tattoo aftercare

What to do:

  • Leave your bandage on for at least 2-4 hours. It’s ok to leave it on overnight if you get your tattoo in the evening.
  •  Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching your tattoo.
  • Twice a day (after washing your hands), apply a thin layer of ointment to the tattoo—Lubriderm and Aquaphor are what I recommend.
  • After 3-4 days, you can switch from using ointment to an unscented lotion. Apply enough to keep the area moisturized without suffocating it. Your tattoo wants to breathe!

What not to do:

  •  For the next week:

o   Do not put unnecessary strain on the tattooed area, e.g. if you just got your calf tattooed, don’t go run a marathon that afternoon; if you get your bicep tattooed, make sure it’s not the same day you promised your friend you’d help them move their huge, heavy couch.

  • For the next 2 weeks:

o   Avoid heavy sweating (this includes both exercise and saunas).

  • For the next 3-4 weeks:

o   Do not go tanning. If you’ll be in the sun, remember that sunscreen is your friend.

o   Do not soak or swim in water. This includes, but is not limited to, lakes, oceans, bathtubs, pools, and rivers (especially the Willamette).

o   Do not let your friends get all handsy with the tattooed area—unless their hands are clean and they asked you first.

o   Do not pick at any scabs.

What to expect:

  • Your tattoo and the area around it may be slightly swollen and red for the next week.
  • Color may seep to the surface. It’s ok to wipe this off with a clean paper towel and reapply ointment.
  • Do not let your tattoo stick to sheets or clothing, this can pull out color!
  • A think scab should form evenly over the entire tattoo and should peel in a manner similar to a sunburn. Don’t pick at the scab!
  • The color may seem dull or uneven while your tattoo is healing. Your tattoo should be completely healed after one month. Shading may seem dark but will fade up to 40% throughout the healing process. If it heals up patchily, schedule a touch-up. J