Congratulations on your fresh tattoo! Whether it’s your first or one of many, taking care of your new ink is crucial to ensure it heals beautifully. Let’s walk through a simple step-by-step aftercare guide to help your tattoo look its best.

1. Keep it Covered

After your tattoo is complete, your artist will apply a protective covering or wrap it with plastic. Leave this on for a few hours, as it helps keep bacteria out and prevents friction from your clothes.

2. Gently Cleanse

When it’s time to remove the covering, gently cleanse your tattoo with lukewarm water and mild, fragrance-free soap. Use your fingertips, not a washcloth or sponge, to avoid unnecessary irritation. Pat it dry with a clean paper towel.

3. Apply a Thin Layer of Ointment

Now, it’s time to apply a thin layer of tattoo-specific ointment or cream. Avoid petroleum-based products and opt for those recommended by your tattoo artist. This helps keep the tattoo moisturized and protected.

4. Avoid Over moisturizing

While keeping your tattoo moisturized is essential, don’t overdo it. Apply a thin layer of ointment 2-3 times a day. Too much can clog your pores and delay the healing process.

5. Say No to the Sun and Swimming

Protect your new tattoo from the sun’s harmful rays and avoid swimming until it’s completely healed. Sun exposure can cause fading, and pool or ocean water may introduce bacteria to the tattoo.

6. Resist the Itch

Tattoos can get itchy during the healing process, but scratching is a big no-no. Scratching can damage the tattoo and lead to infections. Instead, gently pat or tap the itchy area if needed.

7. Loose Clothing is Your Friend

Wearing loose, breathable clothing over your tattoo helps prevent irritation and allows it to breathe. Tight clothing can rub against the tattoo and cause discomfort.

8. Keep it Clean

Throughout the healing process, maintain good hygiene around your tattoo. Avoid submerging it in water for extended periods, and be cautious when washing or drying the area.

9. Watch for Signs of Infection

Keep an eye out for any signs of infection, such as excessive redness, swelling, or discharge. If you suspect an infection, consult your tattoo artist or a medical professional promptly.

10. Be Patient

Healing times vary, but most tattoos take about two weeks to a month to fully heal. Be patient and let your body do its thing.

Remember, every tattoo is unique, so following these aftercare steps is vital for preserving your new artwork. If you have any concerns or questions during the healing process, don’t hesitate to reach out to your tattoo artist for guidance. With proper care, your tattoo will heal beautifully, and you’ll enjoy it for years to come.

This post was written by J Michael Taylor. J Michael Taylor is an artist and owner of Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery. Black Amethyst is the best amongst St Pete tattoo shops. They provide an art-first approach to custom tattooing in a gallery setting.