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Just got inked? Here’s how to take care of your new tattoo

Finally, the design you’ve had in your Pinterest board for months has now become a reality, and your skin is donning a cool new tattoo. But what next? How do you care for it so that it heals properly and looks as lovely as it should? Everything you need to know about tattoo aftercare is right here.

Have you gotten inked? Whether it’s your first tattoo or your newest, proper tattoo aftercare is critical to avoid unwanted scarring and infections. While it may sound like a terrible prospect, tattoo aftercare is nothing to be concerned about. Especially if you pay close attention and follow your tattoo artist’s advice. Here, we’ve compiled the top short- and long-term tattoo care advice from the pros, covering everything from how to clean it to signs it’s time to see your doctor.

Tattoo Aftercare: How to take care of your tattoo?

Follow the advise of your tattoo artist

Aftercare instructions will range from studio to studio, and even artists in the same studio may have varied opinions about what heals best. Pay attention to the instructions the artist provides you; most will provide you with a pamphlet with their recommendations written on it for you to take home.

Gently wash your tattoo

After getting a tattoo, your first concern should be to keep it clean. Remove the dressing the next morning, or whenever your tattoo artist instructs you to, and wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and non-perfumed soap. Finally, using a clean cloth, pat the tattoo dry.

Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturising cream

In order to care for your tattoo, apply a tiny layer of an unscented moisturising lotion, which your artist will recommend. According on your artist’s recommendation, you may either recover with clingfilm/gauze or leave it open to the air. In general, studios will recommend that you repeat the cleaning process 3-5 times each day.

Keep the tattoo clean and dry

For at least a month, keep the tattoo clean and dry, and avoid soaking it in water (showers are ok, baths are not). Cover it with gauze/clingfilm and medical tape if your garments are going to rub on it.

Keep out of direct sunlight

Unless absolutely essential, keep it out of direct sunlight. Healed tattoos, particularly coloured ones, can fade in the sun, so if you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure it’s covered in a high SPF.

Don’t pick

The tattoo may scab or peel somewhat as it heals. Picking at it may remove the ink in that region, resulting in patches fading or being removed entirely. If it itches, slap it lightly instead of scratching it. This should only last a few weeks; if it remains elevated, itches uncontrollably, is red around the design, continues to bleed for more than a day or so after having it done, or is always hot to the touch, contact your artist or seek medical attention. Infected tattoos are extremely rare, but they can happen, and it’s always worth getting it looked out if you’re concerned.

If needed, go to the studio for touch-ups

If you do happen to lose ink, your studio should retouch it for free – terrible tattoos and service lead to bad reputations, so it’s in their best interest to ensure you’re satisfied with the end outcome. Return in around 6 weeks if you need any areas of the tattoo touched up.


Tattoos require some post-procedure TLC, but once healed, there are only a few things to keep in mind (avoiding prolonged sun exposure, itching, and shaving being a few of them). After the scabs have faded and the skin on the tattoo surface has the same texture as the rest of your skin, you’ll know your tattoo is healing properly. When in doubt, see your doctor to ensure your new ink is healing properly.


All Images: Courtesy Unsplash


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Question: What should you not do after getting a tattoo?

Answer: Keep the tattooed region out of the sun for at least a few weeks. Swimming should be avoided. While your tattoo is healing, avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes, and other bodies of water. Choose clothing carefully.

Question: Is it OK to shower with a new tattoo?

Answer: Showering with a new tattoo is not only acceptable; it is also important for proper hygiene. Showering should not interfere with the healing process of your new ink as long as you follow the aftercare instructions your tattoo artist tells you and avoid rubbing or soaking your tattoo.

Question: Can I put coconut oil on my tattoo?

Answer: Coconut oil is gentle enough to be used at any stage of the tattooing process. It may be used on fresh or existing tattoos, as well as those undergoing removal or retouching.

Just got inked? Here’s how to take care of your new tattoo

Anushka likes to write about fashion, beauty, and other nice things. When not bound to her keyboard, she likes to make her Pinterest boards come to life.


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