How Long Does A Tattoo Need To Be Covered?
Day 1 – You’ll come home from the tattoo studio with a bandage or plastic wrap over your tattoo. After a few hours, you can remove it. You should ask your artist for specifics about how long to wait. Recommendations will vary and may be based on the type and size of your tattoo.
Some tattoo artists suggest that you only keep your tattoo covered for 1 or 2 hours. Once the covering comes off, you’ll probably notice fluid oozing from the tattoo. This is blood, plasma (the clear part of blood), and some extra ink.
It’s normal. Your skin will also be red and sore. It might feel slightly warm to the touch. With clean hands, wash the tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer. Leave the covering off so the tattoo can heal.
- 1 What happens if you take the wrap off your tattoo too early?
- 2 What should you not do after a tattoo?
- 3 What is tattoo etiquette?
How long do you keep a tattoo covered?
You’ll need to keep your tattoo wrapped in cling film from one to three days. Depending on the size of your artwork this may be longer and your artist will let you know but a general rule of thumb is: Small line-work pieces – keep the cling film on for one to two days.
When can I remove my tattoo wrap?
Method 1: Ointment – Remove the bandage after 3-12 hours. For example, if you get tattooed early in the day, leave the bandage on until the evening, but if you get tattooed at night and go to bed soon after, it’s ok to leave the initial bandage on until the morning.
Either way, don’t remove the bandage until you can properly clean the tattoo with mild soap and warm water. Rinse it well, gently rubbing off the slimy coating that may have formed over the tattooed area while underneath the bandage.
Gently pat it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel, then allow it to air dry for 15 minutes before applying ointment. Apply a tattoo healing product like Vitalitree to the tattoo as needed, massaging a very small amount into the skin to keep the tattoo slightly moisturized, but NOT smothered.
Use just enough ointment to give the tattoo a barely noticeable, slight shine, and blot off any excess. For the first day or two, your tattoo may require more cleaning or blotting, as the traumatized skin may still be seeping a small amount of plasma.
The proper minimal amount of ointment, along with daily cleaning, will prevent this small amount of plasma from forming into a thicker scab that could pull out color or cause cracking. The healing tattoo should never stay submerged in water. Therefore, limit yourself to only short showers until the tattoo has finished peeling.
It’s also important that a fresh tattoo be protected from the sun and dirty environments (gyms, pet dander or saliva, etc. ) with clothing or by simply avoiding certain activities, as it’s still an open wound for 3-5 days until the skin has peeled.
All normal activities involving water, sun exposure, or dirty environments can usually be resumed after one week. Only apply ointment for as long as it takes for your tattoo to peel, usually 3-5 days. When the peeling begins, the outermost layer of tattooed skin will flake like a sunburn.
What happens if you take the wrap off your tattoo too early?
Fresh tattoos can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to heal. During this healing phase, there are 7 things that can ruin your new tattoo before it has even healed. Bad art from a bad artist It’s possible to ruin your new tattoo by choosing an unskilled artist.
When speaking about skills, I’m not referring to their artistic skills. This would be about the artists’ tattooing procedure and application skills. Everyone’s skin is different skin. Healthy, unhealthy, plump, loose, tight, oily, or dry.
Our skin’s surface, thickness, and tightness are also different throughout our bodies. These differences can have a detrimental impact on how the ink lays into your skin. An inexperienced artist can further implicate this. Finding and choosing an experienced artist goes without question 2.
Keeping your fresh tattoo covered too long Fresh tattoos are open wounds, and after the tattoo session, the artist will cover your new tattoo. Every artist has a different preference for what they use. Some still use the old school plastic Saran Wrap crap made for sandwiches.
Try to avoid using this food cellophane wrap on new ink. Fresh tattoos should be wrapped with a sterile bandage. The best options are medical-grade adhesive bandages and protective tattoo films like Saniderm or Dermalize. Wrapping a fresh tattoo is essential to help the initial healing while providing protection from environmental contaminants like dirt, germs or anything else that should not go near an open wound.
After the wrap has been on for a few hours, you will start to see blood and plasma underneath. Once this happens, it’s time to remove the wrap, as this can block your skin pores from breathing. This can ruin your new tattoo before the first day is over.
And trust me, I’ve ruined two tattoos by leaving the wrap on too long as per the artist’s instructions. The bandage or wrap should stay on no longer than 6-8 hours max. If using products like Saniderm or Dermalize, you can always remove it, clean the tattoo and apply a new layer.
