After every tattoo appointment I go over aftercare instructions with the client. This is done to provide the proper healing instructions and go over any questions the client may have. The following is my recommendations that I give to every client.
I start off by stressing the most important aspect of healing is cleanliness! Keep that fresh tattoo CLEAN. Keeping it clean is literally the number one most important aspect. A non scented antibacterial hand soap is recommended. I personally recommend Provon antibacterial soap, which Red at Night Tattoos and Piercings carries. I also would recommend Dial liquid antibacterial hand soap. Dial however offers many scented hand soaps so be sure it is the original gold liquid soap. Scented soaps can affect healing and can be painful when applied to the tattoo. Some of these soaps contain alcohol. Imagine pouring rubbing alcohol onto a wound and we all know that wouldn’t feel very good! Same concept applies to these scented soaps. So Provon soap is my number one recommendation.
When washing that new tattoo, don’t use any sort of scrubbing device, for example a loofa or a washcloth. Lather up the soap in your hands (clean hands because you washed them prior to this step) and gently wash the tattoo with your hand. After that bugger is scrubbed up nice, rinse with water. Next using a clean paper towel “pat” dry the excess water and let it air dry for 30 minutes. This should be done at least twice a day and more if you’re exposing the tattoo to a dirty environment. You will continue to wash the tattoo twice a day for the entire healing process.
The first three days of the healing process I do not recommend putting any ointment or lotion on the tattoo. Let that thing breath the first few days! After three days of only washing the tattoo you’ll want to start using an ointment or lotion. I highly recommend Redemption aftercare or Hustle Butter Deluxe aftercare. Both work very well and are specifically designed for aftercare. Red and Night carries Redemption on hand if you choose this route. Two more options are unscented lotion or Aquaphor. Lubriderm makes an unscented lotion that works well and Aquaphor has also been proven to work well.
When applying the aftercare of your choice make sure you apply a very thin layer. This step can be painful, but it is important to have a thin layer of the aftercare to prevent smothering the tattoo. The tattoo still needs to be able to breathe. Additionally, make sure you’re only covering the area of the tattoo and not spreading the aftercare too far beyond the border of the tattoo. Spreading it over healthy skin can clog pores and cause your healthy skin to break out, so try to be conscious of this.
During the healing process your tattoo will peel and possibly even scab in places. DO NOT PICK and the peeling skin or scabs. Continue washing and using the aftercare as you would normally and allow the skin and/or scabs naturally fall off. Picking at the them can remove ink from the tattoo. Sometimes during the healing of your tattoo it will begin to look pretty icky. That is perfectly normal and don’t freak out! Just keep following the aftercare instructions and it will be okay!
While the tattoo is healing there are certain activities you’ll need to avoid. One thing you absolutely should NOT do is submerge the tattoo. Do not go swimming or enter very humid environments. Another activity you should avoid is sun tanning or exposing the tattoo to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Sunburns are painful enough as it is without having it on a fresh tattoo. One last thing I recommend steering clear of is working out or getting sweaty. The gym is not a very clean environment to be exposing the tattoo to. So let it heal and hit the workout extra hard when it’s ready. Sorry gym rats, it just is not a good idea.
The healing process is an integral part of the entire process. Some things to keep in mind in addition to the above mentioned steps:
1) Clean sheets and pillow cases. If you have really nice sheets that you’ve spent your hard earned money on, switch them out to ones you don’t care so much about. However, make sure they are clean sheets. Fresh tattoos can weep ink and blood. If either get on your sheets you most likely will not get the stain out.
2) Pets…. I’ve seen clients post pictures of their animals licking their fresh tattoo. This is so unsanitary and unhealthy for a tattoo. If I see this I absolutely refuse to tattoo that person ever again.
3) Be conscious of the clothing you decide to wear after you get tattooed. Tight or compression style clothing is a no-no. This again suffocates the tattoo and it will struggle to breath. This can result in color coming out of the tattoo and having a poor heal. It also makes it difficult to wash the tattoo if it needs it at some point during the day.
4) Sunlight is not a great friend of tattoos; especially fresh ones. The more you can keep them out of direct sunlight- the better. After a tattoo is healed, make sunblock a best friend to prolong the quality of your tattoo.
That should pretty much cover it. Regardless of where you get your tattoo done, if you have any questions definitely contact your artist and consult with them. Some artists will have a particular way they prefer their tattoos to be healed. If this is the case follow their procedures, but the above is a solid and proven method to heal that new tattoo.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and we hope you found it informative!