How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Healing Properly?

How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Healing Properly
Inflammation – If your tattoo and surrounding skin is excessively swollen, red, and peeling, this could indicate a few possible issues. Inflammatory skin conditions could be a cause, as well as allergic reactions to tattoo pigment. (If you see inflammation in an older, healed tattoo, this could be a symptom of a rare condition called sarcoidosis.

How do you tell if a tattoo is not healing properly?

What are tattoos supposed to look like when healing?

Because we’re a skincare company for the tattooed, we often get questions about the tattoo healing process. A tattoo is essentially an open wound, and but it’s a little different in the sense that this particular wound was most likely expensive, plus there’s ink in the wound, and we want that ink to stay put, heal beautifully and ensure both our investment and our skin is protected.

Here are a few of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to healing. And as you’re reading please note that if you have a question or concern about your healing tattoo, listen to your artist, or consult with a medical professional to ensure you’re getting the best advice for your healing ink.

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.

My tattoo is peeling and itching. Is that normal?  Yes! It’s perfectly normal for a tattoo to peel like a sunburn — and itch like a sunburn. Make sure you resist the temptation to scratch or peel off the skin as that can pull out your ink.

Rather, let the skin flake off on its own. To help with this maddeningly itchy, peeling phase, our Tattoo Goo Lotion has an ingredient called Panthenol that helps relieve the itch. You can learn more about our lotion here. 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. My tattoo looks like it’s fading. Is that normal? A tattoo is VERY bright when it is first completed but during the healing process, it starts to look discolored and dull.

Don’t worry, when the tattoo is finished healing, the color will come back. 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;
  • What causes scabbing with a tattoo? Like with any open wound, your body responds by producing plasma  A lack of moisture can also cause scabbing;

The philosophy behind all Tattoo Goo products revolves around the importance of replacing the moisture that’s lost in the skin during the tattooing process. By doing this, it can help prevent scabbing as well as speed up healing time. 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 leaching. 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 Tattoo Goo® Lotion around 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.

Can I wash my tattoo? Yes, you should wash your tattoo 2-3 times a day with a product such as Tattoo Goo® Deep Cleansing Soap. Do not use a washcloth, use only your hands, gently wash off the tattoo and pat it dry.

Let it air dry for 10-15 minutes before applying aftercare. It is important that it is completely dry before applying aftercare. Do not soak the tattoo in water, swim, etc. until the tattoo is completely healed. Should I re-bandage my tattoo? No, once you’ve taken off the original bandage, you should not re-bandage your tattoo.

  1. The tattooed skin needs to breathe in order to heal faster and more effectively;
  2. 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, such as Tattoo Goo Renew® SPF 50+ if your tattoo is going to be exposed. Tattoo Goo® Salve and Lotion contain no sunscreen.

How often do you moisturize a new tattoo?

Should I apply lotion to my tattoo? What kind of tattoo care products do you recommend? – Yes! Moisturizing your tattoo regularly is extremely important. You should moisturize your clean tattoo 3 – 6 times per day, for roughly two weeks (though proper skincare is always important, and most tattoo enthusiasts moisturize their tattoos daily for life!). A white cream lotion or moisturizer, preferably unscented, should be used! We recommend these fragrance-free, white cream lotions:  Aveeno , Curel , and Eucerin . Be warned: your favorite fragranced lotion is not a good option for moisturizing your tattoo – this can cause an excruciating burning sensation when applied to the tattoo, which is essentially an open wound. The fewer chemicals in the product, the better! Pure cocoa butter or shea butter is also popular for darker skin tones and is a fine option. There are some manufacturers who design products specifically for tattoo aftercare that work well for long-term care (such as Tattoo Goo , H2Ocean , and Hustle Butter ). Do NOT use aloe vera gel to moisturize, and we don’t recommend A&D ointment either, as the oil in these products can extract some of the ink from your tattoo.

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When should I stop washing my tattoo?

The first wash – After usually no less than 5 hours, it is safe to remove the bandage and wash the tattoo. After thorough hand-washing, a person can gently wash the tattoo with hypoallergenic soap and warm water using their fingers. The moisturizer on the skin will come off, and the tattoo may appear as if it is oozing ink or a thick, sticky substance.

This reaction is not usually a cause for concern, as it is just the excess fluid and ink from the tattoo process. After washing, a person should pat the skin with a clean paper towel and allow it to air-dry for up to an hour.

When the area is completely dry, they can apply a thin layer of moisturizer to the tattoo, but leave it uncovered to allow the skin to breathe.

Can you over moisturize a tattoo?

What Are The Risks of Over Moisturizing a Tattoo? – By applying thicker layers of lotion or ointment, several times a day (or every hour or two as some people do), you’re risking over-moisturizing a tattoo. By over-moisturizing a tattoo, you can cause the following problems;

  • Due to excess moisture, the tattoo won’t be able to dry and heal
  • Excess moisture can create a perfect environment for bacteria and germ growth
  • Over moisturizing can lead to tattoo inflammation and infection
  • Excess moisture can cause clogged pores since the moisturizer prevents the skin from breathing
  • Excess moisture can cause the tattooed skin to break out

To avoid these issues, make sure to follow the moisturizing rules we mentioned before. However, make sure to not under moisturizing your tattoo as well. Some people are afraid they might over-moisturize their tattoo, so they leave it dehydrated, which results in heavy scabbing and tattoo dryness. So, make sure to stay in the middle and simply apply a thin layer of lotion/ointment twice a day.

Can I touch my tattoo after 2 weeks?

How Long to Wait Before Getting a Tattoo Touch Up? – A new tattoo can look different as it heals. Your skin is going through the healing process and this needs to be completed before you can see the final result. You should never touch up a tattoo on skin that hasn’t healed from the initial tattoo procedure.

This could do more damage than good and you could end up with something completely different than what you asked for. Any reputable tattoo artist will advise you to wait until your tattoo has completely healed before getting a touch up.

However, we would advise that touch ups for an imperfect tattoo are completed within 12 months of the initial tattoo.

Is dry healing a tattoo better?

– Wrap healing is done by keeping your tattoo wrapped in plastic while it’s healing. Your skin is usually kept dry during wrap healing, but the plastic can help lock in natural moisture while lymphatic fluid leak outs. Dry healing and wrap healing are similar in that neither method relies on any moisturizer to keep the skin moist.

Should I let my tattoo dry out?

Are There Any Disadvantages to Dry Healing a Tattoo? – For every argument in favor of dry healing, you’ll find a counter-argument. Critics of dry healing will point out, for instance, that it does nothing to relieve the itchiness that comes when your skin is healing after a tattoo.

That would be bad enough if it simply means you’ll spend a few weeks being more uncomfortable, but it’s worse than that. If you have a hard time putting up with the  itchiness  and you give in to the urge to scratch your tattoo, you can damage your skin before it has fully recovered.

If that’s the case, using an ointment that relieves the itchiness is likely a better alternative. The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called  After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation.

When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing. Some people allege that those in favor of dry healing may have simply used the wrong types of ointments.

It’s true that some lotions have harsh chemicals or don’t contain enough of the ingredients that are friendly to your skin. However, if you do a bit of research you should be able to find creams that will deliver the  vitamins  your skin needs without any unnecessary additives. How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Healing Properly A tattoo that is so dry that the scabs have cracked and are now bleeding While proponents of dry healing profess that it speeds up the healing process, it could also tighten the skin, which makes it more likely that scabs will break. This, of course, will extend the amount of time it takes for your tattoo to heal, and could cause minor blemishes.

What is the best lotion for tattoo aftercare?

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products. Healthcare professionals review articles for medical accuracy. Learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Byrdie / Chloe Jeong Tattoos deserve to be shown off, but before you can flash your new ink around, you have to diligently care for your tat to ensure proper healing.

One of the most important steps in the aftercare process is choosing a lotion that will keep your fresh design moisturized, free of infection, and without irritation, according to tattoo artists. Because a tattoo is technically a wound, tattoo lotions are incredibly important to not only keeping your ink looking good but to aiding in the healing process as well.

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Finding your perfect lotion isn’t as easy as it sounds, however, and it’s not as easy as asking for help; everyone has their own favorite products. “I think what lotion you use depends a lot on climate and skin type. Also how much you apply is important too,” says Olive, the tattoo artist behind Oregon-based Damn Zippy.

  • “I prefer not to rep a certain brand because everyone is different and I want my clients to use what works for them, which might not necessarily be what works for me;
  • ” Though it can be hard to choose from the array of lotions available, go in knowing what you want (vegan? water-based? budget or splurge?) and what will work best for your skin and new tattoo;

“I generally recommend that the person uses whatever they find most comfortable,” says hand-poke artist Harper of Melbourne’s Pocaharper. “After all, they have to wear it on their skin every day. ” Read on for the best tattoo lotions available now. Ulta What We Like

  • Super hydrating
  • Seals moisture into skin
  • Helps keep tattoo looking vibrant

What We Don’t Like

  • Not Byrdie Clean

Who else recommends it? Cosmopolitan, NBC News, and Verywell Health all picked Aquaphor Healing Ointment. What do buyers say? 88% of 59,600+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 5 stars. Aquaphor’s Healing Ointment is of the most widely used tattoo aftercare treatments, and you’ll find a lot of artists quick to recommend the old stand-by. Because the petrolatum-powered formula has occlusive properties, it creates a semi-permeable layer on top of the skin which allows moisture to be kept in and everything else to be kept out. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No What We Like

  • Calms and soothes skin
  • Not greasy
  • Can help with itching

What We Don’t Like

  • Not Byrdie Clean

Aveeno may be a name you are used to hearing, and there’s a reason for that: It works. All of Aveeno’s products feature colloidal oatmeal , which moisturizes and calms inflammation while creating a protective barrier on top of your skin, meaning it’s great for both soothing and protecting your healing ink. This lotion is also free of parabens and fragrance, so it won’t irritate a fresh tattoo.

By holding in the skin’s natural moisture, it helps keep your tattoo fresh and promotes healing. Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Skin Type: All | Size: 14 fl. Plus, it comes with a super affordable price tag, making it a must after any and every tattoo.

Active Ingredients: Dimethicone | Skin Type: All | Size: 18 fl. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: No What Our Testers Say “Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion will give you soft, silky, properly hydrated limbs. ” — Emily Algar , Product Tester What We Like

  • Byrdie Clean and cruelty-free
  • Contains antioxidants
  • Moisturizing

What We Don’t Like

  • Strong scent

Although Billy Jealousy’s Tattoo Lotion is a bit on the pricier side, it’s packed with skin-soothing elements like shea butter, sunflower seed oil, jojoba oil, green tea leaf extract, and more. One thing to note is that this lotion does feature lavender and rosemary oils for fragrance, and most artists will tell you to stay away from lotions with fragrances. However, Billy Jealousy’s fragrance comes from essential oils, so it gets an okay from me! This lotion will keep your tattoos looking fresh and clean. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes What We Like

  • Made with clean, natural ingredients
  • Smells great
  • Hydrates

What We Don’t Like

  • Small bottle

Another option that Harper suggests is Hustle Butter , a vegan alternative to traditional tattoo lotions. “It is all-natural and great for the skin, although not as accessible or cheap as the other two options,” says Harper. The product smells amazing and comes in a variety of sizes for everything from small line art to the heavy blackwork. Hustle Butter moisturizes and seals the ink to keep it looking new and feeling soft even after it’s healed. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes Courtesy of Amazon What We Like

  • Unscented
  • Contains vitamin E
  • Hydrating formula

What We Don’t Like

  • Small bottle

The last thing you want to apply to a fresh tat is something harsh, and this aftercare cream from Stories & Ink is extra gentle. Not only is it fragrance-free, paraben-free, and hypoallergenic, but it contains a soothing, fatty acid-rich blend of panthenol, bisabolol, and vitamin E meant to help calm inflammation and deeply moisturize the skin. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s also vegan and cruelty-free. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes Courtesy of Amazon What We Like

  • Cooling feel
  • Contains vitamin C
  • Helps with itching

What We Don’t Like

  • Can dry a little sticky

If you’ve been tattooed before, then you know that your skin doesn’t necessarily feel the greatest post-tattoo session. That’s why you’ll love this soothing, cooling gel from Mad Rabbit to gently calm and heal your freshly inked (err, punctured) skin. It contains aloe vera, a known skin soother that’s rich in antioxidants and stimulates cell regeneration, as well as reparative vitamin C and argan oil.

  • Active Ingredients: Aloe leaf extract, glycerin, olive oil | Skin Type: All | Size: 8 fl;
  • Active Ingredients: Shea, mango, and aloe butters | Skin Type: All | Size: 5 fl;
  • Active Ingredients: Glycerin, hydroxystearic/linolenic/oleic polyglycerides | Skin Type: All | Size: 2 fl;

Active Ingredients: Shea and cocoa butters | Skin Type: All | Size: 3. 4 fl. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes What We Like

  • Unscented
  • Moisturizing
  • Eco-friendly packaging

What We Don’t Like

  • Small bottle

H2Ocean Aquatat is a water-based and petroleum-free lotion that promises to create a protective skin barrier that is perfect for all skin types, including sensitive. It’s fragrance-free and anti-inflammatory, and reviews say it helps accelerate your ink’s healing period. Aquatat won’t stick to your skin, but it will leave your tat looking almost as pretty as new. Active Ingredients: Petrolatum | Skin Type: All | Size: 1. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: No | Cruelty-Free: Yes What We Like

  • Won’t clog pores
  • Helps relieve chapped, dry skin
  • No petroleum

What We Don’t Like

  • Small bottle

Having been on the market for ten years, Tattoo Goo lotion is another well-known aftercare product recommended by many artists. Rich in Panthenol (Vitamin B5), it promises to keep your ink moisturized, prevent scabbing, and speed up healing—all without clogging up your pores. Also nice? Tattoo Goo is also meant to help make colors more vivid and is dermatologist tested for your assurance. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes What We Like

  • No petroleum
  • Hydrating formula
  • Helps enhance tattoo vibrance

What We Don’t Like

  • Contains alcohol
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After Inked is enriched with grape seed oil to provide an extremely moisturizing effect on your new tats. It’s a daily skin product that won’t stick to your clothes and that will naturally help your ink—both new and old—look healthier and better than ever. If you’re looking for a natural aftercare product, After Inked is non-petroleum based, paraben-free, fragrance-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and gluten-free, so you can be certain it fits your needs and still works wonders on your tattoos. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes What We Like

  • Contains pure coconut oil
  • Multipurpose product
  • Inexpensive per ounce

What We Don’t Like

  • No other special ingredients added

If you want to be certain your lotion choice is completely all-natural, consider reaching for pure coconut oil. Although it has a seemingly infinite number of uses, it’s also the perfect product for tattoo aftercare due to its reputation for treating wounds and other skin irritants. If you decide to go with coconut oil, make sure you use a clean utensil (or wear gloves) when applying to avoid exposing your ink to any potentially harmful bacteria. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes Courtesy of People of Substance What We Like

  • Convenient for travel
  • No synthetic fragrance
  • A little goes a long way

What We Don’t Like

  • Could be more hydrating

This convenient tattoo healing stick is great for healing fresh tattoos and preserving your older ones. Packed with nutrient-rich grape seed, sweet almond, and argan oils, the ultra lightweight formula promises to help soothe and heal the skin while enhancing your tattoo’s lines and color. Pop it in your bag to apply it on the go, just make sure you clean any healing tattoos first.

75 fl. Active Ingredients: Olive oil, cocoa butter | Skin Type: All | Size: 0. 75 fl. Active Ingredients: Grape seed oil, glycerin | Skin Type: All | Size: 3 fl. Active Ingredients: Coconut oil | Skin Type: All | Size: 15 fl.

