Proper care of a new tattoo is essential for the longevity of your tattoo’s appearance and for avoiding unnecessary infections. Before leaving the studio, your tattoo artist should provide you with instructions on how to care for your new tattoo. Should you still have questions or forget what you were advised to do, here is a general guideline that outlines the proper care of a new tattoo. Following this guideline, or the instructions given to you by your professional tattoo artist, will keep your new tattoo looking vibrant for years to come.
Steps For a Healthy Healing Process
DAYS 1 and 2
Two to four hours after receiving your new tattoo, remove the gauze, or other covering, that was applied before you left the tattoo studio. Wash your tattoo thoroughly with warm water and a mild, antibacterial soap to remove any and all dried body fluids as well as the ointment that was applied by the tattoo artist. Pat the area dry and gently apply a thin layer of Neosporin, Bacitracin or A&D ointment. Repeat this process about three times a day for the first two days.
NOTE: New tattoos need to breathe as they heal; therefore, you should NOT re-gauze your new tattoo unless irritants such as clothing, sunlight, bed sheets, etc. are causing you problems within the first 48 hours.
DAY 3 and Beyond
On day three, stop using all ointments and bandages. Instead, apply a mild, fragrance-free hand lotion such as Eucerin, Keri, Curel or Lubriderm three to five times daily for the next two to three weeks or until your new tattoo has healed.
Showering While Your New Tattoo Heals
When showering, keep your new tattoo from coming in direct contact with the water during the first two days. Do no soak your new tattoo. After getting out of the shower, be careful as to not let your clothing stick to your tattoo.
Approximately one week after getting your new tattoo, a milky white layer may appear on top. Do not pick or scratch at this film as it is a scab and will eventually peel off on its own. Even if you apply the best care to your new tattoo, scabbing will most likely occur and must be left alone to prevent damage to your skin and to the appearance of your tattoo after it heals.
Tanning and sun bathing should be avoided while your new tattoo heals as it may affect the brightness of your tattoo’s coloring. After your tattoo has healed, it is advised to cover your tattoo with a sunscreen containing a high SPF. The higher the SPF, the better your tattoo will be protected.
If your new tattoo is in an area that requires shaving, it is essential to avoid shaving that area while your tattoo is still healing. Once healed, keep in mind that re-used razors are breeding grounds for bacteria and may cause infections, so it is recommended to use a new razor each time you shave this area.