Hey there inkster!
So you’ve booked your tattoo appointment. Now what?
Is there anything you can do before getting inked? What about after – how do you take care of a healing tattoo?
Put those doubts aside, cause’ we’ve got all the answers right here!
Tattoo Care: Before, During, and After Getting Your Tattoo
PREPARING FOR A TATTOO: Dos and Don’ts Before Getting Inked
There are a few things you can do in preparation for your new tattoo to make sure you get the most out of your experience and leave your session with a tattoo you’ll love for a long time!
Choose the right studio
Do your research!
Look up studios around you to find one that fits your needs – is it conveniently located? Does it fit within your budget? Do they tattoo in the style you are looking for?
Not sure what style you want? Find some inspiration in The Many Styles of Tattooing
Other things to assess include the studio’s standards of hygiene, as well as the quality of materials they use.
Need some help? Check these blogs out:
Drop in for a consultation
Meet your artist before getting inked.
You may not have your full tattoo design planned out, and that’s perfectly fine – artists love working with a client to create unique designs that tell their story.
A consultation lets you discuss and finalize your tattoo design. Together, you can come up with a design that truly represents you as opposed to something you simply found online.
Some artists also require that you pay an advance when booking your tattoo appointment, so it helps to settle details like price during your initial visit.
Need some inspiration? We have you covered!
- Tattoo Designs: How to Choose the Right One for You!
- Animal Tattoos and their Meanings
- 70+ Tattoos for Girls – From Hand to Back Tattoos, We’ve Got Them All!
- 10 Music Tattoos to Inspire any Music Lover
Already have a design, but have some doubts? Try these guides:
- Tattooing 101: Everything About Inking – Explained!
- The Jhaiho Tattoo Sizing Guide
- The Jhaiho Tattoo Pain Guide
Trust your artist
You’ve discussed the design, now trust your artist to do their job.
Tattoo artists want to give you the best experience just as much as you want your perfect tattoo, so trust them to customize a tattoo design that represents you perfectly.
A good artist is someone that has worked on perfecting their craft for many years. Their skill means you get a quality tattoo. So choose an artist because they’re good, not because they’re cheap.
And DO NOT haggle! Good art is worth paying for – especially when the canvas is your body!
Check out some of the top artists in Bangalore right now at Tattoo Artists in Bangalore: Finding the Best Artists in Town!
Eat healthy and stay hydrated
A tattoo will heal faster when your body is at its healthiest self. So keep yourself healthy and hydrated in the days leading up to your appointment – as well as after it.
Prep the tattoo spot
Keep the tattoo spot clean and well-moisturized. Healthy skin means faster healing as well as a better-looking tattoo!
TATTOO DAY: Getting Ready for Your Appointment
Your appointment day is finally here! And with it, the usual hits play – “Do I prep the tattoo spot? Should I shave? Can I do a shot to calm my nerves before I get inked? Can I get there early? WHAT DO I WEAR?!”
Pause the tunes – we’ve got some answers for you!
Come freshly showered!
Tattooing requires good hygiene, both from the artist and the customer. It’s difficult for an artist to spend such a long time working in close quarters with someone that has not maintained an appropriate level of hygiene, so be considerate!
Include deodorant and mouth freshener in your pre-ink routine if possible.
Also, assess the studio when you go in for a consultation. Be sure to check that the ink is of high quality and that the needles are freshly removed from their packaging before being used in your session.
Prep the tattoo spot
Clean and shave the tattoo spot, and don’t use any products on it before your appointment. Unhygienic practices can increase the risk of an infection, so you want to make sure the area is totally clean.
What to wear
Loose, comfortable clothing that you can move around in and that leaves the tattoo spot accessible is best!
It is preferable to come dressed in black – your clothes won’t get ruined during inking and your artist doesn’t have to worry about being the one who ruined them!
Getting to your appointment
Be on time! And if you’re going to be delayed, need to reschedule, or can’t make it be sure to inform your artist beforehand.
Always confirm the location and time of your appointment, and try not to bring too many friends along as this can be distracting for your artist.
If you prefer listening to your own music during your session, make sure to bring headphones!
Eat well and stay hydrated
Tattooing can sometimes result in your blood glucose level dropping a little. So eat well before your appointment and stay hydrated.
Bring a snack, such as chocolate or something sugary in case your glucose level drops during your tattoo session – which is quite likely for a very long session!