- Tattoo Infections As discussed above, the post-procedure wrapping helps protect your skin from getting infected;
- Once unwrapped, keep your skin clean and follow proper tattoo aftercare instructions;
- This will ensure your new tattoo heals without getting infected;
During tattoo healing, avoid touching your ink unless washing or applying aftercare. It’s very easy to transfer dirt and germs onto your fresh tattoo (open wound) from dirty hands. Sleeping with a fresh tattoo Getting a goods night’s sleep can be awkward during the tattoo healing process.
Even more awkward is the size and location of your new tattoo. Try to avoid laying on the tattoo, and or having it covered under the sheets or blankets. Covering a fresh tattoo under blankets or sheets can cause a risk of infection.
The bed is a great place for hidden germs that you do not want to get into an open wound. The same as above, your skin needs to breathe, so not covering up under the sheets helps. Then there’s the issue of laying on the tattoo. You risk having the tattoo stick to the bed or pick up dirt and germs.
- You can always lay down a clean towel on the bed if you need to;
- Another option for sleeping is applying a breathable medical wrap like Saniderm;
- Make sure to remove it as soon as you wake up so that there’s not too much blood and plasma accumulation;
Cleaning and excess water exposure Keeping a fresh tattoo clean goes without question. So never submerge a fresh tattoo underwater. Also, avoid excessive water exposure while showering. Our skin is like a sponge and it will absorb the water, which can damage the tattoo.
- When it comes to cleaning your new tattoo, make sure you do this several times a day;
- You can read our 17 Best Tips To Heal New Tattoos here;
- Picking or scratching itchy or peeling skin During the tattoo healing stages, some people experience itchy and scabby skin;
The reason for this to happen is part of your skin’s healing process. But whatever you do, resist the urge to pick or peel your skin as this can damage the color and lines of your new tattoo. To avoid or end any itchy peeling skin during tattoo healing, always use a good aftercare product.
- Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized several times throughout the day;
- Don’t let your tattoo get dry, and only apply a thin layer of tattoo aftercare after every cleaning;
- Now, in regards to peeling and itchy skin, I have never suffered from this;
I followed the above directions and none of my 21 tattoos have ever peeled or got itchy. Excessive sun exposure Excessive sun exposure is a fast way to ruin a new tattoo. Be aware of any direct sun exposure on your fresh ink. If you must be outside, always keep your tattoo covered, for at least the first 40 days.
Cover Up with clothing or try to stay out of the sun. Never apply any sunscreen on a fresh tattoo. Some of these products have ingredients that are not good for your fresh ink during healing. A list of nasty skincare ingredients will be for another blog.
After your new tattoo has healed, make sure to keep it protected with quality sunscreen product if going outside. Excessive direct UVA/UVB sun exposure accelerates skin aging, which causes tattoo fading.
What should you not do after a tattoo?
Can you leave a new tattoo uncovered?
Wrap Healing Tattoos – Less conventional than traditional dry healing, wrap healing is most often recommended for larger tattoos. Leave your bandage on for at least three hours but no longer than 12. Clean your tattoo with mild antibacterial soap and water.
- Air dry the new tattoo for 15 minutes minimum, making sure it’s completely dry;
- Wrap up the tattoo with a plastic wrap;
- Do not use any moisturizer, ointment or lotion;
- Wash your new tattoo every four to six hours;
Sweat is your enemy, and it’s hard not to sweat when you are wrapped like a microwaved baked potato. After washing, pat dry with a very clean cloth, then rewrap with fresh plastic. That’s the drill for at least three days, and up to five days. Your new tattoo will start to peel within those three to five days, flaking like a sunburn.
- That’s when you know to stop wrapping;
- Treat the dry and itchy skin with a no-additive moisturizer, and no scratching! Your skin texture will return to normal as your tattoo heals;
- Moisture rashes happen when there is too much moisture left on skin that’s wrapped;
Ingrown hairs can also be uncomfortable during healing. The most important things with either healing method is to keep it clean, be consistent, and don’t be shy about contacting your tattoo artist with any questions. It’s a guarantee that however weird your question seems to you, someone has asked something weirder.
So how the effing bleep do you decide which healing method is better for you or a particular tattoo? Well, unlike the multiple choice quiz above, it’s not always a simple answer. No matter how few or many tattoos you already have, there are a lot of variables: your skin condition in general, what your immune system is up to at the moment, your age, how much melanin you naturally have, the location of the new tattoo, your daily activity and routines.
