8 things to do immediately after your tattoo appointment

Congratulations! You made it through your tattoo appointment and you’re ready to start the healing process. This is arguably the most important time for your tattoo - here’s how to get it right!

  1. Remove the bandage from the tattoo shop

    It’s likely that your tattoo artist wrapped your tattoo in a clear bandage or adhesive. When you get home, about 30 minutes after your tattoo appointment, you want to remove the bandage to let your tattoo breathe before cleaning the area of your tattoo. (Note: this assumes that your artist has used a normal plastic wrap)

    Some artists/shops use newer adhesives like Saniderm which are meant to cover a new tattoo for 1-3 days. Double check with your artist on what type of cover they are using on your new tattoo and trust their direction.

  2. Carefully clean your tattoo

    Next, you need to clean your tattoo and the surrounding areas. Take a shower but avoid water that is too hot. Use a small amount of anti-bacterial soap and gently massage your tattoo - you want to clean off the ointment placed there by the tattoo artist. The next 1-2 days are the most important for cleaning because this is when an infection is most likely to occur. Pat dry with a towel - do not rub the tattoo!

  3. Apply a thin layer of aftercare ointment

    We recommend A&D ointment, which can be found at any local drug store. The most common mistake is applying too much. You should apply a thin layer to just cover the tattoo - this helps prevent the tattoo from drying out. If possible, let your tattoo air out instead of covering it with a bandage or clothing. Continue applying aftercare ointment for the next 3-5 days when the tattoo feels dry. Avoid overdoing it - less is more.

  4. Switch over to lotion

    After 3-5 days of applying aftercare ointment, switch over to lotion to keep your skin moist during the healing process. You mostly want to avoid letting your skin dry up. This should take 7-10 days total for the full healing process. Every body is different and healing times will vary.

  5. Avoid scratching or picking your tattoo

    Tattoo healing is very similar to sunburn. Your skin will itch and scab - it will be really tempting to pick at your tattoo as it scabs off. Do your best to avoid picking the scabs - this can slow down the healing process and can leave scarring on your skin. It’s normal for inked skin to shed off.

  6. Avoid the sun

    The sun irritates our skin so avoid direct sunlight, especially during the summer months. Think of your tattoo as a sunburn - you don’t want to expose it to more sun!

  7. Avoid swimming

    Submerging your tattoo in liquid can cause scabs to come off prematurely. Also, you want to avoid irritants in water such as pools, jacuzzis, and the ocean.

  8. Avoid irritating your tattoo area

    This includes sleeping on your tattoo, working out excessively, or stretching the skin around your tattoo. This may lead to premature scabbing and may prolong the healing process.


For a more in-depth guide on tattoo aftercare, check out the video below: