How Often Should You Clean A New Tattoo?
Download Article Download Article Taking good care of your new tattoo right after you get it will help it heal quickly and stay vibrant. Keep the bandage that your tattoo artist applied on for at least a few hours before gently removing it, washing your tattoo with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap, then patting the skin dry. By keeping your skin evenly moisturized and clean, staying out of the sun, and avoiding picking or itching your new design, your tattoo will heal beautifully.
- 1 Leave the covering on for 2-3 hours. Once the tattoo is complete, your tattoo artist will clean the area, apply an antibacterial ointment and cover the tattoo with a bandage or plastic. Once you have left the tattoo parlor, resist the temptation to open the bandage. The bandage is there to protect your tattoo from dirt and bacteria and should be left on for up to 3 hours before you remove it. 
- Since different tattoo artists have different methods of wrapping new tattoos, ask your tattoo artist when they recommend removing the bandage. Some artists may not wrap the tattoo at all, depending on the products and technique they use.
- If you leave the bandage on longer than the artist suggests, you are more prone to infection and the ink may bleed.
- 2 Wash your hands before carefully removing the bandage. Washing your hands beforehand will help prevent your tattoo from getting infected when you go to touch it. To remove the bandage more easily, you can apply warm water to it to prevent the bandage from sticking to your skin. Pull the bandage off slowly and carefully so you don’t damage your new tattoo. 
- Throw away the used bandage.
- 3 Wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. Instead of soaking your tattoo in water, cup your hands together and scoop lukewarm water over it. Use a mild, unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap to rub the tattoo gently with your fingers, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink. 
- Do not use a washcloth, loofah or any sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may harbor bacteria. Do not resume use of the items until the tattoo has healed completely.
- Avoid holding the tattoo directly under the water—the stream of water from the faucet may be too harsh on your new tattoo.
- 4 Let the tattoo air dry or pat it dry with a clean paper towel. While it’s best to let your skin air dry after the tattoo has been cleaned, you can also use a clean, dry paper towel to gently blot the tattoo until it’s dry. Avoid rubbing the tattoo with the paper towel to avoid irritating your skin. 
- Regular towels can irritate your tattoo or cause little bits of fluff to get stuck in them, so it’s best to only use a paper towel for drying.
- 5 Apply a non-scented antibacterial cream. Once your tattoo is fully dry, apply a little moisturizing ointment, preferably an all-natural aftercare, to the tattoo. Make sure to apply only a very thin layer and pat it in gently until it’s absorbed by the skin. If you’re not sure what kind of ointment to use, ask your tattoo artist what they recommend for your skin. 
- Aquaphor is a good, recommended option for a moisturizer.
- Don’t use petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline or Neosporin, as these are too heavy and may clog the pores.
- Once your tattoo is clean and moisturized, avoid rewrapping it.
- 6 Listen to your tattoo artist’s advice. Your tattoo artist will explain how you should care for your tattoo immediately after getting it, so try to follow their instructions. The way they bandage your tattoo may be different from other tattoo artists, so take the advice they give you seriously to ensure your tattoo heals correctly. 
- Write down the instructions they give you on a piece of paper or type them up on your phone so you don’t forget.
- 1 Wash and moisturize your tattoo daily until the scabs are gone. You should continue to wash your tattoo 2-3 times a day with antibacterial soap and lukewarm water until it’s fully healed. This can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the size and location of the tattoo. 
- While moisturizing is important, be careful not to smother the tattoo in lotion or ointment—a thin layer is all you need.
- Continue using an unscented mild soap when washing.
- 2 Avoid scratching or picking at your tattoo. As it heals, your tattoo will start to scab over, which is normal. Let the scabs dry out and fall off by themselves, and don’t speed up the process by picking or scratching at the scabs. This can cause the scabs to fall off too soon, which can leave holes or light spots on the tattoo. 
- Dry, scabbing or peeling skin can become very itchy, but scratching at your tattoo may also cause scabs to fall off.
- Keep using moisturizing ointment to combat itchiness if it is a problem.
- 3 Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight. The harsh rays of the sun may cause your skin to blister and bleach some of the colors from your tattoo. For this reason, it is best to keep your tattoo covered and away from the sun for at least 3 to 4 weeks until the initial healing is complete. 
- Once your tattoo is healed, you’ll want to wear sunscreen to prevent the tattoo from fading.
- 4 Avoid soaking the tattoo in water. Until your tattoo is fully healed, don’t swim in a pool or the ocean. Avoid soaking in the bathtub as well. Exposing your tattoo to lots of water can pull the ink out of your skin and do damage to the tattoo’s appearance. The water may also be carrying dirt, bacteria, or other chemicals that can infect your tattoo. 
- It will be safe to resume these activities once your tattoo is healed, but for now you should stick to rinsing your tattoo in the sink or shower.
- 5 Wear clean, loose-fitting clothing to avoid irritating your tattoo. Try not to wear tight or restrictive clothing on the area with your new tattoo, especially at first. As your tattoo heals, it will seep plasma and excess ink, which may cause the clothing to stick to the tattoo. The clothing will then be painful to remove and may rip off any freshly formed scabs. 
- If your clothing does stick to your tattoo, do not pull! First wet the area with water, which should loosen the clothing to where it can be removed without damaging your tattoo.
- Tight clothing will prevent enough oxygen from getting to your tattoo, and oxygen is essential for the healing process.
- 6 Wait for your tattoo to heal before doing strenuous workouts. If the tattoo covers a large surface area or is near your joints (such as elbows and knees), it may take longer to heal if the skin is forced to move around too much during physical activity. The movement will cause the skin to crack and become irritated, prolonging the healing process. 
- If you work in a job that involves physical activity, such as construction or dance, you may want to consider having your new tattoo done right before you have a day or 2 off so it has time to heal before you return to work.
- 0.1 How often should I wash and moisturize my new tattoo?
- 0.2 When can I stop washing my tattoo every day?
- 1 What happens if you over-moisturize a tattoo?
- 2 How do I take care of my tattoo the first week?
- 3 Why is the ink on my tattoo coming off?
- 4 Should I moisturize my tattoo while its peeling?
- 5 Should I let my tattoo dry out and peel?
How often should I wash and moisturize my 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.
Should you clean new tattoo everyday?
Disregard any advice from friends and family. We are licensed professionals and the proper healing of your new tattoo is very important to us. Your bandage should be worn for 1 to 2 hours. Thoroughly wash your hands and dry them with a paper towel before removing the bandage.
If you find that the bandage is stuck to your tattoo, try running the bandage under water. You DO NOT however, want to soak your fresh tattoo in ANY water to include but not limited to bathtubs, swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, and ponds.
These all have chemicals, dirt, and all kinds of nasties that can cause infection. Showers are fine-just NO SOAKING! Using a mild, fragrance-free soap (Dove, Dial, and Neutrogena); gently wash all excess blood, ointment, ink, and plasma from your tattoo.
Only use your hand – DO NOT use a washcloth or loofah as they can harbor bacteria. If you are not sure which soap to use, read the ingredients. If alcohol is listed as one of the first few ingredients, DO NOT USE IT.
Soap with fragrance and alcohol will burn and can over-dry the skin. After washing the tattoo, pat it dry with a paper towel. DO NOT use a hand or bath towel. Towels can harbor bacteria. DO NOT re-bandage your tattoo. It needs to “breathe” and get air to heal properly.
- Wash your tattoo once or twice a day for the duration of the healing time;
- Too much washing can wash away your body’s natural bacteria which helps your skin to heal;
- Washing the tattoo in the morning and at night before you go to bed is sufficient;
For the first day, the tattoo will “ooze” clear plasma. This is completely normal. There is NO NEED to use any ointment on your tattoo. Most ointments are for fighting infection and are contributing to antibiotic resistance. Additionally, ointments can “suffocate” the tattoo by not letting enough air get to it which can cause excessive scabbing.