The best answer is that your new tattoo is a collaboration. Work closely with your artist (it doesn’t get too much closer than permanently transforming your skin, now does it?) to achieve the best possible design, placement, execution and healing. You may start one healing method and need to switch. With a plan for proper healing, there’s no reason your new tattoo can’t last at least that long! Available at INKEDSHOP. COM: Ultimate Tattoo Care by H2Ocean.
Can I drink 2 days after getting a tattoo?
Drinking before or after – That drink beforehand is not smart. Bruno Vincent/Getty Images If you’re thinking about downing some liquid courage before taking the plunge, think again. Drinking before and after getting a tattoo is a no-no. Alcohol thins your blood, which means excess bleeding. When you bleed more than normal, it can cause visibility issues for the artist, potentially compromising the quality of the design.
Excess bleeding can also thin the ink. Of course, there’s also the fact that alcohol impairs judgment, and you don’t want to make permanent decisions while impaired. And it’s not cute if you have to stop and puke in the middle of a four-hour tattoo session.
Furthermore, drinking after the fact can compromise the healing of the tattoo because of its effects on your blood, so take it easy for a bit.
Why do you cover tattoos with plastic wrap?
Why You Should Never Use Saran Wrap on Tattoos – A plastic wrap creates an occlusive seal, meaning that no air gets in and no air gets out. The idea is that this keeps all of the body fluids pooling on the skin surface. That surface may build up body temperatures, potentially creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
Essentially, your new tattoo may turn into a petri-dish for bacterial growth (yuck). “It is not advised for people to use saran wrap due to it not offering long-term protection, or more so, complete protection from water or bacteria that could get underneath the wrap and cause infections,” says Miguel.
“Saran wrap is for food. Tattoos are an open wound and need to be taken care of with medical level bandages,” says Burak. It’s not only gross and dangerous, but it might be illegal. State tattoo regulations, such as in Hawaii, specifically state the appropriate type of dressing to use.
- Hawaii Department of Health Regulation 11-17-10-H mandates “the entire area [be] covered with a piece of sterile dressing, which may, in turn, be covered with a piece of tissue, and [fastened] to the site with an approved type of adhesive;
” It’s even one of the questions on a tattoo artist’s licensing test. Not only is the use of plastic wrap potentially risky, but it is an offense to a client who deserves a better start with their new tattoo. The use of plastic wrap is forbidden in many quality tattoo conventions.
How do you sleep with a fresh tattoo?
Can you sleep on a new tattoo? – In an ideal world, you would be able to sleep and not have to worry about the tattoo. Actually, tattoos are effectively open wounds. This means that you need to take some precautions. Going days without sleep isn’t an option.
- People have different techniques;
- If you can, you should try to avoid sleeping directly on the tattoo;
- For instance, if you have a tattoo on your back, try to sleep on your front and let the tattoo breathe;
A lot of tattoo artists recommend sleeping with the wrap that was put on. Others recommend re-wrapping, or just applying healing ointment and keeping the tattoo clean. The important thing is avoiding infection.
What is tattoo etiquette?
Let the artist take lead on the design Most tattoo artists are in fact artists. They want to tattoo you with their own art. This isn’t just a creative preference. Tattooers generally have perfected a certain style (or styles). Their best designs and their best execution will be in this style(s). They want to be confident and and proud of your tattoo.
- Don’t send them a picture of another artist’s work and say “I want this tattoo”.
- Don’t be surprised if the artist does not want to tattoo in a style that is not their own.
- Do share reference images for the subject matter you like.
- Do share reference images from the artist’s own portfolio and say “I like the style you used here. “
Be as specific as you need to be. Not more or less. Artists love it when you give them creative freedom but don’t do it unless you really do want them to make all creative decisions. If you have something specific in mind, tell them.
- Don’t tell the artist “you have complete freedom” and then come to the shop and make a lot of corrections.
- Do tell the artist any specifics you have in mind before they work on the design!
New tattoos are always a better option than “adding on” to, or modifying an existing tattoos. Most artists would rather not work with another artist’s tattoo. It adds constraints to their design potential and it forces them to either: (a) Vandalize an existing, nice tattoo or (b) Have their work seen alongside an existing ugly tattoo. Either way, this won’t be a portfolio piece and won’t get the best work from the artist.
That’s not possible if you give excessive direction or if you force the artist outside of their core styles. Also, remember that good artists won’t copy another artist’s design so don’t ask. Consider: do you really need your existing tattoo to keep growing and becoming more and more of a Frankenstein’s Monster? Or can you offer new real estate to each artist? Cover-ups are a different story.
