Tattoo aftercare instructions provide you with the most important DOs and DON’Ts when it comes to early tattoo care. To find out more on which tattoo creams to use, how to protect your tattoo from the sun and how to sleep without damaging your new ink, take a closer look at our tattoo aftercare manual below.
How important is tattoo aftercare?
Let’s just say VERY. Your skin’s just gone through an extremely invasive procedure, where the ink ran down the needle into the middle layer of your skin, the dermis. Your skin therefore feels very vulnerable, so you have to make sure to give it the right care, one that promises proper healing, but also minimizes the risk of infections and scarring. To make the tattoo aftercare instructions easier to follow, we’ve divided them into 3 parts, based on the time period following the tattoo procedure – week one, week two, week three and after.
Tattoo aftercare instructions by week
Week 1: Tattoo care right after leaving the tattoo studio
Tattoo aftercare starts the moment your ink’s been finished. Your tattoo artist provides you with an antibiotic salve, which is then applied onto your skin, and covered with a protective bandage. The purpose of this coverage is to protect your skin from bacteria and your clothes, which can make your inflamed skin even more itchier when rubbing straight onto your tattoo. After a few hours, you can remove the tattoo bandage, wash your tattoo with fragrance-free soap under warm water, and gently rub in some alcohol and fragrance-free tattoo aftercare lotion. (We recommend using Healink tattoo aftercare lotion, as it is made out of 95% natural ingredients). Make sure your hands are clean, as your skin is still very vulnerable. There’s no need to cover your tattoo up again, so it’s able to heal.
For the next few days (5-6), keep your tattoo clean by washing it with fragrance-free soap and moisturised by applying that same alcohol- and fragrance-free tattoo aftercare moisturiser. Putting tattoo lotion on twice or three times a day should do the job just fine.
Week 2: Tattoo care is focused on putting on the tattoo lotion
Keep applying the tattoo moisturiser a couple of times a day, so your skin won’t lack that much needed hydration, twice or three times per day should suffice. At this point, your skin is still relatively dry, so keeping it moisturised is crucial. You’ll also experience itchiness, so the balm will likewise help you with that issue.
Apply tattoo moisturizer at least twice daily.
Week 2: Tattoo care is focused on putting on the tattoo lotion
Here we go again with putting on the tattoo lotion on your skin a few times per day. Continue following the above mentioned tattoo aftercare directions for as long as required, that is until the skin appears and feels hydrated.
Top 7 tattoo aftercare tips
Tip 1: Wash your tattoo
If there is one thing you need to remember, it’s to keep your tattoo clean, especially throughout the first few weeks. Your skin is still rather sensitive and inflamed, so you have to treat it with extra care. Cleaning up your tattoo around twice per day should suffice, but if you feel like it could need another wash, let’s say after working outside, you go ahead. Just remember not to overdo it, so you don’t dry your skin out.
Tip 2: Use fragrance-free tattoo aftercare products
Your skin has just gone through a long and quite invasive procedure of tattooing, so it’ll need soothing tattoo creams and lotions, meaning no added fragrances or alcohol. It’s of extreme importance to keep your tattoo products as natural as possible, so that they don’t cause any extra irritation, inflammation or itchiness to your skin. I’m sure you’re familiar with the feeling of trying to clean that scratch on your knee or elbow with some alcohol, not the best one, am I right?
Natural ingredients will lower the risk of inflamation and reduced itchiness of your freshly tattooed skin.
Natural and high-quality tattoo care products will help heal your tattoo safely.
Tip 3: Don’t over-moisturize your tattoo
Even though your skin desperately needs a tattoo balm for it to heal, putting on too much lotion can cause your skin to break out, that means clogged pores leading to pimples and acne. There’s another, quite more serious matter that can occur when over-moisturizing your tattoo, called tattoo bubbling. The issue happens when the scabs absorb that excessive lotion and therefore swell up, making your tattoo look like small bubbles. So, to maintain your tattoo healthy, keep in mind your skin has to breathe, in order to heal properly. Drying your wound out is part of the tattoo recovery, so a thin and even layer of tattoo moisturizer should do the job.
Tip 4: Avoid wearing tight clothing
As your tattoo is in the process of healing, it’ll need all the space to breathe it can get, and wearing loose clothes instead of tight will help you achieve just that. Apply this advice specifically when going to bed or being active, as your body will move around quite much. Try to minimize the rubbing of clothing against your skin, so your tattoo will be able to heal properly, evenly and in a timely manner.
Tip 5: Avoid direct sunlight
Direct sunlight can have a negative effect on your brand new tattoo in the form of improper healing, scarring and colour fading, so you need to take the right measures to protect it accordingly. As your skin is still very much wounded from the tattooing, it can burn much faster than the already healed tattoos. If you can, try to avoid being exposed to the sun completely, but if that’s not an option for you, cover it up with at least one layer of clothing. And one more tattoo aftercare advice, do not apply sunscreen on your new tattoo. You wouldn’t put it on your open wound, would you? Sunscreens often contain fragrances and artificial colours, so you could do yourself and your tattoo some pretty serious harm.
Freshly tattooed skin will burn and wound much faster than healed one.
If you can't avoid direct sunlight, apply specialzed tattoo sun lotion for protection.
Tip 6: Avoid swimming in pools
Pools contain an extensive amount of germs and bacteria, which can cause serious damage to your new tattoo, i.e. infection. Just imagine how many people have been swimming in that same exact pool as you, and not just swim, if you know what I mean. So the tattoo aftercare tip here is, try to avoid visiting swimming pools until your tattoo isn’t completely healed.
Tip 7: Postpone those workouts
It’s advised that you should hold off with exercising for a minimum of 2 or 3 days, that’s until that redness and swelling go down a notch. Depending on the tattoo size and placement (e.g. forearm, chest, back), the recommended “resting period” will differ, so the tattoo aftercare advice is to talk the issue over with your tattoo artist. The reason behind delaying your gym session is that your workout can cause a lot of damage to your new tattoo, especially when very intense, as heavy sweating can mess up the ink, and as physical strain can withhold your tattoo recovery.
Final thoughts on tattoo aftercare instructions
If there’s one thing you should’ve learnt from the tattoo aftercare Healink handbook, it’s to treat your new tattoo with extreme care and patience. Keep your tattoo regularly clean by washing it with fragrance-free soap, and moisturise your skin by applying tattoo lotion at least two times a day, if not more. By following these tattoo aftercare instructions, your tattoo will receive the care it needs to heal properly, and to get that healthy and radiant look, so you won’t be the only one enjoying the beauty of your new ink.