Keeping Your New Tattoo Clean

Now that I may have caught your attention with my previous article about getting a tattoo, I feel it only right to follow up with something that may be even more important than finding the right shop: How do you take care of your new tattoo? Different shops will tell you different things, so keep in mind what your artist will tell you but also go out and look into it yourself.  

There is no foolproof method for caring for your tattoo, and it can begin to feel tedious at times but it is entirely worth it. When you first get your tattoo, it may feel hot and swollen. If you can, keep it elevated and iced to keep swelling and fever away from the area. If elevating your tattoo is not an option, at least keep it iced.

Make sure to care for your tattoo with clean hands. Before you do anything, wash your hands and use only clean materials to care for it. It isn’t worth risking an infection. When washing, use an antibacterial liquid soap, and be gentle. Don’t rub too hard on it at risk of damaging the ink or causing yourself pain. After washing, pat it dry with a clean, soft cloth or a paper towel.

Wear something clean to bed the first night, but not something that’s too important, as your tattoo may ooze during the first night, and it could stain something. Keep your tattoo wrapped at night as well, to prevent it from sticking to bedclothes or getting scratched against anything.

Peeling is normal after the first few days, and whatever you do, do not pick at it! It could damage the tattoo and disrupt the healing process. Avoid picking and scratching your tattoo during the process. As tempting as they both may be, it isn’t worth the damage that could be done.

Do not soak your tattoo or expose it to direct sunlight for three weeks after getting it done. You can shower with it, but keep indirect contact with water. Trust me; hot water can hurt A LOT.  Wash with lukewarm water and antibacterial soap, and keep sunblock on your tattoo after the three-week mark. There is sunblock made specifically for tattoos, so keep an eye out for it.