Tattoo Aftercare: Day by Day Guide
Whether you just got your first tat or are adding a new one to your collection, properly caring for your tattoo after leaving the studio will ensure it looks just the way you envisioned it for years to come. Below, we cover everything you need to know about tattoo aftercare day by day for the first week and beyond, ensuring a healthy and comfortable healing process.
Tattoo Aftercare: Day by Day
After getting your ink at our Orlando tattoo shop, listen to your tattoo artist about properly caring for your tattoo in the days to come. Our expert artists will provide detailed information about properly caring for your specific tattoo once you leave the studio.
Your artist will place a sterile bandage over your new tattoo. Keep the dressing on for about 2 hours. Before removing it, wash your hands thoroughly. Then, cleanse the tattooed area with mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water (hot water may cause the ink to bleed). Don't scrub or rub the area, as this can cause more irritation. Instead, gently massage it with soap and water, pat dry with a paper towel, and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Once the tattoo is completely dry, apply an aftercare product. We recommend using products specifically designed for tattoo care, as they contain ingredients like cocoa butter that will help hydrate your tattoo while avoiding irritants like heavy-chemical fragrances. Our Fine Ink Studios Aftercare Package includes specially formulated anti-bacterial soap and aftercare lotion, so you don't need to worry about irritating your skin.
There's no need to rebandage your tattoo after this initial cleaning. In fact, it's best for your tattoo to breathe and allow your body's natural healing processes to kick in. After the first day, the tattooed area may appear red, swollen, or even bleed a little. This is completely normal. However, you should call your physician if you have a fever of over 101 degrees within a day after getting your tattoo.
How many days should you wait to shower after getting a tattoo?
It's okay to shower about 4 hours after getting your tattoo. However, you should avoid taking a bath and directly submerging it in water for about 4 weeks.
Days 2 - 5
You should treat your new tattoo like an open wound that needs healing. Just like any cut or scrape, you will want to keep the area clean and avoid exposing it to harsh chemicals, dirt, bacteria, or germs. Apply aftercare lotion in a light layer 3 to 4 times a day, cleansing the area with soap and water before each application. The goal is to keep the tattooed area shiny and hydrated without caking on lotion.
You may notice some blood, clear plasma, or ink rising to the surface for the first few days. This is your body recognizing the tattoo and is a normal part of the healing process. You may want to sleep on old sheets to avoid staining and wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent irritation.
Scabs may start to form on the surface of the tattoo. This is a vital part of the healing process. Scabs protect your body against germs and bacteria, allowing new skin cells to form underneath the tattoo. Do not pick at the scabs. They should heal and flake off on their own.
How should a tattoo look after 3 days?
Peeling like a sunburn may occur about 3 to 5 days after getting your tattoo. Your tattoo may also begin to itch. It's important to avoid picking at scabs or scratching the area.
What do you put on your tattoo after 4 days?
Continue your aftercare routine by gently cleaning the tattooed area and applying a thin layer of aftercare lotion 3 to 4 times a day.
Days 6 - 10
About a week after getting your tattoo, itching may reach its peak. Keep applying your aftercare lotion to soothe the area and avoid the urge to scratch it. Itching can last between 1 and 2 weeks after getting a tattoo. Although infections are rare, you'll want to watch for signs of swelling, excessive bleeding, skin that feels hot to the touch, or fever. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek medical care immediately.
We've now covered tattoo aftercare day by day for the first week. What happens next? Continue to cleanse the area with soap and water and apply aftercare lotion. The tattooed area will scab up. Then, the scabs should naturally flake off. Once the scabs have disappeared and the dead skin has fallen off, the tattoo is completely healed. Most tattoos take about 2 weeks to heal fully. However, healing time varies from person to person. Recovery time also depends on the intricacy of the tattoo design and where it's located.
What Should You Not Do After Getting a Tattoo?
There are several things you should avoid doing after getting a tattoo:
Using harsh aftercare products on the tattoo, like Vaseline, petroleum jelly, or A&D ointment.
Applying chemicals on the tattoo, such as hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or alcohol-based products.
Going swimming for 4 to 6 weeks.
Submerging your tattoo in water for 5 to 6 weeks (such as taking a bubble bath).
Exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight and UV rays for 2 to 3 weeks.
Wearing tight-fitting clothing on top of your tattoo.
Shaving the area around the tattoo.