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How to Care for Your New Tattoo

By HERWriter
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How to Take Care of Your New Tattoo Annie Spratt/Unsplash
When you get a tattoo, you will usually be given a set of instructions to follow about caring for your new ink.

Luckily, we also have a step-by-step guide for you to follow:

1) The artist will put some sort of a bandage on your tattoo after they are done. Not all parlors are exactly the same, but for my tattoos, the artist wrapped it in a bandage that resembled plastic wrap. You are to leave this bandage on one to three hours, which collects all the goop, blood and ink.1

2) After the allotted time, remove the bandage. You want the tattoo to breathe so bacteria doesn’t grow. Make sure you wash your hands before removal so as to prevent infection. If your tattooed area feels sore, you can take over-the-counter pain medication.1

3) Now that the bandage is removed, you will need to wash your tattoo and the skin surrounding it. Be sure to use a soap that does not have a fragrance, or high amounts of alcohol or petroleum. Stay away from loofahs and cloths as well— they may harbor bacteria.

When it comes to rinsing the skin, use lukewarm or cold water. Only let enough water run over it to remove the grime. You don’t want it soaked or heated up. Using hot water opens your pores, which may lead to ink leaking out of the skin.

To dry, use a paper towel. This will lower risk of infection and prevent stains on your nice towels. There is no need to wipe or scrub the tattoo. Just pat it dry. After this, the tattoo no longer needs to be bandaged.2

4) For the next two to three weeks, wash the tattoo several times a day. And remember: always wash your hands first and use soft, non-scented antibacterial soap.1

5) For the next three days, apply an ointment after washing the tattoo to keep it hydrated. You can ask your tattoo artist what they recommend, otherwise Aquaphor or A+D ointment are good options. Though the skin needs to be hydrated, use the ointment sparingly. A thin layers works perfectly.1

6) When the three days are up, switch from ointment to a non-scented lotion.1

7) Caring for your tattoo goes beyond hygiene.

Read more in HER Beauty

1) 9 Essential Tips for Tattoo Aftercare. Inked. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

2) How to Care for a Tattoo. Ink Done Right. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

3) Behind the Ink: Common tattoo beliefs debunked. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

4) Is Tattoo scabbing Normal? What NOT to Do When Your Tattoo Scabs. Authority Tattoo. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

5) The Very Best Tattoo Sunscreen Products. Ink Done Right. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

6) Tattoo Infection. MDDK. Retrieved November 11, 2016.

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Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Another option for tattoo aftercare is pure emu oil. https://emujoy.com/pages/tattoo-aftercare-with-emu-oil Many tattoo artists swear by it, and it absorbs into the skin better than ointments.

November 29, 2016 - 5:54pm

I have always wanted a tattoo. I might finally get one now that I have this detailed guide. Very informative article!

November 28, 2016 - 3:49pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.