If you need a cover-up, you need a coverup. Not all artists are technically capable of good cover-ups and not all artists like to do them because of the additional constraint but it’s always worth asking.
- Don’t think of your tattoo as a house you are continually remodelling.
- Do think of tattoos more like paintings you are commissioning. Give the artist a clean canvas.
- Do consider going back to the same artist for modifying or touching up an existing tattoo.
Don’t design by committee There’s nothing worse than customers who bring an opinionated friend or loved one to “help” them with design decisions. You hired the artist to help you with design. Adding a third party can complicate the already-delicate balance of artist/client in the design process. The more opinions you solicit, the harder and more confusing the process will be. Only you know what you want and the artist can help you.
- Don’t bring a friend or spouse to speak for you.
- Don’t text photos of the design to friends asking for their opinion.
- Do tell your opinionated friends to quiet down if they become too involved in your tattoo design process.
Limit your party to yourself + 1 max Speaking of bringing others with you… consider visiting the shop alone for your appointment. Most shops are limited in their space and cannot accommodate your friends. Not only that, your friends might think it sounds fun to be at the shop while you get tattooed, but it’s not. Your friends will be bored.
- Don’t bring extra people with you to be tattooed without asking the shop first. Most shops don’t want your friends sleeping in the waiting area while you get tattooed.
- Do limit your party to just you or one other if you must and encourage your friends to go do something while you get tattooed so they don’t sleep in the waiting area.
Let the artist concentrate while you get tattooed Even the most experienced artists need to limit stressors during their tattooing. Tattooing requires intense concentration. Some artists love to gab while tattooing but others prefer to be quiet. Let the artist take the lead or ask them what they prefer.
- Do bring a book to read or movie to watch provided you can do it without moving.
- Do let your artist take the lead on whether or not to talk.
- Don’t stare at the tattoo while your artist is working. This is stressful.
- Don’t talk too much unless your artit is the chatty one.
Sit still! For obvious reasons, you never want to move while there is a tattoo needle inking your skin. If you might have trouble with pain, consider a numbing cream in advance of getting tattooed (ask your artist first). If you’re jumpy, you’re wasting tattooing time and risking mistakes. Generally though, you’re stressing out the artist which can mean not getting their best work.
- Don’t move unexpectedly.
- Don’t talk if you’re getting your ribs tattooed.
- Do let the artist know if you need to move or stretch.
- Do let the artist know If you think the furniture can be adjusted to be more comfortable.
- Do consider topical numbing cream in advance of your tattoo if you’re worried about tolerating the pain (ask the artist first though)
Tipping It is customary to tip tattoo artists just like (in the US) it is customary to tip restaurant wait staff. Because it’s customary, not tipping is seen as a sign of being dissatisfied with your tattoo.
- Do expect to tip when budgeting for your tattoo.
- Do tip the artist directly and in cash.
- Do tip big (e. 20%+) if you love your tattoo.
- Do talk to your artist whenever you feel something isn’t being handled well (consultation, design, etc). A small tip (or no tip) shouldn’t be the only sign that you are dissatisfied.
Aftercare There are many different aftercare procedures out there. Always follow the artist’s own aftercare instructions because you and the artist are both responsible for the quality of your tattoo.
- Do make sure to get precise instructions for aftercare from your artist.
- Do feel OK to ask questions during the healing process if something seems wrong.
- Do a little research about healing tattoos to know what’s normal. Scabbing is normal. Ink on the bandage is normal. Looking faded in the first couple of weeks is normal.
Touch-ups Most tattoos will not need touching up — at least for many years. However, sometimes ink does fall out or fade. This can happen for many reasons. The artist’s tattoo technique matters but it’s just half the story. Healing/fading is also affected by aftercare, your biology, the placement on the body (bendy parts like wrists, elbows, fingers, etc will fade more and faster).
- Do wait 30 days before even considering a touch-up. Tattoos can look less-than-perfect while healing and need 30 days to be completely healed.
- Do take good care of your tattoo following artist instructions and avoiding any strong sun exposure, rubbing, or soaking of the tattoo area while it’s healing.
- Don’t expect the tattoo ink to look as vibrant as it did the day of your tattoo. Tattoo ink sits under the top layer of skin so, once healed, you’ll be looking at the ink through the top layer of skin.
