Now you have a fresh tattoo and you want to take good care of it.

Below are easy-to-follow instructions to make your tattoo healing a breeze.

First Steps on how to care for your new tattoo

Your new tattoo has been bandaged either with a general bandage or a Saniderm covering. If it is a general bandage, you should remove it within 1-2 hours. Or you can wait until you are able to properly clean it with mild unscented soap. Then do not replace it. If it is a Saniderm bandage, please skip to the SANIDERM TATTOO AFTERCARE INSTRUCTION below.

How to wash your new tattoo

Before washing your tattoo, wash your hands with antibacterial soap. Wash your tattoo gently with your clean hands. DO NOT use a washcloth. Rinse it with clean water, then pat it dry with a clean paper towel and let the tattoo completely air dry before applying ointment.

tattoo aftercare How to Apply Ointment to your new tattoo

You should be applying aftercare ointment regularly (3-5 times) throughout the day after washing your tattoo. We DO NOT recommend using any ointment that is petroleum based such as A&D or Bacitracin. Due to the fact that research has found these will impede the tattoo healing process. Instead, we highly recommend using non-petroleum-based tattoo aftercare such as Redemption, Hustle Butter, or Tattoo Goo. If you are unsure what to use, contact your artist. DO NOT take advice from a friend.

We recommend applying the ointment VERY thin. Then rub it in like you would hand lotion. Just enough to keep the tattoo moist but NOT smothered. The tattoo should look slightly shiny when applied correctly. Blot off any extra with a clean paper towel. There should not be a heavy layer of ointment on your tattoo.

What to expect the first few days with your new tattoo

For the first few days, your tattoo will require more cleaning as it loses more fluids which is normal. Expect to wash your tattoo 3-5 times throughout the day, allow it to completely dry, then reapply the ointment as directed above. The frequency of cleaning is based on your lifestyle so use your best judgment. Just don’t overdo it.

Should You Shower with a new tattoo?

Yes, you should shower with a new tattoo. It’s ok the get the tattoo wet, so long as you do not soak or submerge it. Submerging your tattoo in a body of water (bathtub, hot tub, lake, ocean, pool, etc) can cause serious damage. Please avoid these for at least 3 weeks. Running shower water is fine as long as you do not saturate your tattoo.

How long do you actively care for your tattoo?

You should plan to care for your new tattoo for your entire healing time. After 3-5 days your tattoo will begin to peel and flake like a sunburn. At this point, it can become dry and itchy. DO NOT scratch it. Continue to apply the tattoo aftercare for another 3-7 days until the tattoo no longer flakes.

What thing to look out for with your new tattoo

LOOK OUT for any rash or bubbling of your tattoo. This can be caused by moisture (usually too much ointment) getting trapped in your tattoo and can lead to scabbing. If scabs do develop, they can remove the color underneath them. It is important to allow any scabbing to dry out completely and fall off on its own. After this happens your tattoo should be fine.

Some people can develop a small allergic reaction to any type of ointment used. What this looks like is a red rash or small red bumps. This reaction will usually disappear once you stop using the ointment. A small percentage of people may develop a more serious reaction that may require medical attention. We suggest contacting your artist or a medical professional if this should occur.

Clothing and External things to be aware of with your new tattoo

If your environment is clean it is best to allow your tattoo to be open and exposed to the air. This will help it heal. Also, wearing clean loose-fitting clothing will be more comfortable on the tattoo and will allow it to breathe. Tighter-fitting clothing will rub on the tattoo and can cause irritation and should be avoided. Also, avoid exposure to pets and dusty or dirty areas to reduce the risk of infection.

What NOT To Do with your new tattoo

DO NOT expose your tattoo to the sun during the healing process. Once your tattoo is FULLY headed, we recommend using sunblock on your tattoo to prevent sun damage and fading.

DO NOT let other people poke, bump, or touch your healing tattoo.

DO NOT follow the care instructions of your friends or other people. If you have any questions, call your artist. They are professionals and can guide you through the healing process.

