Tattoo Aftercare

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After getting tattooed it’s normal for some tenderness, swelling and redness for a couple of days. You may feel a sunburn sensation, followed by dry/itchy/flaky skin as the top layer of skin naturally exfoliates. 

Some people experience fatigue after a tattoo appointment. Eat food, drink water, get some rest to bounce back.

It’s important to follow aftercare instructions until ALL scabbing and flaking is completely gone. Healing takes around 4 weeks. It may look healed much faster than this, but it takes longer for under layers of the skin to fully heal.

Your tattoo may appear waxy or shiny after the top layers of skin exfoliate. Continue to moisturize daily until your skin returns to its normal texture. Continuing to apply lotion daily even after the initial healing process is healthy for your skin! 

The pigment of your tattoo is held in a lower layer of skin- you are viewing it though the top layers of skin. As a result colors may appear different when healed compared to when they were freshly applied as you view them through the “lens” of your skin tone. 


Keep the bandage on for 2-3 hours. Wash immediately after removing the bandage and again at night before going to bed.

Don’t re-bandage your tattoo at any point. Wear loose, clean clothing that doesn’t rub or shed fibers. Keep pets and animal hair fabrics away from your healing tattoo. Consider wearing loose clothing/pajamas over your tattoo while sleeping to reduce the risk of staining your bedding during the first few days of healing. Make sure your bedding is clean to reduce risk of infection. Do not soak your tattoo in water until all flakes & scabbing are completely gone, only shower for a normal length of time.



  • Wash your tattoo 2X a day during healing. Always wash your hands before touching your tattoo. Use your fingertips to wash, don’t use anything abrasive such as a towel. Use a mild liquid soap to wash such as Dove or Ivory. Dial or antibacterial soap can be used on your tattoo but it may be too drying/harsh for some people’s skin, so a gentler soap may be beneficial for some individuals.
  • Have your tattoo be the last thing you wash when showering so you can cleanse off any shampoo or body-wash residue left.
  • ALWAYS pat your tattoo dry, never wipe/rub with a towel. It’s recommenced to use paper towels to pat-dry your tattoo because they leave less fibers behind, but a fresh clean towel will work too. Let the tattoo air dry for at least 10 minutes before moisturizing.



  • Your tattoo will need to be moisturized daily after washing, 2X a day until it’s entirely healed. 
  • Use a plain, unscented, undyed/white lotion such as Lubriderm, Eucerine, or Cetaphil. If using a thick ointment like Aquaphor, be sure to use it VERY sparingly. If you can still see lotion/ointment on your tattoo after 10 minutes, you’ve used too much.
  • Your tattoo will naturally flake and exfoliate, but you don’t want it to get excessively dry. If you stop moisturizing too soon, areas of the tattoo will “crack” deeper into the skin causing poor healed results that requires a touchup. Moisturizing too much can keep the tattoo “soggy” and increase the risk of infection. The goal is to keep the tattoo moisturized, but not too moist. It will naturally flake, but don’t let it get too dry.



  • Sun exposure/tanning will prematurely fade pigment and alter some colors. Sunscreen is important to the longevity of your tattoos. When spending long hours in the sun, covering tattoos with clothing to protect the ink is even safer than sunscreen. Being mindful of UV exposure can literally add years to your tattoo looking crisp!
  • As we age, our skin has a tendency to lose moisture and become more dry. Dry skin can have a “dulling” effect on otherwise well-healed tattoos. Moisturizing and exfoliating regularly can help revitalize an aged tattoo and make it pop again!