How To Take Care of a Tattoo

Once you’ve got your brand new tattoo it’s now on you to make sure you care for your tattoo properly! To minimize your need for touch ups for new pieces, it’s important to follow your artist’s aftercare instructions to a T.

For new tattoos, it’s especially important to wait for your skin to heal entirely before attempting any touch ups. The good news is your tattoo artist will set you up with the products and the instructions needed to make sure your skin is moisturized and properly protected during the healing process.

Your tattoo shop will stock products which are especially designed to use with your tattoo for the long haul so you can avoid any unnecessary work and make sure your tattoo aftercare is maintained well.

The Tattoo Healing Process

In many ways getting a tattoo is like any other minor medical procedure. And, like a medical professional, your tattoo artist will send you home with instructions to make sure the tattooed area the skin surrounding it will completely heal.

Generally, here’s what you expect in the following weeks after you get a new tattoo.

Week One

After your artist puts a bandage on your tattoo, you’ll keep it on from anywhere between a few hours to a few days. It’s not uncommon that your new tattoo will ooze or weep a little bit. It may also be a little bit red. If it continues to look red or ooze after a week, make sure you check back in with your tattoo artist.

Week Two

Around week two (or perhaps even a bit earlier) your tattoo scabs and will likely itch. Your tattoo is essentially a wound, and as new skin cells begin to develop a common response is itching. Try not to scratch the area or cause any additional trauma. This not only helps avoid infection but it can also make sure your fresh ink isn’t damaged.

If the itching becomes uncomfortable, instead of itching, use a bit of cool water or a wash cloth on the area and gently pat.

Week Three

After a few weeks you may notice that your skin is beginning to peel. This is just dead skin sloughing off. But, don’t worry about your new ink — it won’t flake off! This is good sign that your skin is healing properly and it’s all just a part of the natural healing process.

tatto care

It’s really important to keep your tattoo covered for as long as your artist recommends. From there you can:

  1. Remove bandage with care so you can let the tattoo breathe

  2. Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

  3. Gently wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and antibacterial, fragrance free soap.

  4. Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth or paper towel.

  5. Start your moisturizing routine and use the prescribed ointment (which should be alcohol free) on the tattoo.

  6. Repeat 2-5 times a day or as recommended by your artist.

Here are some critical tips you should keep in mind during your aftercare routine:

  • Avoid sun exposure. Even pieces you’ve had for a while should be protected from the sun and uv rays when possible. Wear sun protective clothing over your healing tattoo and do not put sunblock on your tattoo until it’s completely healed. Bigger tattoos may need extra coverage.

  • Keep your tattoo completely dry. After you get a new tattoo do not go swimming or get in a hot tub. As a rule, to keep tattoos safe, avoid total submersion in any water body.

  • Wash carefully. While submersion is a no-no, showers are typically fine. Post tattoo-sesh, keep the dressing on for as long as your tattoo artist recommends (which could be just a few hours.) The dressing is used to help stem excess ink, fluid, or leaks from the tattoo.

  • Apply ointment. While you’ll want to keep your tattoo moist, there is such thing as too much ointment. Over-use can clog the pores and cause irritation and interfere with the healing process. It’s a good practice to apply a thin layer of the ointment that’s recommended by your artist. Continue using the recommended ointment until the tattoo has healed completely.

  • Avoid tight clothing. Especially during the healing process, this can cause unnecessary friction and skin irritation or potential stress on the tattoo area.

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions

Remington Tattoo Tattoo Shop

Built in 1914 and restored in 2011, Remington Tattoo Parlor + Gallery is an industrial, modern meets apothecary artist’s studio. We’re located in the North Park district in the heart of San Diego, near the corner of 30th and Upas, at 3009 Myrtle Avenue San Diego, CA 92104.

Visit our unique shop, meet our artists and find the one that is right for you and your tattoo. Our Latest Works page showcases our most recent tattoos and behind-the-scenes shots that don’t make it to our portfolios. To schedule an appointment with one of our artists at Remington, contact us today.