Why Is Aftercare Important?
Tattoo aftercare is crucial for several reasons. It ensures proper healing of your tattoo, prevents infection and scarring, and maintains the longevity and vibrancy of the ink.
By following this guide and the specific tattoo aftercare instructions you will receive from your artist, you'll be well on your way to a beautifully-healed tattoo.
The Healing Process
Your tattoo's healing process can be divided into three stages:
- Inflammation & Oozing (1-3 days)
- Itching & Peeling (4-14 days)
- Healing Home Stretch (15-45 days)
Understanding each is essential for proper aftercare.
Stage 1: Inflammation & Oozing
Before you leave our shop, your artist will wrap your tattoo in a protective covering. It's important to:
- Keep the covering on for 2-4 hours.
- Then, gently remove the covering and carefully clean the tattoo with mild soap and water.
- Next, pat dry with a clean, soft towel.
- Finally, apply a thin layer of ointment, like Aquaphor, to keep the area moist and promote healing – avoid petroleum-based products, as they can clog pores!
Stage 2: Itching & Peeling
Halfway there! During this stage, it's essential to:
- Gently clean your tattoo 2-3 times each day with mild soap and water.
- Pat dry and apply ointment after each cleaning.
Remember, moisturizing matters! Once your tattoo starts to peel, switch from ointment to a fragrance-free lotion, applying two to three times a day. This will help keep your skin dry, with the added benefit of relieving itching.
Stage 3: Healing Home Stretch
One important word comes to mind during this stage: moisturize!
- Continue to apply fragrance-free lotion to your tattoo.
Dos & Don’ts
- Follow your tattoo artist's aftercare instructions.
- Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized.
- Wear loose, breathable clothing.
- Stay hydrated and maintain a healthy diet.
- Pick, scratch, or peel your tattoo.
- Use swimming pools, hot tubs, or saunas.
- Expose your new artwork to direct sunlight or tanning beds.
- Apply alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to your tattoo.
Give Your Art Some TLC
Proper aftercare is essential for the health, longevity, and vibrancy of your new tattoo. Remember, caring for your tattoo is an investment in your body art, so give it the love and attention it deserves!
Tattoo Aftercare Guide
Clean your tattoo 2-3 times a day during the first two weeks.
Avoid intense workouts that may irritate your tattoo or cause excessive sweating. Light exercise is generally fine.
Wait at least two weeks – longer if you’re able to – before swimming to avoid the risk of infection.
Continue applying lotion for at least three to four weeks or until your tattoo is fully healed. After that, moisturize as needed to maintain healthy skin.
Resist the urge to scratch and, instead, gently apply a fragrance-free lotion or a cold compress to alleviate itching.
If you suspect an infection, consult a healthcare professional immediately. Don't attempt to self-treat, as this can lead to complications.
Three common healing issues are infection, blowout, and scabbing.
Infection: Signs of infection include excessive redness, swelling, pus, and fever. Seek medical attention if you notice any of these symptoms.
Blowout: A tattoo blowout occurs when the ink spreads beyond the intended area, causing blurry or fuzzy lines. Consult your tattoo artist for advice on how to manage a blowout.
Scabbing: Light scabbing is normal, but heavy scabbing may indicate poor aftercare or an infection. Keep the area clean and moisturized, and never pick at the scabs.
If you’re concerned about how your tattoo is healing, get in touch with your Bay Ink artist right away.