What To Expect After Getting A Tattoo?
The Final Takeaway – The tattoo healing process is fairly straightforward. Swelling, pain, and oozing typically resolve by day three and are followed by itching and peeling for another week, in our experts’ experience. Your tattoo may even look darker and duller than expected for the first month. FAQ
- Should I cover my new tattoo at night? The first night with your fresh ink, you might want to wrap the area in plastic. (But consult with your tattoo artist for their advice on the matter. ) After that, you want to make sure the tattoo is getting as much air as possible, free of coverage.
- Can I wear clothes over a new tattoo? You can definitely wear clothes over your new tattoo (depending on where you’ve been inked, you might have to). Just make sure to opt for loose, natural fabrics like cotton, and avoid tight clothing that could rub against the tattoo.
- When can I touch my tattoo? Be sure to ask your tattoo artist for their specific instructions, but in general, your tattoo should stay under the initial bandages for a least a few hours. During the healing process, you should try to only touch your tattoo when cleaning it—and when cleaning it, make sure you’ve washed up first. “The most important step would be to clean your hands before you clean your tattoos,” says tattoo artist Tuki Carter. ”
- 1 How long should you rest after getting a tattoo?
- 2 Do and don’ts after tattoo?
- 3 How should a tattoo feel after 2 days?
- 4 How can I speed up my tattoo healing?
What should you not do after a tattoo?
How long should you rest after getting a tattoo?
How long do you have to wait? After finishing your tattoo, your tattoo artist will most likely suggest that you wait at least 48 hours before strenuous physical activity and heavy sweating. The important words are ‘at least. ‘ It generally takes 4 to 6 weeks for a wound to heal.
Do and don’ts after tattoo?
How do I know if my tattoo is healing properly?
Is it OK to wear clothes over a new tattoo?
So, What Kind Of Clothes Should I Wear Over a New Tattoo? – After getting a tattoo, and during the healing process, which can last between 2 weeks and a month in its initial and most important stage, you should be wearing loose-fitting clothes. That is of course if the tattoo is placed on your body apart from the neck, head, and feet.
For those areas, you need to pay special attention, especially in the case of feet tattoo (the issues of wearing socks and shoes). Loose clothes will cover the tattoo so much so that it stays protected. There is a lower chance the fabric will stick to the tattoo and introduce contaminants as well.
There will be minimal or rubbing of the fabrics against the tattoo, which will significantly minimize healing issues or the chance of an infection. Note: After getting a new tattoo, it will be wrapped and well protected. You can wear loose clothes over the wrap and not really worry about it.
How do I take care of my tattoo the first 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.
How should a tattoo feel after 2 days?
Traditional Tattoo Healing Method – Directly Following Your Tattoo Appointment The tattoo healing process starts as soon as you walk out of the tattoo studio. Your tattoo artist should cover your tattoo with some type of wrap (cling wrap, medical pads, etc.
) to protect it on your way home. “This usually stays on for approximately 2 hours,” says Caldwell. “It will trap any of the blood and plasma (clear fluid) that leaks out immediately after being tattooed.
This bandage also protects your new tattoo from the outside elements and keeps the blood from clotting to form a scab. ” Your tattoo artist will cover your tattoo with a temporary bandage or plastic wrap. After removing the covering placed on your tattoo by your artist, you should carefully wash the tattoo with warm, soapy water using an unscented, antibacterial soap. Do not use any type of washcloth or loofah—simply clean it with your hands to remove any plasma and ink from your skin.
- “You want to make sure you always pat dry with clean paper towels and then apply a thin layer of ointment,” says Caldwell;
- Try to wear loose-fitting clothing to bed, since your tattoo will likely continue to leak overnight;
Days 1-3: Oozing and Sore During the first few days, your tattoo is still an open wound and will be sore, painful, and warm to the touch. The skin around your tattoo might also appear slightly red and swollen. During the first days of tattoo healing your tattoo will continue to release plasma, blood, and ink—this is completely normal.
- Plasma, which is a clear liquid, makes up the largest part of your blood ( 55 percent ) and it’s release is part of your skin’s natural healing process;
- It’s important to keep your tattoo as clean as possible during this time;
Follow the same cleaning instructions (wash with soapy water, pat dry, apply a thin layer of ointment) as the night before. “Wash your new tattoo at least two times a day—when you wake up and before bed,” says Caldwell. If the tattoo is really leaky, you can add one more wash to the rotation to remove excess goop. Wash your new tattoo carefully in the shower using fragrance-free soap. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer or aftercare ointment after your tattoo is fully dry to help minimize scabbing. “The moisturizer/ointment is crucial to keeping your tattoo from forming a scab,” says Caldwell. “The softening of the skin prevents this. ” Follow your artist’s aftercare instructions carefully.
All tattoo artists recommend different aftercare products and have their own tattoo healing methods. Trust and listen to your artist. Days 3-7: Dry, Tight, and Starting to Flake After the third or fourth day following your tattoo appointment, your tattoo will begin to dry out.
It may feel tight. Swelling should start to subside, though your skin might still feel warm and uncomfortable. By the end of the first week, you will likely see your tattoo flaking. This is also a normal part of the tattoo healing process. What tattoo flaking looks like. “Flaking is simply your body shedding its outermost layer of skin,” says Erin Belley , an artist who works at the Parkdale location of Boss Tattoos Collective in Calgary, Alberta. “But this time, the skin had been damaged and filled with ink, so it comes off in larger flakes and full of color.
” If you see your tattoo flaking, don’t be alarmed. This is not a sign that ink is being removed from the skin. Just make sure you let your tattoo flake naturally. “As long as you’re not picking at it, scrubbing it, or peeling the flaky skin off, you should be fine,” adds Caldwell.
Days 7-14: More Flaking, Scabbing, and Itching During the second week of tattoo healing, your tattoo will continue to flake, and you may start to see scabs forming over some areas of the tattoo. While trying to prevent scabbing is recommended, tattoo scabbing is not uncommon.
“I would consider scabbing normal, but not ideal in tattoo healing,” says Belley. “Scabbing is what happens when the plasma is not efficiently cleaned off of the tattoo after your body is finished producing it (usually between 24-48 hours) and it evaporates and dries.
” Caldwell explains that scabbing may also happen if you apply too much moisturizer or ointment to your tattoo or if a particular part your skin was overworked during your session. Do not pick at the scabs on your tattoo. Continue to wash and lightly moisturize your tattoo as instructed by your artist.
During this time, you may also experience the dreaded tattoo itch. Some may experience a mild itch, while others will experience an intense itch. Your skin will be dry and flakey as it heals, so some level of itchiness is to be expected.
Some clients may also have a slight allergic reaction to some inks, which may cause an itchy feeling. Although it may take every ounce of willpower, do not scratch your new tattoo. Not only could this affect how it looks, but you can also cause infection or irritation.
- Eventually, the itch should subside;
- Days 15-30: Slightly Dry and Dull Most tattoos will finish flaking and essentially be healed around the 2-week mark;
- But it still may take a couple of weeks for your tattoo to fully settle in;
During this time, your tattoo may look a little dull or faded. This is normal and once the tattoo is fully healed and settled in, its brightness will return. You may also feel slightly raised portions of your tattoo during this stage, but this should eventually disappear.
How do you shower with a new tattoo?
– Yep. It’s fine if your tattoo gets a little wet, but it shouldn’t be submerged in water or left under running water for long periods of time. Keep time in the shower to a minimum, and be gentle to avoid irritating your newly tattooed skin. This means skipping the loofah or washcloth — at least over the inked area, anyway.
Getting your rub-a-dub on elsewhere is totally fine. In addition to being abrasive on freshly inked skin, loofahs, sponges, and washcloths can harbor bacteria and increase your chance of an infection. Wash the area gently using only a mild, fragrance-free soap.
Products with alcohol and certain chemicals can irritate and dry out the skin. This can lead to scarring and slower healing. If you have strong water pressure, try not to focus the spray directly on the inked area. Standing under a shower and letting the water run over you or using your clean hands to rinse the tattoo is fine as long as you don’t linger longer than you need to.
How can I speed up my tattoo healing?
How do you sleep with a new 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 soothes a tattoo?
- Listen to your artist ! They’ll cover your tattoo with a sterile absorbing pad and bandage after your session, then give you instructions on how to uncover and clean your piece at home. Some adhesives may cause irritation, so be sure to disclose any allergies with your artists.
- Wash your tattoo with a mild antibacterial soap. Some soaps, like Hush Foam Soap + CBD , are specifically designed for tattoo aftercare.
- Dry your tattoo with a fresh towel paper towel or (ANTI-MICROBIAL WASHCLOTHS FOR TATTOOS)
- Apply an anti-inflammatory balm to reduce swelling and redness. Pain-relieving gels and creams may provide additional comfort.
- Use topical anesthetic spray on new tattoos to reduce excessive pain.
- Keep your tattoo exposed as much as possible for quicker healing.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing, if possible, to prevent the fabric from pressing against your tattoo.
- Wear your tattoo with pride.
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 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.
Why is my tattoo fading after 3 days?
This is a bit of a trick question. The reason being, is that a tattoo “fades” to the naked eye within days of application. This occurs because as the skin heals, the top layer dies and new skin forms to take its place. During this period the epidermis typically has a faded appearance. However, this is a natural part of the tattoo healing process and as the peeling subsides and the dead skin falls away the design will once again look crisp and fresh.
Still, it won’t have that same deep dark tone as it did when your tattooist put his/her gun away. Anyone who has received a tattoo already knows this. But what you want to know now, is when can you expect a tattoo to fade in the longer term.
Let’s have a look.
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 shower after a tattoo?
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.
Can I drink alcohol after 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.