Tattoo Aftercare: How to Care for Your New Tattoo

Getting a new tattoo is an exciting and meaningful experience. It’s a form of self-expression that allows you to wear your art proudly on your skin. However, the process continues after the tattooing session is completed.

Proper aftercare is essential for your new tattoo to heal beautifully and stay vibrant for years to come. Tattoo aftercare is crucial to maintain the integrity of your tattoo and the health of your skin, whether it is your first or one of many.

The Initial Bandage and Protective Cover

The process of tattoo aftercare begins in the tattoo parlor. After the tattoo is complete, the artist will cover the entire area with a moisturizer or tattoo jelly. The area will then be completely wrapped in plastic wrap or bandaged.

While it can be tempting to peek at your fresh tattoo, resist the urge to remove the protective cover for at least a few hours after the process.

Days 1-3: Let It Heal

The most important guideline for the initial days following a tattoo is to leave it alone. You should remove the plastic coverage from the tattoo.

The length of time the wrap must be worn may vary depending on the tattoo’s size. As a general rule, you can take the plastic off on day two or three. Also, wash the tattoo with warm water and a mild cleanser once a day.

On the third day, it’s time to remove the original bandage and clean the tattoo. Use antibacterial soap or any other liquid antibacterial that is unscented. Avoid touching the tattoo with any cloth because it is an open wound and could irritate it. Rinse the area with warm to mild water, then pat it dry with a towel.

Days 3-5: Keep It Clean

During this time, wash your hands before touching the tattoo and cleanse the area with gentle soap. Repeat the cleansing process about two to five times daily and follow with a light layer of ointment.

After the first night, refrain from re-bandaging and allow the tattoo to breathe. Keeping the tattoo area well-moisturized is crucial for healing.

Apply petrolatum ointment, which promotes healing and is almost never allergenic. It will also keep the area covered, ensuring the tattoo heals efficiently. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, and always wear sunscreen to prevent fading and protect your skin.

Tattoo Aftercare: Beyond Day 5 until it Heals

Don’t Pick or Scratch

As the tattoo starts to peel on the third or fourth day, avoid the temptations and keep the following things in mind.

  • Refrain from picking or scratching the tattoo as it starts to peel.
  • The skin will be sensitive, and picking may irritate.
  • Picking can lead to allergies to lotions and products.

Keep Clothing Loose and Clean

Here are a few tips that you need to keep in mind daily.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent friction against the tattoo.
  • Make sure the clothes are clean, and avoid tight-fitting items.
  • Keep an eye out for any irritation caused by clothing.

Healing Time and Patience

Remember that your tattoo will not heal in a day or two. It takes time; until then, you must take good care of it. Some things that you need to keep in mind are as follows.

  • Healing time varies depending on the size and execution of the tattoo.
  • Tattoos with colored ink may take longer to heal than non-colored tattoos.
  • Allow at least six weeks for your tattoo to fully heal.
  • Be patient and follow the aftercare routine diligently.


Caring for your new tattoo is a vital part of the process. Proper aftercare ensures that your tattoo heals beautifully and remains vibrant for years to come. With the mentioned simple tattoo aftercare tips, you can enjoy your new tattoo and the meaningful art it represents for a lifetime.