, gently wash the entire area with warm water and soap. Choose a product without any abrasive ingredients.
- Use CLEAN HANDS only to wash your tattoo. NO washcloths, bath towels, bath sponges or loofahs.
- Once it’s thoroughly washed and sufficiently air-dried, apply a thin layer of moisturizer over your dry tattoo. Let the tattoo air dry again after applying your moisturizer to allow the skin to fully absorb the product.
- At this point, it’s not necessary to wrap or bandage the tattoo, but since there are differing opinions on exactly how long to keep it wrapped, your best bet is to follow the advice of your own artist.
- Ideally, you want to keep your tattoo uncovered now as much as possible, since it will start forming scabs during the early healing stage. While it is best to keep the tattoo uncovered, if that is not an option, you want to be sure to wear loose-fitting clothes so nothing causes irritation on the fresh tattoo.
Expect to see some oozing of the excess ink as well as some clear plasma during the first couple of days. This is normal and nothing to be concerned about!
During the following 2-3 weeks, you should continue to wash your tattoo with warm water and mild soap twice a day, every day. It’s also super important to keep your linens clean for 2 weeks afterwards until the tattoo is well-healed.
Your new tattoo will probably start to itch or feel dry while it’s healing. Even if the skin doesn’t feel dry, apply a moisturizer at least 2-3 times throughout the day. Continue this process for up to 3 weeks, or until your tattoo is completely finished peeling and healing. Stay far away from petroleum based products as they are known to cause the ink to fade over time.
No matter how much the skin itches, you should not scratch it while your tattoo heals. The tattooed area will form scabs while healing, and any picking at them can cause open wounds and opportunity for infection. Scratching can also cause the skin to flake and color to peel away.
Next, a few words of caution about water and sunlight.
- Too much water and too much sunlight is no good for your new tattoo. Minimize how wet your tattoo gets until it’s completely healed.
- You’ll need to wait until the original bandage comes off before jumping in the shower. That means probably at least 24 hrs, but check on that with your artist for any specific guidelines as to how long to wait.
- Once the bandage is off, then a quick daily shower is perfectly acceptable, but you should avoid getting a new tattoo too wet or letting it sit under running water for too long.
- Stay far away from swimming in pools or the ocean, soaking in baths or hot tubs until all your scabs have flaked off and your tattoo has fully healed. Water with chlorine or salt water are equally bad for your tattoo.
- It is equally important during the summer months— or if you live in a warm climate—to avoid too much sun exposure while your tattoo heals. The best way to keep it from drying out or fading is to minimize your time in the sun until after all your scabs have fully peeled. Your first and best line of defense is to keep your tattoo covered with both a layer of SPF 30 or higher sunblock and light clothing for extra UV protection.
Keeping your skin healthy and moisturized is fundamental and essential for your tattoo’s longevity. Using a gentle, daily moisturizing product like Hustle Butter Deluxe will help keep your tattoo healthy and looking like new for years to come. Hustle Butter Deluxe actually has other amazing benefits that no other products like it have— it actually makes the healing time shorter and overall much less painful.
Hustle Butter Deluxe is not only petroleum free, it’s certified vegan, non-comedogenic, certified cruelty free, phthalate free, synthetic and fragrance free.
Realistically, you can expect that over time (typically between 5-10 years), you will need to have some touch-up work done on your tattoo, as there will likely be some areas that will fade, or lines that need to be redefined. This will largely depend on the tattoo, coloring and details, and of course, how well you’ve cared for it over time.
Take good care, and enjoy your personalized work of art!
About the author: Yaffa Baslaw (@yadeinu) is a Freelance Writer with over a decade of experience copywriting and blogging compelling content. She has written for more than 20 companies in the fields of healthcare, skincare, and retail.