1. Style
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Tattoo Aftercare: How to Take Care of Your New Tattoo

By

Tattoo Aftercare: How to Take Care of Your New Tattoo

Tattoo aftercare keeps your ink vibrant.

CC Image Courtesy wanderingone@Flickr
You got inked, now don't forget your tattoo aftercare.

Body art is an amazing feeling. It’s transformative and not in the least the same for everyone. Some people love to brag about their new tats, showing off their design before it has a chance to heal.

Color fades, designs bleed and scabs take over what could have been a colorful and beautiful ink job. Yeah, don’t be that guy. You can be the guy that gets the tattoo, just not the one that forgets to care for it.

Get inked. Go home. Take care of your body like the temple it is.

Difficulty: Average
Time Required: N/A

Here's How:

  1. Apply antibiotic: Shame on your artist if she sends you home without first applying an antibiotic ointment. But, should you find yourself roaming the pharmacy aisle in the wee hours of the night after a fresh tattoo job, pick up a tube of Bacitracin to help ward off infection and prevent fading as much as possible. You can also go old school and opt for petroleum jelly. Some artists favor that.
  2. Wrap it: People forget tattoos are wounds. It’s not normal to be poked by needles. Treat your fresh tattoo with the same diligence as any other raw skin injury. A gauze bandage will comfort your skin and should be worn for two hours minimum after your tattoo. Stop peeking and allow your tattoo this time undercover to heal and prevent air-borne bacteria from entering the open skin.
  3. Keep it clean: Now’s the time to nurture your fresh tattoo with a warm sponge bath. Use an anti-bacterial soap and wash gently 3-4 times per day for the first three days. Be careful with your tender skin and do not scrub, rather splash water and soap onto the affected area.
  4. Pat dry: Pat your skin dry with a washcloth or a soft, non-abrasive paper towel. Don’t slack off here. Especially if your tattoo is placed in a dark and warm area where moisture and bacteria thrive. This all effects the end result of your color job, so be diligent and take the time to care for your new skin and tattoo.
  5. Keep it moist: Tattoos need moisture to prevent fading, so lube up. Lubriderm, Eucerin, Tattoo Goo; whatever you choose, keep your tattoo moist as it heals. Apply lotion daily and it will keep scabs at bay and help retain your vibrant color. Consider it money and time well spent and be sure to apply reguarly during the initial healing stages after your tattoo.
  6. Sun protection: Tattoos will lighten. Apply SPF30 liberally every time you venture outdoors. Even on cloudy days when the ultraviolet rays are actually more intense. Some tattoo fading is inevitable, but you can certainly do your best to keep your investment bright and vivid.

Tips:

  1. Slight scabbing is normal; excessive scabbing is not. Try not to pick your scabs. They will itch, but eventually they will heal and reveal the beauty of your new tattoo. Keep scabs clean and you’ll see the light soon. If you need tattoo advice, go back to your artist. They can help.
  2. Allergic reactions may occur. If you experience a rash, hives, scabs that won’t heal, excessive bleeding, foul smelling discharge, fever, chills or have trouble breathing, seek medical attention promptly.

What You Need

  • Antibacterial ointment
  • Lotion
  • Gauze pads
  • Clean towel
  • Sunblock SPF30

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.