Make sure to also be well rested, since this keeps you relaxed, alert, and maximizes your tolerance to pain.
Avoid consuming alcohol or other substances for at least 48 hours before your appointment. That’s right, put that shot down!
Besides it being quite difficult to tattoo someone who is not sober, alcohol, drugs, and certain medication can thin your blood and make the tattooing process much harder and the healing process much longer.
Certain drugs also make it difficult for the ink to enter your skin – which can lead to a botched up tattoo that will fade or ink that just won’t stick, no matter how hard the tattoo artist pokes!
So stay sober for your appointment. Also, avoid consuming caffeine for up to 48 hours prior to your appointment if you can. A good tattoo is worth it, trust us!
If you deal with anxiety, you could try some calming strategies to help you through the nerves. If that doesn’t work, discuss it with your artist during your consultation – they’ll have a whole list of strategies to help you out!
Remain as still as you can during your session. It might hurt, but the result is going to be worth it, and it makes your session go much smoother and end faster!
If you need a break, let your artist know before you start moving around. And speaking of breaks…
Take breaks if you need them, but try not to take too many as this interrupts the inking process. Try and visit the bathroom or take a smoke or drink break BEFORE your session.
And if you absolutely MUST take these breaks during your session, make sure you don’t let anything touch your unfinished tattoo and wash your hands thoroughly to avoid getting any bacteria on the open wound.
A whole appointment, beginning with getting you prepped and settled in, tattoo pre- and post-care, and finalizing payment can take over an hour, so make sure you allow enough time for the whole process.
Do not rush your artist! Tattooing is a delicate process and rushing it will lead to lesser quality work – and will likely be more painful too.
Tip your tattoo artist!
If you enjoyed your experience and love your new ink, be sure to tip your artist!
TATTOO AFTERCARE: Caring for a Healing Tattoo
Congratulations on being #freshlyinked!
The first 4 weeks after getting your tattoo are very important. A new tattoo is like a raw, open wound. It requires just as much care in order to prevent any infection while your tattoo is healing.
Proper aftercare will ensure that your tattoo goes on to look the best it can look, and stay that way for a long time!
Haven’t gotten a tattoo yet? #getinked now through jhaiho.com!
What exactly is ‘aftercare’?
Tattoo aftercare usually involves certain standard procedures including cleansing and moisturizing and refraining from activities like exercising and swimming (details below!).
Some artists might have a few procedures specific to your tattoo, such as dry healing for larger tattoos, which involves keeping the tattoo totally dry except for when you wash it.
Be sure to check in with your artist and ask for their recommended aftercare steps before you leave the studio!
* * *
What to expect
New tattoos are raw, open wounds and will hurt a bit, about as much as a mild to moderate skin burn.
- The tattoo area will be sore (like the muscles underneath have just been exercised),
- you will experience redness,
- you might experience some of bruising (skin will be raised and bumpy), and
- you might feel a bit run down or tired like you’re experiencing a mild fever.
All these symptoms will gradually subside over the first week and will be totally gone after 2-4 weeks.
* * *
Summary of Tattoo Healing Stages
Tattoo healing takes about 2-4 weeks, after which the deeper layers of the skin will continue to heal for another 6 months. The tattoo healing process can be split into three stages:
Stage One (Days 1-6)
Redness, swelling, and pain or soreness (as if the muscles underneath have just been exercised), oozing of blood and plasma (the part of blood that hardens to help with healing), and mild scabbing (hardened plasma that forms over an wound).
Stage Two (Days 7-14)
Scabbing starts to fall off causing dry skin, which leads to itching, flaking, and peeling of the skin. This continues till all dead layers of skin have completely fallen off.
Stage Three (Days 15-30)
Tattoo might still look dull due to a thin layer of scabbing, but by the end of this stage, it should be fully healed. Continue to care for your tattoo to keep it looking its best. Once completely healed, the tattoo will look sharp and clean.
The deeper layers of skin will continue to heal underneath for up to 6 months.
* * *
WEEK 1: DAY 01 – Unwrapping, Cleansing, and Protecting Your Tattoo
Your tattoo is going to be sore for the rest of day one. It might look a bit red and swollen and feel warm to the touch due to blood rushing to the spot while it heals.
