The ultimate guide to tattoo aftercare.

Ultimate Tattoo Aftercare Guide: How to Care for New Tattoos

After you get your tattoo, you need to take proper care of it. This guide will cover everything you need to know about taking care of a fresh tattoo from start to finish.

Getting a tattoo is a rewarding experience. You have a fresh new piece of ink to be proud of. But, now that you have the tattoo, what do you do now?

Over the next few weeks, you need to make sure you’re proactively caring for your tattoo. It’s easier than you think, and you’re doing yourself a favor by taking the necessary steps to prevent infections and scarring.

Take a look at how you can take care of a tattoo with this tattoo aftercare guide.



Why Tattoo Aftercare is Important

Tattooing isn’t just a form of body art. It is more like a medical procedure involving sharp tools, needles, and colourful pigments being inserted underneath your skin.

They’re like artistic scars that do look beautiful but require an immense amount of care. Open wounds are highly vulnerable to infections and significant complications. It would be best to research how to care for a tattoo and the products to apply for full tattoo aftercare.

According to a study, 10% of people who get a tattoo suffers from infection due to no tattoo aftercare. Out of 300 people,10% complained about getting a reaction. 4% of cases had an infection, itching, and swelling for four months. The other 6% cases had scaly and irritated skin that prolonged even after four months.

Below are the reasons why tattoo aftercare is so essential.

Helps in Looking Fresh and New

Following a carefully crafted tattoo aftercare guide can help you retain the vibrancy and freshness of your tattoo. Although you want to show your newly made tattoo to the world, always remember that patience is a virtue.

Protecting your tattoo for the first few days is essential as scratching and exposure to hot water can fade its colour. Always keep the tattoo moisturised because dry skin can diminish the tattoo ink.

Prevents Infections

Tattoo aftercare helps in the prevention of infections. It is crucial to keep your skin clean and moisturised.

Aids in Quick Healing

Although the application of ointments aids in the quick healing of your tattoo. Do not leave any aftercare product on it for too long. Leaving a bandage, ointment, or sunscreen on the tattoo for too long can clog your skin and cause infection.



Tattoo Healing and Aftercare Timeline

Black and white traditional hand tattoo.

Everyone heals differently, but typically by 2-3 weeks, your tattoo should be completely healed with no redness, swelling, or scabbing.

If you notice any such issue after 15 days, it is recommended that you visit a dermatologist. The healing process also depends upon the size of the tattoo. Bigger tattoos take longer to heal compared to smaller ones.

Here is a brief day-to-day tattoo aftercare guide to help you.

Day 1

  • The tattoo artist will apply a bandage on your tattoo once it is done to make sure that no bacteria can contact the skin.
  • Always ask your artist about the time duration required to keep the bandage. The usual recommended duration is 2-3 hrs.
  • Once the bandage is removed, your skin would be red and swollen. A sticky fluid might come out of the tattoo. It’s just the plasma oozing out and nothing problematic.
  • Wash your skin with fragrance-free, anti-bacterial soap.
  • Always use lukewarm water for washing as hot water can irritate your tattoo.
  • Gently pat it dry and apply some petroleum jelly or anti-bacterial ointment.
  • Repeat this process twice a day.
  • Do not cover the tattoo with a bandage. Let it breathe.

Days 2 to 3

  • The next day your tattoo will look duller than day 1; this is normal.
  • You need to wash it twice a day and apply ointment.
  • It is normal if excessive ink oozes out from the tattoo while washing it.

Days 4 to 6

  • If the tattoo starts flaking or peeling off, do not worry. It is a part of the healing process.
  • The redness and swelling should be gone by now. If it is still present, contact your tattoo artist for advice.
  • Dryness of skin will form scabs, and they might irritate as well.
  • Keep on washing it twice a day.
  • Apply moisturiser on it to keep the skin well hydrated.

Days 6 to 14

  • The scab will get harder by now, and it will come off on its own.
  • Do not scratch or pull it off, as it can remove the tattoo’s ink and cause scarring.
  • Your skin requires more moisture now, so keep on applying moisturiser several times a day.

Days 15 to 30

  • It is the last phase of healing.
  • By now, the scabbing and dead skin should be gone.
  • It is highly recommended to keep your skin moisturised to keep looking fresh.
  • The outer skin layer will take 2-4 weeks, while the inner layer can take 3-4 months to heal completely.



What to Avoid While Your Tattoo is Healing

Man with a variety of black and white tattoos.

There are specific activities you need to avoid for better care of your tattoo.


You should avoid swimming for at least two weeks after getting inked. Your tattoo is an open wound. Exposing it to water can cause infection. Please avoid swimming pools and bathtubs.

Picking or Scratching at Scabs

As your tattoo starts healing, your skin might get irritated. Do not pick or scratch it at this time. Always wash your hands before washing your tattoo because the germs in your fingernails can cause severe infections.

Scented Soaps and Moisturizers

Scented soaps and moisturisers contain chemicals that may be harmful or irritating to your tattoo. It is always advised to use fragrance-free antibacterial soap for washing.


Don’t apply sunscreen until the tattoo is healed. Instead, try and keep it covered using loose clothing. Sunscreen can clog pores, but it should be used regularly when the tattoo has healed to avoid fading.


Getting a new tattoo is a huge step. Taking care of that tattoo is just as important as getting it. Without proper care, your tattoo could heal improperly or become infected.

Taking into consideration the tips outlined in this article, taking care of your new tattoo is super easy. If we had to summarise: Keep your tattoo clean and hydrated during the entire healing process.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Further Reading

Best tattoo numbing creams.

6 Best Tattoo Numbing Creams for Tattoo Pain Relief

Figuring out what tattoo numbing cream to buy can be difficult, especially for beginners. In this article, we’ll explore what you need to know about tattoo numbing creams, as well as which ones we think are the best.

Is Dial soap good for tattoos?

Is Dial Soap Good for Tattoos?

Got a new tattoo? You may be wondering if Dial soap is good for tattoos. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Read on to learn more.

Dove soap for tattoos.

Is Dove Soap Good for Tattoos?

Are you wondering if Dove soap is good for tattoos? In this article, we’ll look at what Dove soaps you can use on a new and healing tattoo.

Is NIVEA lotion good for tattoos?

Is NIVEA Good for Tattoos?

Looking for a lotion for tattoos and wondering if NIVEA is good for tattoos? We answer this question in detail in this article.

8 USB Tattoos and Meanings

Thinking of getting a USB tattoo or flash drive tattoo? Check out some common meanings, as well as some inspiration for your tattoo!

11 Best Soaps for Tattoos (2024)

Getting soap for tattoos take some consideration. There are some types of soaps you should avoid for a healing tattoo. Here’s our top picks.