New tattoos require attentive aftercare to promote healthy healing. A tattoo is an open wound and requires the same attention throughout the healing process. Tattoos must be kept clean and exposed to least amount of germs as possible.
The healing stages of a tattoo will be as unique as the individual who is experiencing it. Different skin type, body location, and tattoo artist techniques can all cause a variance in your personal tattoo healing process.
Tattoo aftercare is critical to the healthy healing of your new tattoo. The aftercare instructions below should be started as soon as possible following your tattoo appointment and make sure that you take proper care of your tattoo as there is nothing worse than getting a great tattoo and then having it heal poorly and mess up the finished tattoo. For additional resources on the proper care of a new tattoo click here.
None of this article should be taken as medical advice, for all medical advice consult your physician.
How to Care for a New Tattoo –
Your new tattoo will be bandaged when you leave the tattoo parlor. It is recommended to leave this bandage on your new tattoo for a few hours, to protect it from any outside contact. A brand new tattoo is similar to having minor surgery so don’t be surprised if your tattoo bleeds a little for the first 24 hours. This is normal and your bandage will help absorb any bleeding from your tattoo initially following your procedure. One thing to note is to be extremely careful when removing your bandage and to not let a large amount of blood dry on your bandage.
When it is time to remove the bandage from your tattoo, do so carefully. It is possible that blood has dried to the bandage and if you just rip it off, you could possibly screw up the appearance of your new tattoo.
Your tattoo is tattoo is going to be sore, red, and possibly a bit swollen. You may also experience a slight stinging sensation that is similar to the feeling of sunburn. Tattoo artists will tell you that getting a tattoo feels like a strong sunburn, the truth is that a healing tattoo will often feel like a sunburn. If you’re a wimp, you can take over-the-counter pain relievers can help alleviate these temporary symptoms of tattoo healing.
Your primary focus when taking care of a new tattoo is to keep the tattoo clean. After the initial bandage is removed, gently wash your tattoo with water and a tattoo aftercare cleanser such as Tattoo Goo (or anti-bacterial soap). Do not use a washcloth or anything other than your hand. Wash gently, don’t ‘rub’ but pat the tattoo. Try to remove all blood. Do not scrub. Rinse your new tattoo completely with clear water then blot slightly with a clean towel. Allow your tattoo to air dry for 15 minutes or so.
After your tattoo has dried, gently apply a tattoo aftercare lotion such as Tattoo Goo or Tattoo Adams all natural ointmet. A minimal amount will be sufficient – if your tattoo appears overly-shiny, you applied too much. Too much lotion traps germs in to your new tattoo which can potentially lead to infection. Just a dab will do.
Repeat the tattoo aftercare instructions for cleaning your tattoo 3 times a day.
Be sure to wear clean, loose-fitting clothing around your tattooed area and to sleep on clean sheets.
Tattoo Care – Peeling, Is it Normal?
The tattoo healing process is similar to recovering from a bad sunburn. It is quite common for a new tattoo to peel after a couple of days. Allow the tattoo to peel away naturally – do NOT peel the dry skin away yourself. This can pull the ink out of your tattoo leaving it discolored or uneven in appearance. You will also notice that your new tattoo feels tight, dry, and itchy. Keep applying your tattoo aftercare lotion to hydrate the tattoo and alleviate these symptoms. It is normal to see small flakes of colored skin flake away from your tattoo as your tattoo is healing.
What Does a Healthy, Healing Tattoo Look like?
New tattoos will appear red and swollen immediately following your tattoo procedure. This appearance will continue for a few days throughout the tattoo healing process. Within a week to ten days, the skin surrounding the tattoo area should be more back to normal. Most tattoos are completely healed in three weeks time.
Healing Stages of Tattoos
Everyone heals differently making it difficult to give an exact time line for the tattoo healing process. it is impossible to predict exactly how everyone will heal from a tattoo experience being that no two human bodies heal at the same rate. Those with sensitive skin may take longer to heal, and may experience a longer period of flaking or peeling, than those that have normal skin. Location of your tattoo can also cause the healing time to vary. Tattoos on the hands or feet may take up to two weeks longer to heal than a tattoo on another body part.
Below is a general over-view of the healing stages of a tattoo.
Tattoo healing stage – Week 1
New tattoo will be sore and red.
Slight bleeding is common during the initial 24 hours following your procedure.
Minor symptoms such as swelling and stinging can be eased with the use of over-the-counter pain relievers.
Proper tattoo aftercare must be started immediately following procedure to ensure healthy healing.
Tattoo healing stage – Week 2
Tattoo may begin to flake or peel.
Tattoo may become itchy
Important to NOT scratch or pick at tattoo
Tattoo healing stage – Week 3
Scabbing and/or peeling has subsided
Tattoo area may still feel sensitiveTattoo Care – Tattoo advice to preserve the quality of your tattoo.
Tattoo Care – Tattoo advice to preserve the quality of your tattoo.
- Do not expose your tattoo to extreme sunlight or tanning beds
- No swimming, hot tubs, or baths for first two weeks after getting
- Do not shave the tattooed area for the first 30 days following
- Only touch your tattoo with clean hands. Don’t let others touch
your healing tattoo
Tattoo Aftercare Video
Tattoo Aftercare Products
You probably spent good money getting that great new tattoo, didn’t you? Now is not the time to get cheap and skimp on tattoo aftercare products. The Original Tattoo Goo Tattoo AfterCare Kit is full of high-quality products designed to aid in the proper healing of a new tattoo, and to preserve it’s beauty for a lifetime.
If you change your mind, then you can always look into Tattoo Removal. I’ve searched around a few places in Honolulu, Gregery Herbich a doctor and am considering getting mine laser removed. We’ll see as time goes by what I decide to do there.
Adam Siehr, President and Proud Owner
Custom Tattooing LLC.
434 Ena Road