How Do You Care for a Tattoo?

Tattoo aftercare includes allowing proper healing, keeping the tattoo clean, preventing infection, and preventing warping or color loss. Once you leave the tattoo parlor, you are responsible for the care of your tattoo.

  1. Keep the tattoo bandaged

    Though it can be tempting to remove your bandage soon after getting your tattoo done, allow it to stay in place for two hours or more. If you want to see it before then, ask your artist to use transparent plastic wrap to cover the area.

  2. Wash the area

    Remove the bandage after enough time has passed, and gently wash it the area by hand with mild antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Use lukewarm water, and do not use a washcloth or other abrasive cloth. Completely remove all blood and fluids, and gently pat dry with a clean fabric or paper towel.

  3. Apply a healing treatment

    Neosporin is not recommended, due to possible allergic reactions. Instead, use vitamin A and D ointments, bacitracin, or a similar antibacterial ointment. Specialized name brand tattoo healing ointments are also safe for use. Continue to apply the ointment of your choice as directed for three to five days. After that, use dye-free and scent-free moisturizing lotion.

  4. Continue to care for the tattoo

    Avoid swimming for at least two weeks. Showers and baths are safe, but do not excessively soak the tattoo with water or submerge in a bathtub for two or three weeks. Do not pick at any scabs; instead, use a moist compress to soften and remove scabs. After healing, always use sun block to avoid premature fading.