Ointments also lead to higher rates of dermatitis in tattoos. Before going to bed, wash your hands and wash your tattoo. Sleep in something old (yet clean) to cover the area that was tattooed. Most tattoos will ooze clear plasma the first night and this can stain and stick to clothing and sheets.
By the second or third day, your tattoo will start to dry out. It will start to flake like a sun burn. You will see large black and colored flakes coming off, especially in the shower. This is completely normal. DO NOT under any circumstances, pick or “help” these flakes come off.
Doing so will result in the loss of line and color in your tattoo as well as cause scarring. And YES, we can tell when someone has picked at their tattoo! In addition, DO NOT wear tight clothing that may rub the tattoo.
When your tattoo starts to flake and peel, you may then start using 1or 2 drops of fragrance-free hand lotion. Keri, and Curel are both good choices. Rub the lotion in completely or blot excess off with a paper towel. If you unsure if the lotion you have at home will work, read the label.
If alcohol is near the top of the list of ingredients, then DO NOT USE IT. You may also do a spot test if you are unsure. Rub just a small drop into a small section of the tattoo. If it starts to burn or sting in a couple of minutes, then wash it off immediately and discontinue using it.
Continue to use the above steps until your tattoo is completely healed. Healing time varies with each individual and the area that was tattooed. Generally, tattoos are fully healed in two to three weeks. During the healing process, DO NOT use anything on your tattoo that you wouldn’t use on any other wound or abrasion.
This includes oils, glitter, sun block, etc. If you have special circumstances that require you to alter our advised healing method, please ask the artist or staff. An example would be someone that works in an industry where their fresh tattoo might be exposed to dirt, germs, etc.
while it is healing.
When can I stop washing my tattoo every day?
You should never stop washing your new tattoo with soap. After the tattoo has healed, you should continue to wash it just as you would any other piece of skin on your body. That being said, you can definitely ease up on your tattoo cleansing routine as soon as the area has fully healed. This is the point in which germs and bacteria will no longer be able to successfully infiltrate the wound. As part of the healing process, you can stop washing your tattoo with soap after:
- The tattooed area has completely finished scabbing and peeling
- Your artist has confirmed it’s ok to do so
- Your doctor has advised you to stop
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. A bubbling tattoo.
What happens if 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.
What should you not do after a 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 do I take care of my tattoo the first week?
Aftercare for Your Tattoo – So, how can you make sure that new tattoo is something you don’t end up regretting? Follow these steps while your new tattoo heals.
- Be sure your artist covers your new tattoo in a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage.
- Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Gently wash the tattoo with antimicrobial soap and water and be sure to pat dry.
- Apply a layer of antibacterial/Vaseline ointment twice a day, but don’t put on another bandage.
- Gently wash your tattoo area twice a day with soap and water and gently pat dry before reapplying the antibacterial/Vaseline ointment.
- Keep applying a moisturizer or ointment after you clean it to keep it moist.
You should repeat this process for 2 to 4 weeks. Also try not to wear clothes that will stick to your tattoo, and avoid swimming and the sun for about 2 weeks. And take cool showers. Scalding hot water will not only hurt, but it can also fade the ink. Wear a physical blocker sunscreen with at least 7% zinc oxide sunscreen during the daylight hours and/or cover it up (with clothing, a bandage).
When should I stop moisturizing my tattoo?
The tattooed area might still look dry and dull. Keep moisturizing until the skin looks hydrated again. By the second or third week, the outer layers of skin should’ve healed. It may take 3 to 4 months for the lower layers to completely heal.
When should I start moisturizing my tattoo?
Week one – Some tattoo artists recommend waiting between 24-48 hours before applying moisturizer, though others recommend doing so as soon as the first wash. A person with a fresh tattoo should follow their tattoo artist’s instructions on when to start using moisturizer.