This soreness might continue for longer based on how you care for your tattoo, especially if it was a big piece with a lot of shading, and even more so if it’s on a spot that gets touched frequently (such as during sleeping or sitting down).
While this can’t be helped, you can minimize the discomfort with proper aftercare procedures over the next few weeks.
Be gentle with your freshly inked tattoo, especially once you unwrap it, and avoid touching your tattoo – or letting anyone else touch it!
Our hands are exposed to all kinds of dirt, germs, and bacteria throughout the day and touching your tattoo can increase the risk of infection.
Tattoo aftercare begins right in the tattoo studio.
Your artist will wipe the area clean with mild soap and water and then apply an antibacterial ointment. Your tattoo is a fresh wound at this stage, so this might sting a bit!
After this is done, they will wrap the tattoo to prevent it from getting damaged or infected. This process is usually done with the utmost care, using sterilized materials after thoroughly cleaning the tattoo area.
The wrapping may be either a cloth bandage, which is more breathable and will soak up any oozing blood and plasma or a plastic wrap which works better for not accidentally pulling off scabbing (though this type of wrap can trap moisture for an extended time risking an infection).
Your artist will know which material and wrapping method to use, but it’s always good to do your research and understand what issues you might face.
The wrap is basically a temporary bandage. Leave it on for as long as directed by your artist – this can be anything from an hour to the whole day, sometimes even longer.
Some artists might recommend leaving the wrap on for at least 24 hours to protect your tattoo while you sleep. Your artist knows how long is ideal for the wrapping stage, so listen to their advice and leave it on for as long as directed.
If you must remove your wrap before the specified time, make sure you wash it immediately (see below for washing instructions).
Additionally, NEVER rewrap a tattoo unless specifically advised to do so by your artist – healing tattoos need to breathe, and poorly sterilized wrapping tends to suffocate the tattoo area and increase the risk of infection – trapped moisture is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria!
Removing the wrap
Time to unwrap your tattoo!
Step one – wash your hands thoroughly! You don’t want to handle your tattoo with dirty hands.
Step two – be gentle! Your tattoo will ooze some blood and plasma to start the healing process, and the plasma hardens to protect the open wound from getting infected.
Additionally, the ink from your tattoo will take some time to settle into the deeper layers of your skin, so you don’t want to accidentally pull any of it out by being too rough.
Step three – remove the wrap! Cut through the wrap carefully using scissors instead of peeling it right off as this could pull out some ink that hasn’t settled yet, especially if you were given a cloth wrap which tends to stick to the skin.
If the wrap doesn’t pull away from your skin easily, gently pour some room temperature – NOT hot! – water over the area until it starts to come off.
While is normal for some excess ink to leak during a wash hot water opens up your pores and causes unsettled ink to leak, resulting in a patchy tattoo.
Once the wrap is off, wash the tattoo area immediately using warm water and soap to remove loose ink, dry blood, and plasma.
Invest in a good mild fragrance- and alcohol-free antibacterial soap to use over the next 2-4 weeks while your tattoo is healing as these are least likely to cause irritation or excessive drying when used on a healing tattoo.
Ask your artist for recommended aftercare products.
Your tattoo will continue to ooze and scab over the first few days.
Scabbing is really important to the healing process and must take place, but washing away excess and hardened plasma prevents big scabs, which tend to get dry and crack if left too long.
Be extremely gentle with your tattoo, especially during the first week. When washing, take some room temperature water in your hand and gently pour over the tattoo area – do not rub or scrub the spot.
Foam up some aftercare soap in your hand, then gently apply it over your tattoo in circular motions with clean fingers. Try and wash away as much of the loose ink, hardened blood, and plasma as possible.
It is normal for some ink to leak and wash off during this stage, but don’t pull off or pick at any loose or peeling skin as you might accidentally pull out some ink that hasn’t fully settled into the deeper layers of your skin yet.
Pour some more water over the area to make sure all the soap has washed off. Pat dry using a clean paper towel to gently dab off excess water and then allow your tattoo to dry naturally.
Avoid using any rough towels when drying your tattoo as these can accidentally pull off peeling skin.
Also avoid fabrics that are too fluffy or that shed, as these can get caught on the scabs and hinder the healing process. Fabrics also retain bacteria no matter how clean and fresh they are, so best to put aside your favourite soft fluffy towel till your tattoo is healed!
Another thing to avoid is shaving the tattoo area, as you might accidentally shave through a scab or peeling skin.
If you’re uncomfortable with hair on your skin, you might consider covering this area until the tattoo is completely healed.
Gently apply a VERY THIN layer of aftercare lotion (ask your artist for recommended products) to the tattoo after it is completely dry – do not smother your tattoo with products.
Remember – healing tattoos need to breathe! If you apply too much, dab off the excess with a paper towel.
Stay away from petroleum-based products as these are too heavy for a healing tattoo, and some are known to draw ink from a tattoo when used too often.
Additionally, heavy products will cause scabs to swell and get gooey, which in turn makes them more likely to get stuck to things and be pulled off.
Do not use any sunscreen or any other product on your tattoo until the area is fully healed.
Keep your tattoo covered (opt for soft, smooth fabrics and loose-fitting clothing that won’t interfere with the healing process) at all times, especially in hot weather as UV rays can damage a healing tattoo.
And this should go without saying – but no tanning, whether under the sun or in a sunbed.
Stay out of water
Refrain from long and/or hot showers – opt for shorter showers in room temperature water, and try to keep your tattoo from getting wet.
Most water bodies usually contain all kinds of bacteria and impurities, and heat and humidity open up your pores. Both of these increase the risk of infection in a healing tattoo.
So avoid swimming – that means no pools, beaches, ponds, lakes, saunas, steam rooms, spas – even sinks and bathtubs!
This also means being careful with daily activities – such as chores (now you have an excuse to not wash the dishes!).
Keep your tattoo covered and dry at all times while it’s healing. You’ll need to maintain these habits for at least one month after getting your tattoo so organize your routine accordingly.
If your tattoo does come into contact with water, wash it as soon as possible with soap, pat dry with a paper towel, and apply lotion.
It is important to note that tattooing can temporarily impact your immune system due to the process involving some amount of temporary damage to the skin, especially if you were in that tattoo chair for quite some time.
Additionally, some amount of bleeding does occur during the inking process, and during the session, your blood glucose level might drop.
Take it easy on your first day – rest up and refrain from too much activity, especially exercising, as you could end up burning yourself out and falling sick – all of which will result in a drawn-out healing process.
It could also lead to heavy sweating or chaffing (damage from rubbing), and accidentally having your tattoo touched by unclean surfaces – exercise equipment and gyms are notoriously unhygienic, keep it away from your tattoo!
If you do still choose to head to the gym during this time, don’t overexert yourself, and do not let your tattoo rub against any of the equipment or surfaces.
When you work out, keep dabbing off sweat from the tattoo spot, and make sure to clean your tattoo as soon as you’re done.
If you got your tattoo done on an area over a joint or a spot where the skin folds, be very careful exercising this part of your body.
If you think you might do a lot of exercising right after getting inked, mention it to your artist – they might suggest leaving the wrap on a bit longer to prevent damage during the first 24 hours, or might ask you to change the tattoo location just to be safe.
Food and drink
While you don’t need to specifically avoid any food or drink, there are some things you can avoid to help your tattoo heal faster.
Your body heats up after getting a tattoo, so opt for cooling foods. Avoid too much meat, alcohol, and caffeine.
Avoid foods that you are allergic to, even if only mildly – you don’t want to deal with skin reactions on or around your tattoo!
Also, avoid very hot or spicy foods – this increases body heat and leads to sweating, which is bad for a healing tattoo!
Such foods also increase how oily your skin might get. You don’t want to deal with breakouts on or around your tattoo, both because this is uncomfortable and because it increases the risk of infection.
Staying hydrated is also extremely important while healing, so drink up – water, we mean!
Alcohol, drugs, & medication
Many substances impact how we bleed and heal – including alcohol, drugs, and blood-thinning medication.
For up to 48 hours after getting inked, avoid all of these – sorry, you’re going to have to delay that freshly inked party you were planning on throwing!
Your tattoo will ooze blood and plasma for a few days till it scabs over. You don’t want to consume anything that will affect how you bleed.
Additionally, such substances impact your immunity, and you’ll heal slower with them in your system.
And finally, any substance that alters your ability to stay safe or function as you normally do is dangerous for your tattoo – falling over and hurting yourself while drunk is probably not going to work out well for that healing tattoo.
Plus, it’s not even a great story, so what are you really getting out of it, eh?
Do not pick at scabs
No really, don’t. Scabbing is a sign the tattoo is healing well – it protects the wound underneath.
Proper cleansing and moisturizing are essential during this time, but do not pick at, pull off, scratch, or rub the scabs and peeling skin.
This can lead to scarring, infection, patchy healing, and fading. Basically, this is how good tattoos go bad!
Try to keep your tattoo away from animals – sorry pet parents!
Not only is animal fur and saliva bad for an open wound, your little one might accidentally touch the wound and pull off scabs or scratch the tattoo during playtime, risking infection or causing a patchy tattoo.
So be careful while around your furbabies!
Use sheet protectors or an old bedsheet for the first week after getting inked to prevent ruining your sheets due to oozing blood and plasma.
Also, consider wearing clothing you don’t mind getting stains on. If you’re a scratcher, wear gloves!
And if you wake up stuck to your sheets, don’t panic and definitely don’t just pull the sheets off! Pick them up, take them into the bathroom with you, and gently pour warm water over the tattoo area till the fabric comes away easily.
Follow up with a wash and some lotion.
WEEK 1: DAY 02 – Caring for a Sore and Itchy Tattoo
Soreness & rawness
You’re likely still going to feel sore on the tattoo area for a few days more, up to a week (or slightly longer for larger or more detailed tattoos).
The redness and swelling will gradually go down. Some mild oozing will also still be present. If all of this continues for longer than 1-2 weeks, get it checked to make sure there is no infection.
The area will also be slightly raised and show signs of bruising – totally normal, considering it was just tattooed! This might be more apparent if the area has been worked on for long or if the artist was a bit more heavy-handed.
If you feel the bruising is more than a normal amount, get it checked with a doctor.
Cleanse and moisturize at least twice during the day and once at night before you sleep – that’s three times a day!
Your tattoo might start to scab over at this point. Once it does – DO. NOT. SCRATCH. OR. PICK. AT. IT.
The flaking and scabbing skin might be irritating, but it is an important part of the healing process.
The ink takes some time to settle into your skin, and peeling skin is still attached to ink particles under your healing skin. You pull the dry skin off, you pull the ink off.
Additionally, our hands and nails are usually covered in bacteria from the things we touch on a daily basis.
Picking at the scabbing and peeling skin will result in delayed and patchy healing, excessive fading, and a higher chance of infection. So leave it alone!
The dry skin will gently fall off on its own during the healing process, so just bear with it – the less you mess with your tattoo the better it will heal.
Your tattoo might also start to get itchy at this point. And what are we NOT going to do? That’s right, we WILL NOT scratch!
Scratching messes with healing, and could result in permanent scarring. All of this means having to go back in for a touch up to fix a patchy tattoo. So again – leave it alone!
If the itchiness bothers you, make sure to regularly moisturize with something light, preferably the aftercare products recommended by your artist.
Stepping out & daily care
Wear loose, comfortable clothing in smooth fabrics.
Do not apply any sunscreen or heavy products until your tattoo is fully healed. Keep it out of the sun and water as much as possible.
No swimming or exercising – avoid water and heavy sweating! Stick to short showers in room temperature water and very light products (preferably the aftercare products recommended by your artist).
It’s going to be uncomfortable for at least a week, especially if the tattoo is quite large or is placed in a spot that is hard to avoid sleeping on.
This will get easier over the course of the first week though!
WEEK 1: DAY 03 – Scab Central!
While scabbing depends on how fast your body heals and some might experience it earlier than day 3, most of you should start seeing signs of it by now.
Light hardened plasma will start to form over parts of your tattoo. This layer should be gently cleansed at least twice a day every day until your tattoo is fully healed to prevent it from getting infected.
By day 4, you’re likely to see full-blown scabbing as light layers of hardened plasma now start to form all over the tattoo.
It should still be light scabbing though – some scabbing, such as those on very fine tattoos or white ink tattoos can be so light you won’t even be able to tell there is scabbing. That doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!
Follow the same aftercare procedures no matter how light the scabbing seems.
Areas of the tattoo that had heavier work done on them might show signs of heavier scabbing, which is normal.
If you find that your scabs are getting very thick, however, it might be worth going back to your artist and get it checked out just to be sure your tattoo is healing properly.
Once your tattoo starts scabbing it’s going to look messy and dull, but don’t worry – this will subside soon enough and your new tattoo will emerge looking stunning – like a butterfly emerging out of its cocoon!
It might be tempting to pick at and pull off the scabs either because it’s itchy or because it doesn’t look great – DON’T. DO. IT.
The scabbing is necessary for proper healing and pulling it off before it’s ready to come off will result in pulling out some of the ink as well, so leave it be!
Resist the temptation now so you don’t have to pay for a touch up later.
Cleansing & moisturizing
Follow the same cleansing and care procedures for the next few weeks until the tattoo is fully healed.
Be sure to stay hydrated and keep the tattoo spot well-moisturized – but don’t smother it with products!
A light layer of lotion applied regularly will provide relief from itching and peeling skin, and will also make the scabbing and flaking skin lay flat and help your tattoo look a bit better, which is a quick fix in case you need to step out.
Light moisture will make the dry skin lay flat and your tattoo won’t look too bad!
While your tattoo is scabbing, avoid wearing tight clothes, especially ones made of a rough fabric as it can rub against the tattoo and pull off scabs.
Do try keeping the area covered though! Opt for loose clothing in smooth fabrics that won’t be abrasive and disturb your healing tattoo.
Protect your tattoo from dirt, dust, sun, water, and other things that might impact healing.
Be careful to not allow anyone or anything to touch your tattoo – it’s not ready!
WEEK 1: DAY 05 – More Scabbing!
Surely you know the drill by now?
No scratching, rubbing, picking at, or pulling off peeling skin, no water or sun, follow proper cleansing and moisturizing, and stay hydrated.
And no touching or allowing your tattoo to be touched by anyone or anything!
Good job so far! You’re practically a pro at this point!
WEEK 2: DAY 06 – The Dreaded Tattoo Itch!
You may have heard about this stage already – an itchy tattoo during week 2!
Annoying enough just because you have to refrain from scratching, this stage is also hard because your tattoo is going to start peeling and flaking and won’t look its best.
Congratulations – you’ve reached peak scabbing!
But don’t worry – this is actually a good sign! The scabs are now fully formed and are starting to come off, which is what is causing the peeling, flaking, and itching.
And just like the previous 5 days, what are we not going to do? Scratch, rub, pick at, or pull off the peeling skin.
And why not? That’s right – you’ll end up pulling off unsettled ink!
You’re acing this!
Cleansing & moisturizing
Keep the area very clean and well-moisturized (using a light lotion, preferably your recommended aftercare lotion, or alternatively a light oil such as baby oil).
While it is generally recommended to moisturize at least 2 times a day, some people say they apply lotion up to 6-7 times a day to help relieve itching.
A good rule to follow is to moisturize after every wash and once before bed.
Most people find instant relief from the itching as soon as they apply a lotion – so always keep some handy.
Other ways to find relief from itching include applying ice to the spot, gently tapping the area (as opposed to scratching!), having a very quick shower (in room temperature water), and staying hydrated.
And if all else fails – find a distraction!
You might find some ink still “leaks” or washes off during cleansing – this is normal at this stage, so don’t worry too much about it.
As long as it is coming off on its own and not being pulled off, your tattoo is safe.
* * *
You made it through week 1 and 2!
At this point, the flaking and peeling skin will come away more easily during washing, and you’ll start to see your tattoo emerging looking sharp and crisp – get excited cause it’s going to keep getting better as it heals!
Week 3 is more or less like week 2, so keep your tattoo cleansed and moisturized, be gentle, no scratching, rubbing, picking at, or pulling off scabs (yes, we’re going to keep reminding you, this is important!), and stay healthy and hydrated!
WEEK 3: DAY 15 – Final Stages of Healing
At this point, your tattoo should have mostly healed with very minimal flaking and peeling still present (most likely on the areas where heavier work was done).
There should no longer be any soreness or redness, though some people might still experience some – it all depends on how fast you heal! If you are, however, concerned with how slowly your tattoo is healing, get it checked with your artist or a dermatologist.
Any bruised parts should also be healing over at this point. If you want to be sure, try a simple bruise test – when you run your hand gently over the area, you should not be able to differentiate the inked parts of your skin from the parts that haven’t been tattooed. There might still be some mild bruising if the area was worked on more.
Your tattoo will most likely still be a bit dull and scaly, but that’s going to end soon!
Keep cleansing and moisturizing – you’re almost there!
