Caring for your new tattoo is pretty straight forward, and every artist will have slightly different advice. In most cases, the goal is simple – speed up healing and prevent infection. For a more in depth guide, see our tips below.
#1 LEAVE YOUR BANDAGE ON FOR A MINIMUM OF 1 HOUR:
Leave your bandage on for a minimum of 1 hour. (we would rather you left it on longer as opposed to washing it in a dirty bar bathroom) DO NOT REBANDAGE
#2 AFTER REMOVAL OF BANDAGE WASH THOROUGHLY WITH HOT WATER:
After removal of bandage wash thoroughly with hot water and preferably a mild, liquid, UNSCENTED, soap. (dial, equate, etc...)
#3 PAT DRY WITH A CLEAN PAPER TOWEL:
Pat dry with a clean paper towel and let air dry for one hour or more before applying aftercare.
#4 APPLY A THIN LAYER OF PRODUCT:
Apply a THIN layer of product (FRAGRANCE FREE HAND LOTION, TATTOO GOO) and massage in to the skin to the point where it just barely looks moist. DO NOT GOOP ON A PILE OF A & D OINTMENT. If using lotion, make sure the product has the words “FRAGRANCE FREE” on the label, otherwise there may be a small amount of chemical additive to make it smell just a little better and that is what will irritate it. We do not recommend A&D ointment because of its high petroleum content. This will block your skin from breathing which is the most important thing for not only healthy but especially healing skin. It needs to be able to breathe to avoid clogging pores, etc.
#5 KEEP YOUR TATTOO CLEAN WITH SOAP AND WATER:
THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF HEALING YOUR TATTOO IS KEEPING IT CLEAN WITH SOAP AND WATER! It is a mere matter of common sense. If you are out and about, working, getting dirty, wash it more than if you are sitting on the couch playing X-Box.
#6 REPEAT THIS PROCESS FOR A WEEK OR TWO:
Repeat this process for a week or two depending on the how the tattoo looks. It will peel like a sunburn after a few days. (It is totally normal to see colored flakes of skin shedding) If it does scab in a few areas this is nothing to worry about, just let them fall off on their own. DO NOT SCRATCH OR PICK AT THEM and do NOT over-saturate in the shower. This could soften them up too much and cause them to come off prematurely which will leave blank spots that will need touching up.
#7 NO SUN, NO SOAKING IN WATER OF ANY KIND:
DURING THE HEALING PROCESS....NO SUN, NO SWIMMING POOLS, NO JACUZZIS, NO OCEAN, NO SOAKING IN WATER OF ANY KIND!
#8 AFTER YOUR TATTOO IS HEALED:
AFTER YOUR TATTOO IS HEALED....USE SUNBLOCK, THIS WILL KEEP IT LOOKING LIKE NEW LONGER.
#9 THE BETTER YOU TAKE CARE OF THE GLASS/SKIN THE BETTER THE PICTURE/TATTOO LOOKS UNDERNEATH:
Think of it this way, you are looking THROUGH the skin at the ink underneath much like a picture in a frame with glass over it. The better you take care of the glass/skin the better the picture/tattoo looks underneath.
#10 AFTER YOU ARE ALL HEALED:
After you are all healed (usually about 2 weeks) stop in and say hello so the artist can give it a good looking over to make sure it does not need to be touched up and to get a nice healed portfolio picture. All touch up work is included in your original price for up to a year or so, unless you desire to CHANGE the tattoo in some way. If this is the case there may or may not be a small fee.
THANK YOU FOR CHOOSING INK JUNKIE USA
Pain is really relative. Everyone has a different tolerance for pain. We're not going to kid you, though - it does hurt. Just not that much. Some have compared it to a "hot scratching feeling". But, people would not be returning again and again for tattoo after tattoo if it hurt that bad! Most of us are not into pain, but the beauty of the tattoo and the pride associated with wearing it far outweighs a little pin-stick here and there.
Although you can get a tattoo any time of the year, your skin gets a lot more abuse during the summer with swimming, tanning and just being exposed to the elements more. Winter time is really the best season to get a tattoo.
Getting a tattoo when your immune system isn't at 100% isn't a good idea. You're going to need your strength and your white blood cells to heal your tattoo, something your body won't be able to do if it's already doing battle against virus and bacteria. Not to mention the fact that it's very inconsiderate to bring your illness into the tattoo studio and risk passing the germs onto others, particularly your artist. If you have an appointment, call and reschedule for when you're feeling well again.