Active Ingredients: Caprylic/capric triglyceride, grape seed oil | Skin Type: All | Size: 0. 5 fl. oz | SPF: None | Byrdie Clean: Yes | Cruelty-Free: Yes Courtesy of Amazon What We Like

  • Super hydrating
  • Short, simple ingredient list
  • No petroleum

What We Don’t Like

  • Expensive for a small bottle

Consider this healing balm the ultimate multitasker. It can be used to heal and soothe dry skin and lips, eczema rashes, and burns and scrapes, and also makes a great quick fix for taming flyaways and unruly eyebrows. It’s also especially nice for healing a fresh tat. The simple formula contains only castor oil and glycerin meant to help draw moisture to the skin while repairing damage, and doesn’t contain any unnecessary fillers or fragrance.

What should you not put on a new tattoo?

Can you wash tattoo too much?

Moisturize  – Washing your skin often, especially with antibacterial soap, can cause excessive drying. We want to avoid drying out our skin too much because dry skin heals slower than moisturized skin. Each time you’ve washed your tattoo, put your choice of moisturizing, fragrance-free lotion on the area.

Don’t use a lotion that you share or have dipped your fingers into many times. The best tattoo lotion I’ve ever personally used is a vegan aftercare product called  After Inked Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. This stuff works amazingly well during the healing process; not only by keeping your tattoo really well hydrated but also by soothing any annoying itching and irritation.

When using it from the very start of the healing process, this lotion will help to decrease tattoo healing times and work towards eliminating any lingering dryness and scabbing. Ensure the area is completely dry before applying the lotion as you don’t want any water becoming trapped underneath it. How Do I Know If My Tattoo Is Healing Properly A bubbling tattoo.

What happens if you forget to clean your tattoo?

REGULAR TATTOO AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS –

  • Wash thoroughly with a mild antibacterial soap. Avoid scents, exfoliating beads, loofahs, washcloths; really anything abrasive.
  • Rinse, wash, repeat until it’s clean. The first wash is sometimes painful, but it’s SO IMPORTANT.
  • Pat dry with a clean towel or let your tattoo air dry.
  • Once dry, apply a very SMALL amount of moisturizing ointment. We recommend Redemption, Aquaphor, or basic white hand lotion.
  • Wash again 1-3 times a day. After each wash, apply a small amount of ointment.
  • After 3-5 days the tattoo will be flakey and may have scabbing.
  • At the 3-5 day mark, wash your tattoo once a day, and apply lotion 2-3 times a day – not ointment.
  • If it scabs, let the scabs do their thing – don’t pick, scratch, or bump any scabs.
  • After 2-3 weeks, the tattoo should be healed.

THINGS TO AVOID FOR THE FIRST 2-3 WEEKS

  • Do not submerge in water. No swimming, no baths, no hot-tubs – showering is okay (please shower).
  • Do not scratch that itchy tattoo. Seriously. Instead try patting it or washing it and reapplying lotion.
  • Do not workout if the workout feels like it is pulling on or squeezing the tattoo.
  • Do not tan or spray tan.
  • Do not touch the tattoo (or let others touch the tattoo) with unwashed hands. Also, that’s just gross in general. Please wash your hands.

THINGS WORTH NOTING

  • Although performed in a clean environment with single use and/or sterile equipment, tattoos begin as open wounds and it is possible to get them infected. Touching your tattoo with unwashed hands increases your risk for infection. Avoid germy people/places/things.
  • In general bacteria enjoys a dark, warm, wet environment. Try not to provide that. Let your tattoo breathe, and don’t smother it in moisturizers.
  • If you see redness all around the tattoo and it is painful, please stop using any moisturizers, and call us so we can see the tattoo in person.
  • If you see just redness and tightness around a scabby area and no red around the rest of the tattoo, that is normal. Scabs shrink once formed/dry and can pull on surrounding skin.
  • If black or colored ink is flaking off and the color under the flake is different, that is normal. Expect more.
  • If you miss a few chances to wash it or moisturize it, don’t worry. Your body is completely capable of healing it without any help.

How long do I do tattoo aftercare?

Why is part of my tattoo not healing?

All tattoos will be somewhat red for a few days after the procedure, but if the redness doesn’t subside, it’s a sign that your tattoo isn’t healing well. Oozing fluid. If fluid or pus is still coming out from your tattoo after 2 or 3 days, it may be infected.

How should a tattoo look after 3 days?