Tattoo Aftercare: Essential Tips for a Healthy and Vibrant Tattoo

A well-done tattoo is a beautiful piece of art, but to keep it that way, proper aftercare is crucial. Tattoo aftercare ensures that your new ink heals properly, prevents infections, and maintains its vibrancy. Here are some essential tips for taking care of your new tattoo, so it remains flawless for years to come.

The Stages of Tattoo Healing

Understanding the stages of tattoo healing can help you better care for your ink. The healing process typically involves three stages:

  • Initial healing (day 1-3): Your tattoo will be red, swollen, and may ooze plasma. This is the most critical time for aftercare.
  • Peeling and itching (day 4-14): Your tattoo will start to peel and scab, and the itching will begin. It’s essential not to scratch or pick at the scabs.
  • Full healing (day 15-30): The scabs will have fallen off, and your tattoo will appear healed, though the deeper layers of skin will still be healing.

Essential Tattoo Aftercare Tips

Keep it clean: For the first few days, gently wash your tattoo with mild, fragrance-free soap and lukewarm water, then pat dry with a clean towel. This helps to remove bacteria and prevent infection.

Moisturize: Apply a thin layer of tattoo aftercare ointment or a fragrance-free, hypoallergenic moisturizer to keep your tattoo hydrated and promote healing. Avoid petroleum-based products, as they can clog pores and hinder the healing process.

Avoid sun exposure: Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight for at least two weeks, as UV rays can damage the ink and slow down the healing process. Once healed, apply sunscreen to protect your tattoo from fading.

Don’t scratch or pick: As tempting as it may be, never scratch or pick at your healing tattoo. This can cause scarring, ink loss, and potentially introduce bacteria.

Avoid submersion in water: Keep your tattoo out of pools, hot tubs, and bathtubs until it’s fully healed. Prolonged exposure to water can cause ink to fade, and bacteria in the water can lead to infection.

Wear loose, breathable clothing: Tight clothing can cause friction and irritation on your healing tattoo. Opt for loose, breathable fabrics to allow air circulation and minimize discomfort.

Monitor for signs of infection: If you notice excessive redness, swelling, heat, or pus around your tattoo, consult your tattoo artist or a healthcare professional immediately.

When Can You Shower After Getting a Tattoo?

Some artists will advise you to wait two or three days after getting a tattoo before showering. This allows your body’s natural healing process to kick into gear, which will help keep bacteria from spreading.

However, there’s no need to follow this rule if you prefer not to wait so long. You can shower as soon as the artist says it’s okay, but just be sure to avoid getting your tattoo wet for at least two hours after receiving it. Your tattoo will start healing as soon as ink is placed into your skin, so it’s important that you keep it away from water until then.

If you have more questions, Sacred Raven Tattoo has covered everything you need to know for showering after tattoo sessions in their blog post. They also offer some tips on how to make the process easier, such as using a plastic wrap over your tattoo and showering with warm water instead of hot.


Proper tattoo aftercare is essential to ensure a healthy, vibrant, and long-lasting piece of body art. By following the tips outlined in this article and consulting with your tattoo artist for personalized aftercare instructions, you’ll be well on your way to a beautifully healed tattoo that you can proudly show off for years to come.

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