WEEK 4: DAY 25 – More Healing!
The bulk of scabbing and peeling should usually have occurred by the 4th week, though it might take longer for some especially if the tattoo is extensive or required heavier work.
Until the tattoo has completely finished scabbing and peeling, continue the daily cleansing and moisturizing routine.
WEEK 4: DAY 28 – Almost There!
There will still be a very thin layer of dead skin covering your tattoo. This layer will be around for the next 4-8 weeks, so your tattoo might not be at its absolute sharpest.
By this point most of the scabbing, peeling, and itching as well as the bruising, redness, and soreness should be gone.
You might experience very light, mild flaking due to the last bit of dead skin, so keep cleansing and moisturize 2-3 times a day.
And the same rules apply – no rubbing, scratching, picking at, or pulling off the dry flaking skin.
And of course, stay healthy and hydrated!
WEEK 5: DAY 30 – You Made It!
Congratulations on your fully healed tattoo!
Now, remember – though the upper layers of your skin are mostly healed, the deeper layers will still take some time to heal completely.
The 4-week aftercare program is meant to promote quicker healing of the outer layers of the skin so the wound seals up quickly, your tattoo is protected from any damage, and there is minimal risk of infection.
Keep in mind that the area is still healing underneath. The deeper layers of the skin can take up to 6 months to heal completely, though after the first 2-4 weeks you shouldn’t experience much pain or discomfort.
Be careful not to subject your tattoo to any trauma (such as banging it on a hard surface) or harsh conditions, such as too much sun, while the deeper healing is taking place.
If you experience any pain or discomfort, check in with your artist or a dermatologist or doctor to make sure there is no infection present.
Continue basic care for another month.
Assess the tattoo spot now and then – are there any blemishes, spots, faded or patchy areas? Anything bits that need touching up or fixing?
If anything seems off, contact your artist and they’ll be able to give you advice on what steps to take if some part of your tattoo hasn’t healed quite right.
You no longer need to keep the tattoo area covered. Go on and live your life, and show that tattoo off to the fullest!
You can now go swimming and exercising since the top layers of your skin are healed and these activities are no longer a risk to your healing.
You can now use sunscreen. Opt for one with a minimum of 30 SPF. Continue keeping the tattoo area clean and moisturized.
You are now also free to do things like shaving the tattoo spot.
Be sure to run the bruise test – when you run your fingers over the area and find no areas with raised skin it is safe to shave! If not, wait 1-2 weeks and try the test again.
Stay healthy and hydrated to keep the deeper layers of the skin free of toxins.
* * *
LIFETIME TATTOO CARE: Keeping Your Tattoo Looking Good – Forever!
Your tattoo should now be looking the best it has in a few weeks – now that it’s not scabbed over or flaking and peeling anymore!
You no longer need to follow the entire aftercare procedure, but there are some general things you can keep doing to keep your tattoo looking good for a very long time!
- Continue to keep it clean and moisturized. Remember – healthy skin means a healthy looking tattoo!
- Stay healthy and hydrated. This keeps the deeper levels of your skin free from toxins, which keeps your tattoo looking its best for as long as possible.
- Use sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF, whether you’re stepping out into the sun or tanning in a sunbed.
TATTOO TROUBLESHOOTING: What to do if Something Goes Wrong
After a tattoo is fully healed, you shouldn’t have any more redness, swelling, or bruising.
But on some rare occasions, the skin might raise again, usually due to exposure to sun, heavy sweating, or exposure to things like saltwater or chlorine.
These issues usually only last a few hours to a few days and should subside on their own. It might be wise to follow the same aftercare procedures if this happens just for safety as your skin might be a little sensitive during this time.
If any issues arise with your tattoo after it is fully healed, it is best to check in with your artist or a dermatologist.
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We hope this Tattoo Care Guide helps you prepare for your appointment and take the best care of your tattoo after you get inked!
A properly healed tattoo is the best reward for the pain and effort you go through getting it.
Besides, ink is for life – so treasure it and make it an amazing memory that you’ll never regret!
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Thanks for stopping by! Happy inking!
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This article was written in collaboration with the tattoo artists Jessie Verve (Verve Tattoo Studio), Rahul Mitra (Birthmark Tattoos n’ Customs), Srinath Sivam (Tattoos and Tales), and Gaurav Khatri (Khatri Tattoo Studio).