- Don’t be confrontational with the artist about your touch-up. Your artist cares as much as you do about the tattoo looking great so there’s no reason to take an aggressive posture if you have concerns about your tattoo.
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).
How do tattoos heal in a week?
Should I leave my tattoo bandage on overnight?
TEGADERM METHOD – Some of our artists will provide you with a Tegaderm (also known as Saniderm or Tattooderm) bandage. This method of healing is a little different, so it’s important to follow these steps. Tegaderm is a sterile, breathable, waterproof, germ-proof barrier to protect your new tattoo.
- Tegaderm will protect your tattoo from contamination and will also protect your clothes and sheets from excess ink, blood and fluid that are the normal by-products of healing a tattoo;
- You can shower normally while healing, but please still abstain from swimming or submerging your tattoo in bodies of water;
Your artist will bandage your new tattoo with Tegaderm. He will provide you with a second bandage. Leave the original bandage on overnight. Remove your bandage slowly and carefully the next morning. Discard this Tegaderm. Wash your tattoo with warm water and liquid soap.
Should I keep my tattoo wrapped?
How Long Should a New Tattoo Be Wrapped For? – This is where many people start to get confused, and this confusion is mainly caused by the fact that there are so many different opinions with regard to the most optimal time in which to keep a tattoo wrapped up for.
What may help to alleviate some of this confusion is to understand the rationale behind the wrapping. As already mentioned, the main goal of having your new ink wrapped and covered is to help keep harmful germs and bacteria out of your new open wound.
These germs are can pose a serious risk; not only to your tattoo, but also your general health by causing unwanted infections. Generally speaking, the wrap is there to keep your ink germ-free, up until the point where you’re able to clean the area yourself.
Once you’re home from the studio, there’s no reason why you cannot remove the wrapping as long as you’re able to give the tattoo a good clean in soapy, lukewarm water straight away, before using a suitable healing/moisturizing lotion on the area.
This initial wash not only helps to keep the area clean, but also assists in the removal of any blood or plasma that may have dried and stuck onto the skin since the wrap was first applied. The moisturizing cream then helps to soothe, hydrate and nourish the area to promote healing.
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. However – it is generally advisable to wait for at least a couple of hours after leaving the studio before taking the wrapping off.
- This is just to let the area settle down a bit, and to allow some of the blood around the tattoo to disperse (which may also help to slightly reduce swelling and tenderness, so that the cleaning process isn’t unbearably sore or painful);
Another reason for the wrapping is to help prevent direct contact between anything that you may accidentally rub up against or knock into – especially if the tattoo is on a very exposed area of your body, such as on the forearm, shoulder or foot. These knocks and bumps can not only be painful, but they can also aid in the transfer of germs and bacteria to the area if you come into contact with anything unsanitary.
- Finally, some people prefer to sleep in their wrapping for the first night , and some artists recommend this too;
- This is especially true if the tattoo is in an area that is highly likely to come into contact with your bedsheets, which can expose the area to bacteria and can also cause the sheets to become stuck to the skin due to the drying/hardening of leaked blood and plasma;
At the end of the day, you should trust the advice that your own specific tattoo artist gives you, as they know you and your tattoo better than anybody else. If your artist tells you that you can remove your wrapping in an hour, then go ahead. Alternatively, if your artist suggests that you keep it on until the next day, then I would suggest taking their professional opinion as long as they’re a reputable and experienced artist. .
Can I wash my tattoo after 48 hours?
You Can Shower After Getting a Tattoo, But Remember to Use Mild Soap – When it comes to showering after a new tattoo , it’s best to ask your tattoo artist when you can lather up. Their answer will depend on the type of bandage they use to seal their work before sending you off.
“Depending on what type of bandage you receive determines when you can shower,” Metz-Caporusso tells Bustle. “If you get Saniderm or Tegiderm, then you can shower immediately. This type of covering is waterproof.
If you get a classic bandage or cling wrap, then you must wait anywhere from two to 12 hours, depending on what your artist recommends. After you take that off, you can shower anytime. ” But it’s important to use a mild, fragrance-free soap when you do shower or wash your new ink.
- Think classic Dial soap or anything anti-bacterial and gentle;
- After a gentle washing, Brooklyn-based tattoo artist John O’Hara recommends applying Aquaphor to hydrate the skin and create a barrier to prevent infection;
“The key is to apply a very thin layer, let the skin absorb the Aquaphor for about 10-15 seconds, and blot off the excess with a sanitary paper towel,” O’Hara tells Bustle. “This will give you the right amount.