There are many ways to care for a new tattoo and advice will vary depending on factors such as the size of the tattoo, location on your body, your previous experience with tattoos, and even your work environment. Working out and other activities may need to be altered during the healing process. It’s best to avoid any unnecessary strain or stress on the tattoo while it is healing. Your tattoo artist can advise you on the best way to go about your day-to-day life and still properly care for your tattoo. The following is a general guideline that will help your tattoo heal as easily as possible.
The most important thing to remember is: Listen to your Tattoo Artist! They want your tattoo to look the best it possibly can!
If you have any issues, questions, or concerns, please contact Evolved.
REMOVING OCCLUSIVE BANDAGE (THIN, SELF-ADHERING BANDAGE)
- Leave on the bandage that was applied by your artist for 3-5 days, unless instructed otherwise by your artist. It is typical, and perfectly fine for blood, ink, and other fluids to collect under the bandage during this time. Until it is time to remove the bandage, be sure to not let shower water hit the bandaged area directly so the adhesive stays strong.
*If your bandage starts peeling off and even partially exposes the tattoo to air, or if it leaks, remove the bandage as soon as possible with the steps below. Follow the instructions in the next section for applying a new bandage.
- Run a shower that is lukewarm. Let the water saturate the bandaged area to loosen the adhesive sticking to the skin. If there is adhesive residue on the tattoo, it can be gently removed over a period of one to several days using warm water and soap.
- Before removing the bandage, thoroughly wash your hands using a mild, unscented liquid soap with no dyes or harsh chemicals. We like Dr. Bronner’s and H2Ocean Foam soap, both which are available for purchase at our studio.
- Slowly remove your bandage inch by inch under the water, being sure to start from the top and peel downward.
- Once the bandage is off, lather the same soap in your hand so that it’s nice and foaming, and then gently clean the tattoo with your fingertips, removing the fluids that have collected on the area. Do not exfoliate or scrub, or use any loofahs or washcloths.
- Rinse the tattoo until all of the soap is off, and then step out of the shower. To avoid contact with unnecessary germs, do not pat dry or use a bath towel. Let the tattoo air dry, or gently pat dry with a clean paper towel. If you are about to apply a new bandage, check with a clean hand that the bare skin around the edge of the tattoo is completely dry beforehand.
- If you have completed your 3-5 day regimen with the occlusive bandage, move on to Step 3 of the “Bandage Applied With Tape” aftercare instructions.
APPLYING SECOND OCCLUSIVE BANDAGE (if instructed by artist)
- Prepare the new bandage by peeling off the paper backing to reveal the adhesive side. Be sure to center the bandage so that the entire tattoo is covered.
- Gently apply the bandage using light pressure. For best results, make sure the body part is relaxed and in a neutral position. Remove the plastic top layer, leaving only the thin transparent barrier on the skin.
- Wear this second bandage for 2 to 4 days maximum, depending on the size and placement of the tattoo and your own life activities. After that period, remove the bandage and clean the area as in Step 1.
*If your bandage falls off or is no longer fully covering the tattoo, immediately follow the aftercare instructions below (“Bandage Applied With Tape”).
AFTERCARE (BANDAGE APPLIED WITH TAPE)
- Leave the bandage on for 2 to 4 hours or until you can remove it under clean conditions. The bandage is there to protect your tattoo while it is still fresh and susceptible to germs. There is no need to apply another bandage after the first has been removed.
*Before removing the bandage, thoroughly wash your hands using a mild, unscented soap with no dyes or harsh chemicals. We like Dr. Bronner’s or H2Ocean Foam Soap. After the bandage is removed, wash the tattoo gently with your clean fingertips. To avoid contact with unnecessary germs, do not pat dry with a bath towel. Let the tattoo air dry.
- Apply a small amount of the product your tattoo artist suggested. (You never want to over-moisturize the tattoo). Your tattoo artist may encourage you to switch to a different product at some point during the healing process. Some of the lotions we like are Lubriderm, Curel, Vaseline Intensive Care, Aveeno, and H2Ocean (unscented, the fewer chemicals the better). Some of the ointments we like are Hustle Butter, Aquaphor, Aquatat, Vitalitree, Vitamin A+D, and coconut oil. Always wash your hands first and be gentle when applying lotion or ointment. This should be done 1 to 5 times daily.
- Tattoos generally take 2 to 4 weeks to heal. Some scabbing may occur and it is very important to let these scabs fall off naturally. Never pick the scabs or pull them off! Scabs that are removed before they are ready to fall off naturally will often result in spotty coloring and longer healing times.
- Wear loose, clean clothing around the tattoo. Let it “breathe” as much as possible. Some areas of the body, like feet, are often difficult to avoid covering. In these instances refer to the directions of your tattoo artist.
*Never submerge your tattoo underwater. Showering is fine but remember to be gentle. Don’t soak the tattoo.
- Avoid direct sunlight and UV rays. Tanning is very bad for a healing tattoo. Sunblock is also bad for a healing tattoo. However, after your tattoo has completely healed, using sunblock will help reduce fading over the years.
*If you have pets, make sure to avoid getting pet hair on the tattoo.
Working out and other activities may need to be altered during the healing process. Your tattoo artist can advise you on the best way to go about your day-to-day life and still properly care for your tattoo.
Some people have sensitivities to adhesives. These can look like redness, swelling, or blistering around the edge of the bandage or underneath. If that’s the case, it’s best to carefully remove the bandage immediately and wash the area gently with unscented soap and water. Do not apply another bandage, and contact your tattoo artist or Evolved.