- For the first couple of days, the tattooed skin may feel warm to the touch and have a reddish appearance;
- The colors may also appear very bright against the rest of the skin;
- The tattoo will become less vibrant as the healing process continues;
A person should avoid submerging the tattoo in water or getting the tattoo wet during the first 3–6 weeks, except for when washing it. A person can continue using the washing technique above throughout the first week when needed. How often washing is necessary will vary depending on a person’s activity levels and environment.
- Someone who is sitting in an air-conditioned office all day may only need to wash the tattoo once a day;
- However, someone who is working in a hot or dirty environment and sweating may need to wash the tattoo every few hours;
It is best to wash the tattoo with clean fingers only and not a cloth or towel, which may irritate the skin and prematurely remove any scabs that may have formed. Scabs will often form in the first few days, and ink may still come up through the skin and need to be washed away.
It is important not to pick the scabs or scratch the skin. In general, Scabbing is not a sign of improper wound care. Scabs will form anytime the skin is injured, and can be a sign of healthy tissue forming underneath the wound.
Keeping some form of antibiotic ointment or moisturizer under occlusion (as long as there is no known allergy) on the wound can help it heal better and the sooner this is done the better healing will happen with less chances of scarring. Any redness or mild swelling usually goes away near the end of the first week.
Should I cover my tattoo at night?
This info should guide you through the care of healing your tattoo, but if you have any other questions while it is healing, do not hesitate to contact your artist directly or call the shop for immediate reply. There are no stupid questions about healing.
– After your tattoo is completed, your artist will bandage your tattoo for your trip home. Leave the bandage on for one to three hours. When you take the bandage off, wash it with very warm water (as hot as is comfortable) and mild liquid hand soap (like Dr.
Bronner’s, Dial or Softsoap, just no perfumed or exfoliating body washes). Pat it dry gently with a paper towel, and let it air dry the rest of the way (never scrub the tattoo with a towel or sponge). Then you will apply a very small amount of Aquaphor Ointment or plain, unscented skin lotion (we recommend Aveeno, Lubriderm, Curel, or any of their generics) to the tattoo, just enough to lightly moisturize.
- Your first night sleeping, your artist might recommend you re-wrap the tattoo with plastic wrap (like Saran Wrap) to sleep without the tattoo sticking to your sheets. This is generally for larger or solid-color tattoos. If your artist did not recommend re-wrapping, just let the tattoo stay exposed to air overnight.
- Every day from then on, you will wash the tattoo in the morning and at night, and apply lotion 3 times a day or so, or whenever the tattoo feels dry or tight.
- Always wash your hands before touching the tattoo.
- DO NOT apply Vaseline, Neosporin, Bacitracin or any other medicated or perfumed product to your tattoo.
- After a few days, the tattoo will form a thin scab over it, and in about a week the scab will begin to flake off in the shower. DO NOT pick or scratch at the scab, just keep it clean and moist and the scabs will all fall off by themselves in about two weeks. Picking any of the scabs off will cause faded color and damage to the skin.
During healing do NOT:
- Wrap the tattoo after the first night (wearing breathable clothes over it is fine as long as they are not causing friction. (Keeping tattoos wrapped in plastic or bandages will stop air from getting to the tattoo, slow healing, and make gross stuff grow in there. )
- Submerge the tattoo in water. This means baths, pools and oceans. Regular showering is fine.
- Expose it to strong sunlight (Like outdoor activities or beach days. Walking to your car is fine)
- Shave over the tattoo (ouch!)
When all the scabs fall off and the skin feels smooth again to the touch, it is all healed and you can shave over it again, and swim and everything else. Sometimes after the scab falls off there is a secondary shiny, raised or waxy coat over the tattoo. This is just another healing layer of skin. Continue to moisturize it and it will smooth out by itself over time. If you have any questions about your tattoo while its healing you are always welcome to come by the shop and have us check it out, or email the artist who did the tattoo with “AFTERCARE” in the subject line for an immediate response.
