Tattoo After-Care & Healing Help

You took a lot of time preparing to get this tattoo, so now is not the time to make mistakes. Relax and let the body do what it needs to do: heal.

Avoid these things: Advice from others, touching the tattoo without washing your hands first, putting any bandage or clothing on it, direct sunlight on the area, and soaking in any water (bath, pool, hot tub, etc). Treat your tattoo as an open wound because it is one! Your body's plasma and blood is leaking through the skin for a couple days.

Same day care: After leaving the shop be sure not to remove the bandage until an hour has passed. Do NOT put on another bandage. Wash the tattoo gently with warm water and regular soap, like Dial or Ivory. Pat the area dry. Apply a thin layer of antibiotic or bacitracin ointment on the area to keep it moist and help defend against infection. Try to keep the area free from clothing, pets, people - just about anything.

Next day care: If you have a very large area, over 8 inches, you may want to repeat the previous day before getting to this point. Otherwise brace yourself, because after washing your tattoo again you will want to use lotion on the area. It will sting a bit but will get easier the next time you apply. You will want to keep it from getting dry and keep applying lotion for the next few days. Any fragrance-free, non-alcohol based lotion will do.

Day 3-5: Your tattoo will begin to peel, just like a bad sunburn would, and this is very normal. You will want to keep washing and applying lotion as instructed. DO NOT scratch, peel off, rub, or otherwise agitate the skin in any way - let it heal naturally. After it's done peeling the tattoo will appear shiny, which is also very normal and will go away soon. Bigger tattoos or ones with a lot of heavy black will need your utmost care to prevent infection and scabbing, so keep applying that lotion regularly!

Next 3 weeks: Keep applying lotion, avoiding direct sunlight on the area and staying away from soaking in water. After 3 weeks you can consider your tattoo healed!

Now go show off that beautiful tattoo to everybody!