This is my recommended aftercare for healing your tattoo. If you have any questions during the healing process, you can always contact me.

Traditional Aftercare

  • Leave bandage on for 2-4 hours.
  • Upon removing bandage, clean your tattoo with liquid, unscented hand soap. Use only your clean hands to gently but thoroughly remove all excess ink and plasma from the tattoo. Pat dry with a paper towel, or let air dry.
  • For the first few days, wash with unscented soap 2-3 times per day, then apply ointment such as Aquaphor, A&D, Hustle Butter, etc. Be sure to only use a very thin layer!
  • Wear clean, loose-fitting clothing, and avoid letting the fresh tattoo come in to contact with dirty linens, pet hair, etc.
  • After about 3-4 days, when the tattoo starts to dry out, you can stop using ointment and switch to using a lightweight, unscented lotion such as Lubriderm, Aveeno, Cetaphil, etc. Using clean hands, apply a thin layer 2-3 times per day.
  • At this stage you can taper down the washing to just once a day.
  • The tattoo will likely start to peel and itch after a few days. Do not scratch your tattoo or pick at the peeling skin!
  • Continue to keep the tattoo clean and moisturize regularly until the tattoo is no longer dry/peeling, usually about 2-3 weeks. 
  • Avoid soaking in water (swimming, bathtubs, etc) or sun exposure for at least 2-3 weeks, or until the tattoo is fully healed (no longer peeling, skin not shiny).
  • A mild to moderate workout is okay after about 2-4 days. Listen to your body; take it easy if your tattoo still feels sore or tender. Avoid clothes or activities that risk rubbing or scraping the tattoo, and make sure to wash the tattoo afterwards. Excessive sweating can cause ink to fall out during healing, so avoid hot or intense workouts until the tattoo is fully healed. 

Derm Shield (clear, adhesive bandage)

  • Leave bandage on for 3-5 days, if possible.
  • Fluid may collect under the bandage, this is normal. Remove the bandage if fluid starts to leak.
  • If the bandage starts to peel up at the edges, you may trim it with clean scissors. If it peels past the the edge of the tattoo, remove bandage entirely.
  • Remove the bandage if it is causing skin irritation. Things to look out for include excessive redness, bumps or blisters, and itchiness on non-tattooed areas.
  • If the first bandage comes off within 24 to 48 hours, you may re-apply a second bandage according to the instructions below. Do not re-apply if the bandage is causing skin irritation, and do not re-apply if it has been more than 48 hours.  
  • Remove in the shower, letting the warm water loosen the adhesive. Slowly peel the bandage parallel to the skin to remove.
  • After removing bandage, clean the tattoo with an unscented, liquid soap, and continue aftercare following the instructions above. If the bandage has been on for a few days, you can skip the ointment phase and go straight to using lotion.
  • Sometimes a sticky residue will remain after the bandage is removed. Coconut oil works well to remove this!

Re-applying Derm Shield

  • If your tattoo is weeping a lot, you can remove the first bandage after 24 hours and apply a second one. I usually recommend this healing process for large color tattoos and tattoos with large areas of black fill; I will send you home with an extra bandage if I think you need it.
  • Remove the first bandage according to the instructions above. Wash the tattoo gently but thoroughly with liquid, unscented soap, and rinse well to remove any soap residue. Pat dry with a clean paper towel.
  • Make sure your hands, your tattoo, and any work surfaces are clean before re-applying. This is important to avoid trapping germs underneath the bandage.
  • Trim the bandage to cover the tattoo with about an inch extra on all sides, and round off the corners.
  • Peel off the paper backing and apply the bandage to the tattoo. Smooth out from the center and try to avoid bubbles and wrinkles. Peel off the plastic backing.
  • This bandage can stay on for up to one week.

Long-Term Aftercare

  • Taking care of your skin will help keep your tattoo looking great for the rest of your life! Stay hydrated, exfoliate, and moisturize regularly.
  • UV exposure can cause tattoos to fade more quickly, especially color tattoos! Always use a high SPF sunscreen on your tattoos if you are going to be spending time in the sun.