While you might want to gaze at your new addition (or run your fingers over it), resist the urge. A tattoo is basically an open wound, so keeping it covered (and your hands away from it) prevents bacteria from getting into your skin.


Plus, depending on where the tattoo is on your body, keeping it covered will prevent your clothes from rubbing against it and causing discomfort and irritation.


The biggest mistake people make with new tattoos? Not using sunblock and exposing the tattoo to extreme sunlight! Opt for loose-fitting, sun-protective clothing until your tattoo heals. Then, pile on the SPF — tattooed skin isn’t immune to UV rays or premature aging.


Follow these do’s and don’ts for basic tattoo aftercare:



  • Do reach out to your tattoo artist or doctor if you have any unusual swelling, irritation, or other signs of infection or allergic reactions.


  • Don’t rub your skin dry — pat it gently to avoid irritation.

  • Don’t wear sunscreen until your tattoo is fully healed, because the chemicals or minerals could irritate your broken skin.

  • Don’t pick, scratch, or rub your tattoo until it’s healed. You could cause scarring.

  • Don’t swim, soak in a hot tub, or take a bath until your tattoo has healed completely. Opt for a shower instead. (It’s fine to soak or swim if you can keep your new tattoo out of the water.) Green also recommends avoiding steam rooms and saunas until your ink has healed.

How to take care of your ink:

Your healing process will be as unique as your tattoo itself. Bigger tattoos will likely take longer to heal, as will those that rub against clothing. All the tattoo aftercare tips shared below are normal parts of the healing process.

                                  If you are using Saniderm: 


-Linework only: keep on 24 hrs MAX        

-Linework with Shading: 24 hrs first application, 3/6days second application

  1. To remove Saniderm, find an edge of the bandage and pull it back over itself in the direction of hair growth. You may notice blood and clear plasma oozing from your tattoo, as well as some ink. You may also feel warmth or swelling. Keep your new tat clean (wash it with fragrance-free soap after a few hours)The shower is the ideal place to remove Saniderm. Running water will help loosen the adhesive and relax the skin, making the removal much more comfortable. Dry removal of Saniderm may cause discomfort and added trauma to the skin.

  2. Discard the used bandage and wash the tattoo with a mild soap, preferably fragrance-free. 

  3. Allow the tattoo to air dry or pat dry with a clean towel.

  4. If desired, apply a thin layer of aftercare product to your tattoo. If you have naturally oily skin or live in a high humidity climate, feel free to skip this step. Otherwise, use a thin layer of petroleum-free moisturizer to help the tattoo retain moisture and itch less. If you plan on applying another bandage, apply the product to the tattoo only and avoid getting it on the surrounding skin. Saniderm does not adhere well to wet/moist skin.

  5. Apply a second bandage by following the application steps listed above.


         If you are using Plastic Wrap/Non-Stick Covering: 

-Linework and/Shading: Keep on 24 hrs MAX

     1.  If using plastic wrap or a non-stick bandage, leave your tattoo covered for              several hours to let it absorb any fluid, blood, or excess ink that might leak              out. (This is totally normal.)

     2.  Do remember that a tattoo is a wound. When you’re ready to remove the               bandage, treat your tattoo like you would any other skin injury. Wash your               hands before touching your tattoo and carefully wash the affected area                   with soap and water. Always use lukewarm water and a mild, fragrance-                 free soap.

     3.  Keep it moist, but not wet. Let it breathe! Then, cover your whole tattoo                   with a thin layer of the oil or wax based ointment, or another approved                     product (ask artist what are acceptable options). If your tattoo is in an                   area that isn’t covered by clothing, leave it uncovered to let your skin                            breathe and facilitate healing.



Thing to look for day by day:

Days 1-3

  • Oozing pf plasma. ink and blood is completely normal and to be expected. you also may feel warmth and experience swelling, also totally expected. As your skin heals, you’ll notice thin scabs starting to form. Don’t pick them. Your tattoo may look duller or cloudier right now — don’t worry.

  • Wash your tattoo twice a day, and then use a moisturizer that’s free of alcohol and fragrance.

  • Some ink may wash off your skin.

Days 4–6

  • The redness will start to fade, and scabs will continue to form. Keep your hands off them!

  • Wash your tattoo twice a day, and then use a tattoo aftercare cream that’s free of alcohol and fragrance.

Weeks 1–2

  • Your scabs will start to fall off. Don’t help the process!

  • Itching is normal, so keep your tattoo aftercare lotion handy and rub it on several times a day.

  • Redness and swelling should have subsided. If they haven’t, talk to your tattoo artist or a dermatologist.

Weeks 2–4

  • Your tattoo might still look a little dull or dry, so tattoo aftercare products will continue to be your BFF.

  • Keep up the hydration routine until your skin is fully healed and supple again.

Long-term care

  • It can take months to completely heal from a tattoo, especially if it’s large or filled in.

  • After about 3 months, your tattoo should look the way you and your artist envisioned.

  • Keep your tattoo covered in sunscreen so it looks as vibrant and fresh as possible!