The biggest issue we address with clients (especially young people) is what kind of career they want for the rest of their life. If a teenager gets a tattoo on their wrist, hand or neck, the rest of their life and employment future will be very controlled by those tattoos. So many young people close the door on opportunities by jumping into a tattoo they KNOW they want, and they often don’t consider how it could potentially take their dreams away. Sure you can cover some of them by wrapping your hair around it, or wearing long sleeve shirts when it’s Plus 40 outside, but why not reconsider the placement of your tattoo if it will cause so much grief for you down the road? We often turn down (or rework) tattoos or placements that we think people will regret. If you have second thoughts after getting it done Tattoo Removal doesn’t feel nice, takes a long time to achieve full removal and as the process goes along it ends up costing more than your tattoo did! We always ‘give the speech’ when young people come in wanting wrist tattoos, and we are often thanked by our clients afterward for talking them out of it, or suggesting alternate placements.
This is a very common question that definitely needs to be addressed because most people don’t know what to ask. People often believe that if someone uses a clean needle on them they are safe. This can be a very dangerous and life changing assumption!! Any tattoo parlour NEEDS TO use single use needles, that should be a given, but there are many other factors involved that can compromise your safety if your tattooist doesn't know better, or care to follow proper sanitary procedures. When you think about it, there are more than just the needles that come into contact with blood and potentially dangerous viruses. Is there any possible blood contact with inks? Tubes (hollow steel guides for the needle bar)? Chairs? Work station equipment? Counter tops? Taps? If there IS contact is it being professionally sterilized? Has your artist been educated in Bloodborne Pathogens or taken any courses? Are they a member of any of the Professional Tattoo Associations? Is your tattooist changing their gloves any time they touch anything unsterile like doors, cupboards, garbage cans, etc? Are they rooting through drawers or leaving the room and then touching your tattooed area with the same gloves? When I was first starting out I would often go through 7 or 8 pairs of gloves on a single client if I forgot to have some of my supplies out and ready, and Johnny would be next to me like a parrot saying, “Change your gloves…now you touched the cupboard door again, change your gloves…okay, now change your gloves..” Your artist should be alert and coherent to avoid any oversights like this that could put you at risk for infections or cross-contamination. Any tattoo shop in business must have a proper sterilization process and equipment to be able to tattoo legitimately. They also legally need to send test strips away to the government regularly, which will indicate whether your equipment is regularly reaching full sterilization. Tattooists place the strips to ‘sit in’ on a cycle in the sterilizer machine and then send them away, where they are housed for an incubation period and tested for various growths. Once the test is complete the business is sent a letter informing them if the test was approved and reply with either a “Pass” or a…..well, I’m not entirely sure what the protocol is on a fail because thankfully I’ve never seen one. . (Feel free to ask your tattooist for their last “spore test results”; we keep ours on the wall. If your tattooist hesitates about showing this, that is a BIG Red Flag!!). If tattooists don't follow sterilization routines with their equipment they will likely not be in business for very long. These points are very important, and are often overlooked (or misinformed) by amateurs tattooing from their homes or basements. For the most part you can usually tell whether you are in a professional environment if you pay attention, but if you're ever unsure do your research, ask questions, ask around and compare with several other shops. Stop in, talk to the artists, look around and get a feel for how the business is being run. This will always tell you a lot more than just phoning to make an appointment. The bottom line is, when you go to a 5 star restaurant you’re not ever going to know whether the chef washed his hands, but professional environments are much more likely to follow proper sterilization procedures..
If you work in a formal office setting, you may want to think twice before getting ink on openly visible areas such as your face, neck, hands, fingers, or wrists. Instead, consider locations that are easy to cover with clothing or accessories, including your:
upper or lower back
calf or thighs
top or sides of your feet
If your workplace is a little more lenient, you may be able to rock a new tattoo behind your ear, on your shoulders, or on your wrists.
Yes We Do And Tattoos Aftercare Matters!
A tattoo is more than just a piece of art and a way to assert your personal style. It’s a medical procedure, because the artist uses a needle to insert the ink underneath your skin. Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections.
Caring for your tattoo can prevent these complications and ensure that it heals properly. Both you and your artist play equal roles in this process. Along with going to a licensed and reputable tattoo artist, you need to take care of your new tattoo at home.
Figuring out how to care for your tattoo can be tricky, though. Many states don’t require their tattoo artists to provide aftercare instructions. And among the 30 states that do require it, the artist often decides which information to provide.
Keep reading for a day-by-day guide to help you care for your tattoo, tips on which products to use, and more.
How to care for your tattoo
Aftercare starts as soon as your tattoo is done. The artist should apply a thin layer of petroleum ointment over the tattoo, and then cover the area in a bandage or plastic wrap. This covering prevents bacteria from getting into your skin. It also protects the tattoo from rubbing on your clothes and getting irritated.
Keep the dressing on for a few hours. It will help absorb any fluid or excess ink that leaks from the tattoo.
After a few hours, you can remove the bandage. Wash your hands first with lukewarm water and soap. Then gently wash the tattoo with fragrance-free soap and water.
Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth. Apply a small amount of petroleum ointment to the tattoo. You can keep the bandage off at this point to let your skin breathe.
While your tattoo heals, you should:
wear sun-protective clothing whenever you go outside
call your tattoo artist or doctor if you have any signs of infection or other problems
cover your tattoo with sunblock until it’s fully healed
scratch or pick at the tattoo
wear tight clothing over the tattoo
go swimming or immerse your body in water (showers are fine)
Tattoo aftercare by day
How quickly you heal depends on the size of your tattoo and how intricate it is. Bigger tattoos will stay red and swollen longer, because they cause more trauma to your skin.
You’ll come home from the artist with a bandage over your tattoo. After a few hours, you can remove it. You should ask your artist for specifics about how long to wait.
Once the bandage comes off, you’ll probably notice fluid oozing from the tattoo. This is blood, plasma (the clear part of blood), and some extra ink. It’s normal. Your skin will also be red and sore. It might feel slightly warm to the touch.
With clean hands, wash the tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Apply a petroleum ointment. Leave the bandage off so the tattoo can heal.
Days 2 to 3
Your tattoo will have a duller, cloudy appearance by now. This happens as your skin heals. Scabs will start to form.
Wash your tattoo once or twice a day and apply a fragrance- and alcohol-free moisturizer. When you wash, you might notice some ink running into the sink. This is just excess ink that’s come up through your skin.
Days 4 to 6
The redness should start to fade. You’ll probably notice some light scabbing over the tattoo. The scabs shouldn’t be as thick as scabs you get when you cut yourself, but they will be raised. Don’t pick at the scabs — this can cause scarring.
Keep washing your tattoo once or twice a day. Apply moisturizer.
Days 6 to 14
The scabs have hardened and will begin to flake off. Don’t pick at them or try to pull them off, let them come off naturally. Otherwise, you could pull out the ink and leave scars.
At this point your skin may feel very itchy. Gently rub on a moisturizer several times a day to relieve the itch.
If your tattoo is still red and swollen at this point, you might have an infection. Go back to your artist or see a doctor.
Days 15 to 30
In this last stage of healing, most of the big flakes will be gone and the scabs should be going away. You might still see some dead skin, but it should eventually clear up too. The tattooed area might still look dry and dull. Keep moisturizing until the skin looks hydrated again.
By the second or third week, the outer layers of skin should have healed. It may take three to four months for the lower layers to completely heal. By the end of your third month, the tattoo should look as bright and vivid as the artist intended.
To show a prospective mentor your artistic abilities, you should think about bringing a portfolio of your best work. This can be drawings or paintings, but can also be pictures of wall murals, sculptures, or anything else artistic you have done. If you have had any formal training, bring along any certification you have received. This is not absolutely necessary though - if you have enough raw talent, your mentor will help you to hone these skills over the time of your apprenticeship.
Finding a Good Tattoo Artist to Learn From
There are many good tattoo artists out there - some good, some not. You must find a strong, able tattoo artist with plenty of experience, usually at least 5 years, preferably more. You obviously need to find one that is willing to take a budding new artist under their wing and train them.
You will want to find someone that you believe you can get along well with, as you will be working side by side with them for an extended period of time.
Although there are a few artists out there that still offer free apprenticeships, these are few and far between. The other end of the scale are the artists that are more interested in your money than providing you with an education. You will more than likely be looking for a happy medium between these two - a price you can deal with and make it worth the artists time for training you. If you happen upon an artist that offers apprenticeship at no cost you have found a real gem. But don't think this means a free ride! You will have to work very hard and be as dedicated to your training as they are.
And as with any other financial arrangement, be sure to sign a contract before all is said and done. This will protect you in the event that your apprenticeship does not turn out as you expected. Be sure you fully understand the terms of the contract before signing it..
If you are serious about becoming a tattoo artist, you will need do things the right way. The right way is through an apprenticeship: learning from a skilled artist with hands-on experience.
Finding an apprenticeship within your means that will provide the proper training to get you into the business of tattooing is your goal.
You are looking for an apprenticeship that will last long enough to provide you with the proper skills needed - not just in tattooing - but also in sterilization, proper cleaning, and business management.
Along with these skills you may also learn things such as needle making, prepping, making stencils and other aspects of the business. A complete apprenticeship cannot be accomplished in just a few months. A good mentor won't even let you begin tattooing until you have learned all these other things.
You will usually have surface healing within 7-10 days and normally the tattoo will be healed completely in 30 days