Once you leave the shop, the proper care of your tattoo is your responsibility. 

With these instructions and your own common sense, your tattoo will be fully healed in 5-6 weeks.

Enjoy your tattoo and take care of it, it’s forever!

And please contact your tattoo artists with any questions! 


Frequently Asked Questions


How long do I leave the bandage on?

The bandage should be removed, and not replaced, within 1 to 2 hours, or until you are able to properly clean it with mild, unscented soap and warm water in a clean environment.


How often should I wash it?

We recommend washing your tattoo 3-5 times throughout the day during the healing process.


Can I be in the Sun?

Do NOT expose your tattoo to the sun during the healing process.

Once your tattoo is completely healed, we highly recommend using a high number of SPF sunblock on your tattoo to prevent sun damage and possible fading to the tattoo.


Should I apply lotion?

You should apply your aftercare lubricant regularly (3-5 times) throughout the day, after washing your tattoo for the first 5-7 days. Then switch to a natural unscented lotion for the rest of your healing time.


Can I get my Tattoo Wet?

It’s OK to get your tattoo wet, just don’t soak or submerse it.

Swimming – whether it is in a pool, freshwater, or salt water – should be avoided for at least 3 weeks.


My tattoo is this normal?

This is normal. The area will become dry and itchy. DO NOT scratch it; continue to apply the tattoo aftercare for another 3-7 days until the tattoo no longer flakes. 

Saniderm Tattoo Aftercare Routine

1. You may have has excessive fluid buildup within the first day or two. In the first 24 hours, there may be a build-up of blood, ink, and/or plasma underneath the Saniderm. This is completely normal. You do not want to leave the build-up for more than one day. Remove Saniderm when there is build-up, clean and dry the tattooed area, and re-apply.

2. To remove Saniderm, find an edge of the bandage on the bottom end and pull it straight down. This will separate the Saniderm from your tissue, just like if you were pulling a Command Strip off the wall. The shower is the ideal place to remove Saniderm. Running water will help loosen the adhesive and relax the skin, making the removal much more comfortable. Dry removal of Saniderm may cause discomfort and added trauma to the skin.

3.  Discard the used bandage and wash the tattoo with a mild soap, preferably fragrance-free.

4.  Allow the tattoo to air dry or pat dry with a clean paper towel.

5.  If you develop an adverse reaction, discontinue use immediately. Though rare, redness of the skin around the adhesive area can occur, such as with most medical tapes, and will usually go away in a day or two. If you believe there is a more serious reaction we always recommend seeing a physician.

6.  Once you remove the Saniderm apply a thin layer of aftercare product to your tattoo. Use a thin layer of petroleum-free moisturizer to help the tattoo retain moisture and itch less. Hustle butter, or Tattoo goo, for example.

    Do Not reapply any more bandages after the scabbing/flaking phase of tattoo healing has begun. If you find yourself bandaged less during this phase, make sure you’re keeping the area thoroughly moisturized. If there is an adhesive residue left over on the skin, or the adhesive is not loosening enough with water, clean coconut oil and baby oil are helpful for removal.

Caring for Your New Tattoo After Removing Saniderm

Once the bandage has been removed, continue caring for the tattoo by washing and moisturizing as needed, until the tattoo is fully healed. The tattoo may appear to be fully healed on the surface once your Saniderm bandage comes off. However, deeper layers of skin will still be repairing for 2-4 months. We recommend a good moisturizing regimen for this entire period.

Wearing Saniderm While Showering, Swimming, and Exercising

Showering while wearing Saniderm is fine, but it’s best to keep the time spent in the shower to a minimum. Bathing, swimming, or fully submerging a tattoo dressed in Saniderm is strongly discouraged. Light exercise while wearing Saniderm is fine, but avoid activity that causes excessive sweating. Just as water will weaken the adhesion of the bandage, so will sweat and any other significant amount of fluid. Try to keep the bandage as clean and dry as possible until it’s time to remove it.

Please call if you have any questions or concerns while using Saniderm


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