SUGGESTIONS FOR YOUR NEW TATTOO
These aftercare suggestions are based on years of professional experience, common sense, worldwide research, and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. What we suggest you do, is how we heal our tattoos.
**If you are considering a tattoo and suffer from any serious medical condition, please consult your physician prior to having any work done**
1) A new tattoo is an open wound and is the most vulnerable to infection during the first few days. Keep it out of direct sunlight, don't let animals crawl all over it, and don't fully submerge it in bodies of water.
2) If you have a wrapped bandage, remove and discard it within 24 hours, then skip ahead to step 5.
3) If you have a clear adherent bandage, it is designed to be left on for a few days. We use Dynarex Viewguard, which can be left on for up to 7 days, but 3-5 is average for most people. This can vary a bit depending on your activity levels and the location of your tattoo.
4) Begin to remove it when it starts to come up on its own. It’s important that you don’t forcefully remove or pull the bandage away. It's best to slowly and gently wet and remove the bandage in a shower, or with running water.
5) Wash the tattoo and surrounding area with plenty of warm water and a gentle soap that is color and fragrance free, such as Ivory or Dove. Use clean hands and fingertips only. Washcloths or loofahs will damage a tattoo.
6) Rinse your new tattoo completely with colder water to close the skin and help seal the tattoo.
7) Gently dab the area dry with a fresh paper towel and then immediately apply a very small amount of either Aquaphor or Vitamins A+D ointment to the tattoo. This will moisten, protect, and speed the healing process of the tattoo. A light shine is good, but if it looks wet, sticks to, or stains clothing, it’s too much.
8) You should only wash the area a maximum of 2, maybe 3 times a day the first several days. The best times to wash your new tattoo are in the morning when you get up, and at night before you go to bed.
9) After a few days, the tattoo will begin to flake and peel. It usually takes 1-2 or more days before this passes. Be sure not to pick or pull any flakes off of your tattoo as this may pull out ink. This flaking stage happens after a thin layer of new skin has grown over most of the ink in the tattoo. This is fairly minimal with a clear bandage.
10) After flaking, or removing a clear adherent bandage, the new skin will appear shiny and scaly for 2-3 weeks afterwards, but is no longer an open wound.
11) Now your tattoo is sealed and mostly healed! At this point it's time to rebuild your skin over your tattoo.
12) Continue to wash your tattoo 1-2 times a day, but stop using an ointment after the first week and switch to a color and fragrance-free lotion. Aveeno, Cetaphil, and other similar products are excellent. Continue to lotion your tattoo after washing for the next 2-3 weeks and your tattoo will be fully healed!
Please let us know if you have any questions.
Here are some other tips, tricks, and advice for caring for your tattoo:
• Clear bandages may fill with fluid. Don’t pop or break the seal too early, but remove if damaged.
• Remember to always wash your tattoo thoroughly before applying any new ointment or lotion.
• During the first couple of days, if your tattoo is oozing a lot after washing it, gently dab that away with a paper towel and reapply ointment to prevent a scab from forming. This is normal and calms as it heals.
• It’s OK and normal for your tattoo to feel a little itchy, dry, or tight, between washes. Overwashing or applying too much ointment is just as bad for a tattoo as completely ignoring it. Caring for your tattoo is about balance.
• Redness, pain, swelling, and bruising during the first week are normal with a new tattoo. Elevating, anti-inflammatory meds (Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen), and icing can help reduce swelling and soreness.
• Try and rest for a few days after a tattoo so that it can heal. Heavy sweating/stretching/heat can affect healing.
• To keep your tattoo looking bright and vibrant for years to come, keep it out of the sun. Lots of exposure to direct sunlight will ruin tattoos and seriously damage your skin. A high caliber sunscreen can help reduce the effects.
• Cloth or bath towels may hold bacteria and leave lint or other debris. Fresh paper towels are best for drying after cleaning.
• Do not over apply ointment. Thin coats are best. A light shine is fine, but it shouldn’t look wet or streaky. Be sure to wipe away all excess ointment to avoid clogging pores or follicles in the area.
• Do not use antibiotic/antibacterial products such as Neosporin, Bacitracin, Polysporin, or Dial on a fresh tattoo.
*They can weaken your immune system and their overuse promote the development of ultraresistant strains of bacteria, such as MRSA.*
• Do not ever re-bandage your tattoo once you’ve exposed it to air. Loose and clean cotton clothing is best to cover the area when sleeping or working or protecting a tattoo from the sun or animal dander, for example.
• Be sure not to fully submerge your tattoo into bodies of water such as pools, hot tubs, lakes, or big puddles.
• Please call us if you have any questions! We'd rather take the time to give you the advice twice!