Your artist will provide verbal aftercare instructions for proper healing of your new tattoo, but in case you need a reminder on instructions or are researching the aftercare process prior to your appointment, please read through our suggested aftercare tips below. If you have any questions regarding aftercare for your new tattoo that are not covered below, please do not hesitate to contact us or your artist directly.
second skin bandaging:
Our most commonly used bandaging is second skin. Our artists use their own preferred brand of second skin, but aftercare for this bandaging is generally the same from brand to brand. This type of bandaging should be kept on for 3-6 days, during which time it should be monitored to make sure the bandaging isn't lifting and the seal around the tattoo isn't broken. You may shower with this bandaging but you want to avoid soaking it in water, such as in a bath.
If the seal of the bandage is broken, such as edges lifting or if there is any noticeable leakage occurring, you will want to remove the bandage to prevent any bacteria from getting underneath the bandage. This can potentially cause a infection and you want to avoid that!
You may notice a buildup of fluid under the bandage while it is on, and this is totally normal! This is a buildup of blood and plasma, and it might look muddy due to pigment from the tattoo, but it is a normal part of the healing process.
To remove this bandage, gently peel the second skin similar to removing 3M tape from a wall. Some types of second skin can be removed easily in the shower, but for some brands, the warmth of the water will leave some residue from the adhesive of the bandage on the skin and make cleaning the tattoo more challenging. Should this happen, adhesive residue can be removed with olive oil. Make sure to clean the tattoo well after the adhesive is removed!
other types of bandaging:
We have other types of bandaging available, such as absorbent bandage pads, that your artist can use for you if you have adhesive allergies or do not like the second skin bandaging. While most second skin bandaging is hypoallergenic, still some skin types can be reactive to it. Please inform your artist if you prefer alternate bandaging!
cleaning your tattoo:
Prior to removing your bandage, make sure your hands are clean and sanitized. After you remove your bandage, we recommend cleaning your tattoo in a warm shower using a gentle antibacterial soap (such as Pears). Use your hands to gently clean the tattoo, removing any plasma, blood or ointment. Any lingering plasma will feel a bit slimy to the touch and you want to make sure the tattooed area is completely clean. Any plasma residue is left on the skin can create scabs during the healing process.
You should gently wash and clean your tattoo every few hours for the first 24 hours after removing your bandage, and at least twice a day for the next couple of days. After each wash, you can lightly moisturize your tattoo with tattoo aftercare ointment, vitamin A, D &/or E ointment, gentle unscented lotion, or coconut oil, as per your preference. Please remember that less is more when applying any kind of aftercare! Applying too much will prevent your skin from breathing and may affect the healing quality of your tattoo.
Please remember that your new tattoo is technically an open wound. Be mindful of your environment and to unwanted elements of which your tattoo may be exposed. Do not let any friends, family, children, strangers or any animals or pets touch your fresh tattoo as this can expose your open wound to unwanted bacteria and may cause an infection. Keep your tattoo clean and protected and touch it only with clean freshly washed hands.
Make sure your bedding is freshly cleaned and is cleaned frequently during the healing of your tattoo. Sometimes tattoos will transfer some pigment, blood and/or plasma so make sure the bedding you have won't be ruined in the case of some fluid transferring!
While we do recommend washing your tattoo to keep it clean, we advise against soaking your tattoo. Showers are totally fine, but if you are a bath person we recommend keeping your tattoo from being submerged. If your tattoo is in a location where you are not able to keep it out of submerged water in order to enjoy a bath, you will have to forego baths until your tattoo is healed.
Swimming pools, hot tubs, steam rooms, saunas, oceans, lakes and/or rivers should be avoided until your tattoo is fully healed as these can be a breeding ground for bacteria and can cause serious damage and/or major infections.
While your tattoo is healing, you want to avoid direct exposure to the sun, as well as tanning beds. Sunblock or tanning lotions/sprays (or spray tans) should not be applied while your tattoo is healing as there is a higher chance of skin irritation or reactions during this time. Once your tattoo is healed, to keep the vibrancy of your tattoo you should prolonged periods of exposure to the sun whenever possible, but if the tattoo will be exposed frequently and for prolonged periods of time you will need to apply quality sunblock to protect your tattoo and keep the pigment as vibrant as possible.
the healing process:
Your tattoo will take approximately 4-8 weeks to heal, depending on the style of the tattoo, the size of the tattoo, the body placement, and how your own individual body heals the tattoo.
During the healing process, your tattoo may peel and some spots may scab slightly despite following all proper aftercare procedures. Peeling and mild scabbing is a normal part of the healing process, just do your best to let your body heal your tattoo and don't pick at any peeling skin or scabs as you may inadvertently lift some pigment from your tattoo!
Tattoo pigment sits in the second layer of the skin, so during the tattoo procedure the top layer of skin is damaged, and this is the skin that peels during the healing process- very similar to a mild sunburn. You will find that the tattooed area will become itchy as your body creates a new top layer of skin, but do your best not to scratch! Gentle moisturizing can help alleviate some of the discomfort, or gentle rubbing or patting, but please try not to scratch as you may inadvertently lift pigment or irritate the skin further.
If you find you are experiencing excessive scabbing, this can be due to several factors. If the surrounding skin is not red, hot and/or painful, you can apply a clean, warm compress to the scabbing area for approximately 5 minutes 2-3 times a day to soften the scabs and they will eventually come off on their own. Sometimes when they lift, they can remove some pigment, but this can be fixed with a touch up appointment once your tattoo is fully healed.
If the surrounding skin is red, hot and/or painful, this can be a sign of infection. The body can still heal the area well on its own, but for safety precaution purposes you may want to check in with a doctor or pharmacist for their medically educated opinion and advice. Your artist can offer suggestions if you reach out to them with concerns, but artists are not medically trained to treat infections so it is better to err on the side of safe!
*please inform your artist if you are having issues with the healing of your tattoo and please keep them updated- we want to know you're okay!*
if there are concerns during the healing process:
Sometimes healing doesn't go as smoothly as we hope it will and this can be due to so many factors. The best route to take if you have concerns during the healing is to be honest and keep your artist informed so that they can work with you to the best of their ability.
Factors that can contribute to poor healing are: not following aftercare advice and protocols, poor health or weak immune system, poor eating/drinking habits, high stress/anxiety, poor sleep, medical issues, some medications, unforeseen reactions to aftercare products.
Other factors could be from difficulties during the tattoo procedure, such as: excessive use of numbing agents, inability to sit still (making it difficult for the artist to execute their work smoothly), consumption of pain killers prior to or during the procedure, an unforeseen reaction to products used during the procedure, inexperience of the artist if they are still in their apprenticeship.
Or a combination of the above.
We understand it can be frustrating when tattoos don't heal the way we hope they will, but we strongly advise against jumping to conclusions and throwing blame as there can be so many factors that can cause issues while healing. Please work with your artist as we only want our work to heal well and that you have the quality tattoo you paid for!
*please note that offensive language and/or poor communication may result in your artist no longer wishing to work with you, so please be considerate and mindful in your communication!*
questions or concerns: