How To Take Care Of Your Tattoo: 5 Easy Steps The Definitive Guide To Tattoo Aftercare

How To Take Care Of Your Tattoo: 5 Easy Steps The Definitive Guide To Tattoo Aftercare

Many people get tattoos, and there is tons of advice on how to take care of your tattoo. Most of the tattoo aftercare information is overly complicated or just plain outdated information. That is why we made The Definitive Guide: 5 Step Guide To Taking Care Of Your Tattoo.

Step 1: Leave the tattoo wrapped for 2-4 hours, then remove wrap, clean tattoo, and apply aftercare ointment

After you get your tattoo, the tattoo artist will wrap your tattoo (if they do not, maybe you went to the wrong artist). The first part of healing your new tattoo is to leave the tattoo wrapped for 2-4 hours before removing, this will help prevent infection. 

Then, after 2-4 hours remove the wrap, and clean with a mild soap and water. Remember just wipe it lightly, you are not trying to scrub it off, all vigorous scrubbing will do is impede the healing process and make your new tattoo heal slower.

Finally, after the wrap is removed and the tattoo has been lightly cleaned, apply a tattoo aftercare ointment. The best tattoo aftercare ointments are designed for tattoos, such as Fisticuffs Tattoo Balm. These are the best tattoo aftercare products because they are petroleum free, so they won’t clog your pores or make your new tattoo more itchy.  If you are in a pinch common products like, Aquaphor and Vitamin A&D ointment will work, but like said about petroleum based products, they will clog pores, cause extra itching , and are not ideal for healing your tattoo.

Step 2: Apply an aftercare lotion or ointment 3 times daily for 5-7 days or whenever your tattoo feels dry

Step two for taking care of your tattoo is very easy, so don’t overthink it. Apply a tattoo aftercare lotion or ointment 3 times daily for 5-7 days. If you notice the tattoo feeling extra dry in between the 3 times a day, then apply more tattoo aftercare lotion or ointment as needed.

How to apply tattoo aftercare lotion or ointment:

This may seem obvious, but many people get confused by this important part of taking care of your tattoo. When you apply the tattoo aftercare product you want to apply a thin layer, and rub it in like lotion. The skin where the new tattoo is should not oversaturated, it should feel just like the skin on the inside of your elbow. Not dry or overly moist, it should just feel well moisturized. This is essential to the the healing process of your new tattoo.


Step 3: Wash tattoo daily in shower just like any other part of your body

The third step to taking care of your tattoo is cleaning it. Cleaning your new tattoo is easy, use a mild soap like body wash and clean it just like you would the rest of your body when you take a shower. There is no need to clean your tattoo multiple times a day, unless of course your tattoo becomes dirty. However, it is very rare that someone needs to clean their new tattoo more than once a day, so if you shower on a daily basis this will be fine for taking care of your tattoo. 

After you have cleaned the tattoo let it air out a bit and dry. Then, apply aftercare lotion or ointment. See Step 2 above for more info on how to apply your tattoo aftercare lotion or ointment.

Step 4: Continue with aftercare ointment or switch to lighter lotion for an additional 5-7 DAYS 

Now that you have made it through the most crucial stage of taking care of your tattoo the first 5-7 days, you can dial it back a bit. Your new tattoo should be healing well and on it’s way to looking more like it did the day you got it. At this point you can switch from a heavy tattoo ointment to a lighter lotion if you want. This lotion can be specifically for tattoos, but does not have to be. You can use a normal everyday body lotion like Lubriderm or something similar, I prefer unscented, but again this is up to you.

Continue using this lotion 2-3 times a day for 5-7 days, then you my friend will have completed your tattoo aftercare and your tattoo will be healed and amazing looking.

Step 5: After about 2 weeks resume your normal routine

You made you have successfully healed your tattoo! It took 2 weeks, but you persevered. It may have been a bit itchy, a bit difficult getting comfy in bed, and there might have been a couple times you doubted yourself…..

But, you did it!

Now, it’s time get you next tattoo, you can check out some guides on that by clicking here

Bonus: Things to avoid while the tattoo is healing

Swimming for the first 2 weeks

Sorry all you water bugs out there, you need to avoid fully immersing your new tattoo for the first 2 weeks. This includes: The ocean, the lake, the pool, the hot tub, and any other still bodies of water where you would fully immerse your tattoo that I may have missed.

Scratching your tattoo in the first 2 weeks 

When it gets itchy resist the scratch. If you feel like you need some relief just give it a firm pat/slap.

Peeling your new tattoo 

Let nature do its thing, I know it is tempting, but I promise it will fall off without you peeling it.

Tattooing over the same area the first 2-4 weeks 

Let it fully heal for 2 reasons. 1: Because you want to have your skin fully healed before you damage it again. And 2: You need the tattoo to be fully healed before you can see what the actually tattoo will look like. The healing process can make the best tattoos look scary, until they fully heal, and again look beautiful.

Tattoo Aftercare Sheet (Just right click to save and download)


That should cover how to heal your tattoo and tattoo aftercare in general. Let me know if there is something we didn’t cover or any other tattoo topics you were wondering about in the comments section below.

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