HEALING YOUR TATTOO
Leave the bandage on for 3 to 12 hours depending on the size of the tattoo. During this time, please try to resist the urge to peel off the bandage and show everyone you see. This tattoo is permanent, you’ll have the rest of your life to show it off.
After this, you can remove the bandage (if it is difficult to remove because of the tape, warm water or a shower can help).
Using only your fingertips, wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and unscented soap. Scented soap will sting.
Pat, don’t scrub!, the tattoo with a dry clean soft cotton or paper towel.
DO NOT re-bandage the tattoo! Let the tattoo dry out for 12-24 hours. This means no lotion but, you can still wash it. Showering is fine.
WASHING YOUR HANDS BEFORE APPLYING. Apply a VERY THIN layer of Aquaphor ointment to the tattoo or other tattoo aftercare products. A little goes a long way. Too much ointment can cause problems; just a dab will do. Work it in well. Dab off all the excess with a paper towel. There should be just enough to keep the tattoo moist and to keep it from scabbing or cracking. Do not re-bandage the tattoo.
Wash, pat dry, and re-apply the ointment, as instructed above, 3-4 times a day for four days.
After the fourth day, switch over to using a plain white non-scented lotion 4 to 5 times a day or as needed when your tattoo becomes dry and flaky, which is normal at this stage. (Be advised: scented lotions can cause irritation- aka burn like hell-fire). Continue using lotion until the tattoo is completely healed. Ointment can be applied whenever the tattoo is feeling stiff or dry but beware of over-moisturizing. Your body will absorb what it needs where it needs it. Apply ointment twice a day for two to three days then switch to a regular *Unscented* Lotions such as Eucerin, Lubriderm, Curel, or Jergens. Apply moisturizer twice a day for the remainder of two weeks. Do not use lotions that contain color or fragrance at all until the healing is complete. (Usually anywhere from ten days to two weeks; Possibly longer for slower healers.
Typical healing time is 7 to 14 days, although it can take a full month for the skin to be fully healed. You must keep your tattoo moisturized! When the tattoo is kept moist it doesn't have a chance to form a scab but does form a thin membrane to protect the tattoo while it heals. This layer peels off very similar to a sunburn (do not peel your tattoo, you will pull the ink out!) and it is perfectly normal to see small flakes of colored skin falling off during this stage of healing.
Avoid submerging your tattoo in water until the initial healing process is over (once flakiness and scabbing has ceased). Showers are okay...and recommended! Prolonged soaking can and will loosen scabs if any have formed, or will soak through the soft tissue turning it into a soggy mess and cause your ink to flow down the drain. This includes swimming in the Ocean or a Pool, Hot Tubs, and Saunas. Short showers are best, under ten minutes if possible
Remember, the sun is BAD for your tattoo! Whether the tattoo is new or old, if you want it to look nice and heal properly, keep it out of the sun. A sunburn on a new tattoo can cause a lot of problems. It will dry out your tattoo and could cause it to form a horrendous scab resulting in fading before it is even healed. It will also take much longer to heal completely and promotes scarring in a new tattoo. Wait until it is fully healed to go back in the sun or a tanning bed and make sure you put on a high quality sunblock. Never put sunblock on a tattoo that is still healing. Wait until it is fully healed before going into the sun.
Following all of these simple steps will ensure that you end up with the best result with minimal complications and your tattoo will stay looking bright and beautiful for many years to come. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us.
There are frequently asked questions amongst clients as they heal their tattoos. Everyone experiences the healing process differently.
Frequently asked questions
How long does it take a tattoo to heal?
It depends on the person and the location of the tattoo. Sometimes a tattoo can look healed on the surface but the layers under the skin are still being repaired. Two months is on the longer spectrum of healing time by most standards, but it’s a good rule of thumb to make extra sure your skin has fully healed — we say this because products with SPF can irritate healing skin, so the two-month mark is a good rule of thumb to be extra-sure your skin has fully recovered. There are three stages of healing. The stiffness and scabing, then the flaking, and last the shiny stage.
My tattoo is peeling and itching. Is that normal?
The skin that is peeling is colored like the tattoo?—is my tattoo coming off?
No, this is a natural part of a healing tattoo. The top layer of dead skin has been colored or dyed during the tattooing process. That outer layer will fall off revealing the fresh skin underneath. That is why healed tattoos don't look as bright as fresh. There is a new layer of skin that has formed over the ink.
My tattoo is scabbing. Is that normal?
Yes! Scabbing is typically normal and happens during the healing process of a tattoo. Just like any open wound, your body is creating its natural defense to guard it against infection while the skin underneath repairs itself. If the skin does scab, it’s very important that you don’t pick or pull at the scabs since that can pull out your ink and in some extreme cases, lead to scarring.
My tattoo seems to be losing ink. It is runny, wet and it looks like the ink is coming out. What should I do?
It sounds like the tattoo is weeping. When too much aftercare is applied, the body will naturally try to push whatever is on top off so it can breathe. Wash the tattoo off and pat it dry. Do not put anything on it for one day. After that, start using unscented lotion three times a day—be sure not to over apply. Continue using the lotion until it heals completely. It may scab a bit, but do not pick the scabs—let them fall off naturally.
Should I rebandage my tattoo?
No, once you’ve taken off the original bandage, you should not re-bandage your tattoo. The tattooed skin needs to breathe in order to heal faster and more effectively.
Can I use sunscreen on my tattoo while it is healing?
Sunscreen should not be used on a healing tattoo as it has many chemicals that can cause adverse reactions. You should keep the tattoo out of the sun until it is completely healed. Most artists recommend two weeks or more. After it is healed, you should always use sunscreen, anything SPF 50+ if your tattoo is going to be exposed.