Do not slather a big, thick coat of product over it; just enough for it to stay moist and flexible. If you are using Aquaphor, you can switch to a plain lotion after the first few days. Lotion is generally fine for everyone, your artist will recommend if you would benefit from ointment.
If something doesn’t look perfect After your tattoo is finished healing, we’ll do our best to make it right. Sometimes with excessive scabbing, or other unpredictable reactions during healing, your skin can reject some ink, leaving a “light spot” that is closer to your skin color in the tattoo (or a line might get thinner or lighter in one spot).
- This is common as its unlikely your body will accept every spot of pigment uniformly, so just contact your artist via email after your tattoo is finished healing with a photo to see if a small touch up is in order;
Unless you were negligent during the care of your tattoo, touch-ups are very minor and quick, and guaranteed by our artists if you contact them about it within 3 months of getting the tattoo. Because older tattoos that have settled in fully and aged require more work to make uniform, we suggest coming in as soon as possible when it’s healed, as touch ups are performed for a fee at the artist’s discretion after 3 months.
Why is the ink on my tattoo coming off?
– Peeling is a normal and expected part of tattoo healing. Tattoo needles penetrate the epidermis , or the outer layer of skin, and the dermis, which lies beneath. This process creates thousands of small wounds that damage skin cells. Tattoos usually take about 2 weeks to heal, but it can take longer for the skin to fully recover.
- Peeling usually occurs a few days after getting the tattoo, as the skin begins to heal and regenerate itself;
- The regeneration process involves the skin removing dead and damaged cells;
- As the skin exfoliates itself, a layer of dead skin cells and ink pigment peels off, allowing new cells to grow;
Although some peeling is normal, excessive peeling could indicate a problem, especially if there are symptoms of infection and inflammation.
When should I stop moisturizing my tattoo?
The tattooed area might still look dry and dull. Keep moisturizing until the skin looks hydrated again. By the second or third week, the outer layers of skin should’ve healed. It may take 3 to 4 months for the lower layers to completely heal.
What happens if you don’t moisturize your tattoo?
It’s a tricky line to tread, looking after your new tattoo and making sure it doesn’t get infected, while also leaving it alone to do its healing without being fiddled with! Too much balm can be problematic, as skin needs to breathe while healing, but what happens if you don’t put any on at all?
- Itchiness Without moisturiser, there’s a risk that healing skin will get very dry, tight and itchy, and itchy skin that you can’t scratch – that in fact you shouldn’t touch at all – is not much fun! If you do itch then you risk damaging the new tattoo.
- Tightness and Scabbing Dry skin can also cause very tight scabs to form; these can flake and fall off easily, pulling the ink away with them, which you also really want to avoid.
- Infection Lastly, uncovered skin can be more open to infection, which can also damage the design; a fine layer of breathable balm works like a sticking plaster to protect against irritants and microbes.
Your skin needs to be looked after whether it’s been tattooed or not; it goes through the same natural cycle of repair and regeneration every 3-4 weeks, rebuilding its outer layer so that it can provide a robust barrier to the outside world.
Should I moisturize my tattoo while its peeling?
Moisturizing is Essential During the peeling process, unless you’ve decided to take on the dry healing method it’s essential that you keep your tattoo moisturized. For the first three days after you get your tattoo, you should be cleaning your tattoo and washing, drying, and putting ointment on it regularly.
Should I let my tattoo dry out and peel?
The takeaway: – Peeling is normal (to an extent) but that doesn’t mean you should peel it yourself. Let your skin do its thing for the two-ish weeks and keep the tattoo clean and dry while it heals for the best results. If you experience any scabbing that seems abnormal (like thickening over the entire tattoo or green or yellow areas that fill up with puss), see your doctor to address the infection.
- A poorly healed tattoo sucks but an infection left untreated would be way worse than that, trust;
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