Congratulations on your new body art.
You’ve made a significant investment and now is the time to ensure that you do everything you can to help it heal well. It’s a permanent work of art, but it’s also a wound. How you care for your tattoo will play a big part in preserving its unique beauty and preventing infection.
- After three hours, remove the bandage applied by your tattoo artist.
- Alternate hot and cold water treatment. Run your tattoo under warm water. Slowly turn the water as hot as you can and let it run over your tattoo for 15 to 20 seconds. Then turn the water to cold and allow it to run over your tattoo for 15 to 30 seconds. This flushes out dried blood and remaining pigments, and tightens pores to allow quicker healing.
- Wash with unscented, antibacterial soap.
- Pat tattoo dry with a clean paper towel and allow it to air dry for five to 10 minutes.
- Massage a thin layer of [A+D] ointment into the tattoo.
- Do not bandage the tattoo again.
- Wear clean, loose fitting clothing, sleep on freshly washed sheets and keep all pets (and their fur) away from your tattoo during the first week of healing.
- If your tattoo sticks to your clothes, sheets or any other fabric, soak it with water before removing.
- If your tattoo feels itchy, do not scratch it. You can use a cold moisturiser, take an antihistamine or use a hot compress to rehydrate the tattoo and relieve the itching.
- If your tattoo starts to scab, don’t pick the scabs off. This is part of the healing process.
Days 2 to 7
- Wash with the technique described above and apply [A+D] ointment six to eight times daily for three to four days for black and greyscale tattoos, and four to five days for full colour tattoos.
- For the first couple of days, the tattooed skin may feel warm to the touch and have a reddish appearance. This should fade away near the end of the first week. Your tattoo may look less vibrant as the healing process continues.
- Avoid working out or doing any activity that causes you to sweat or that stresses or stretches the newly tattooed skin until it’s fully healed.
Day 5 to 21
- Continue the washing technique and applying A&D ointment as often as needed. How often will depend on your environment and activities.
Day 22 and beyond.
- Feel free to stop using the A+D ointment and begin using an unscented, hypoallergenic lotion in its place, such as Lubriderm, or Aquaphor. If you react to any lotion or ointment immediately clean the skin and try a different lotion or cream. You may also use coconut oil, shea butter or cocoa butter, as long as it’s organic, virgin, and unrefined. Avoid products with scented essential oils.
- Use lotion for as long as the skin is dry and flaky.
- Avoid submerging the tattoo in water or getting the tattoo wet during the first three to six weeks, except when washing it. Showers are OK.
- Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight for two weeks.
- Don’t let others touch your tattoo.
- Don’t share your tattoo ointments, lotions or creams with others. This can increase your risk of infection.
- Moisturise regularly in the months following your tattoo to keep it bright and fresh.
- After it’s fully healed, always use sunscreen on your tattoo to keep it looking it’s best.