Caring For Your New Tattoo

Don't Swim With Your New Tattoo
Your job isnít done after you walk out of the tattoo studio with your new ink Ė in order to make sure your tattoo looks good and your skin stays healthy, you need to follow a couple simple rules.

Follow Instructions

Most tattoo shops will provide you with instructions on how to care for your new tattoo. Make sure you donít leave before getting advice from your tattoo artist on how to care for your new tattoo.

Donít Show it Off Too Soon!

Keep your bandage on Ė at least for a few hours after leaving the tattoo studio. The bandage is to protect your skin from infection. I know itís hard, but be patient. Youíve come this far, might as well see it through.

When taking your bandage off, if it is sticking to your skin, soak it in warm water. This should help loosen the bandage and make it easier to remove.

Wash Your Tattoo

Once your bandage is finally off, many tattoo artist recommend washing it gently with warm water and antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Donít use a towel, just use your hands. Also, get rid of any dried blood to prevent scabbing. Once youíre done washing, pat (donít rub) your tattoo dry with a cloth or paper towel.

Avoid washing your tattoo too often until it heals and donít use antibacterial or antimicrobial soap after the first washing.

Dress It Up

After washing your tattoo and letting it dry thoroughly, apply topical cream or ointment to aid in the healing process. Apply a thin layer over your tattoo, but avoid clumping it on or putting it on more than twice a day. Ask your tattoo artist which brand of topical cream he or she recommends. Once your tattoo has healed sufficiently, you can swap the ointment for regular lotion. To prevent irritation or allergic reaction, use lotion that is free of fragrances, color, etc.

Rinse and Repeat

Keep with the regimen of washing your tattoo and applying cream/lotion until youíre tattoo has fully healed. Full healing typically takes 4-6 weeks. Donít worry if your tattoo looks a bit cloudy for the first few days after you get it Ė this is normal. Skin sometimes begins to flake off and causes the tattoo to look a bit blurry.


There are a few things you want to generally avoid in order to end up with a great looking tattoo. Until your tattoo is fully healed, make sure you stay away from the things mentioned below.

  • DO NOT soak your tattoo (no swimming, long showers, baths, saunas, etc.)
  • DO NOT expose your tattoo to direct sunlight (also donít put sunblock on it either)
  • DO NOT scratch or pick at your tattoo
  • DO NOT shave the skin on which you got your tattoo
  • DO NOT get salt water on your tattoo

Thatís about it! Consult your tattoo artist or a medical professional if your tattoo gets seriously infected or remains painful more than a few days after your ink session.