Tattoo and Piercing Aftercare
Tattoo aftercare advice may vary between different shops and artists. While there are no definitive standards on what the best way is to heal a tattoo, there are some common themes many professional tattooists tend to agree on. It also never hurts to use your common sense when it comes to safely healing a wound.
- After your tattoo is complete your tattooist will clean and bandage the area. They will usually recommend that you leave the area covered for at least 8 hours. Many tattooists recommend leaving it covered overnight.
- To remove the bandage you will want to carefully moisten it in a warm shower. Wash the tattooed area gently and thoroughly using soap, warm water, and your fingertips to remove all ointment and body fluids. Do not use hot water or a washcloth. When you are done, pat it lightly with a towel or let it air dry.
- With clean hands apply lotion. Do not apply Vaseline, petroleum jelly, alcohol, or peroxide. Your tattooist may have a preferred lotion they will suggest, but many tattooists stand by using Curel lotion as it’s been tried and tested with their customers. If you choose to use a different lotion, be sure to select one without Vitamin E, Aloe Vera or an exfoliant.
- Do not re-bandage the tattoo.
- Continue to apply the lotion of your choice three to five times per day. It is important you do not let the tattoo dry out.
- After about two to seven days, the tattoo will shed a layer of skin. Do not pick or scratch this. Let it fall off naturally. Do not force the dead skin off when it becomes soft in the shower.
- Do not pick, rub, or scratch the tattoo (it may itch a bit).
- Do not expose the tattooed area to direct sunlight for two weeks. Once healed, continue to protect it by applying sunscreen to the area.
- Do not soak your tattoo in water (i.e., swimming, hot tubs, bath, or sauna) for the first two weeks.
- Total healing time for a tattoo varies, but it is usually between ten days to two weeks.
If you are working with a professional, reputable tattooist that you have come to trust, always follow their instructions. Contact your tattoo artist (or a doctor) with any questions or concerns prior to and/or after getting your tattoo.