Keep Your Tattoo Away From:
Pet Dander (any sheets, blankets or couches)
Pools, Lakes, Ocean, Rivers, Hot Tubs
Dirt & Anything that may contain unhealthy bacterias
Keep it cool & dry between moisturizing sessions
THE HEALING PROCESS
You’ll come home from the tattoo studio with a bandage or plastic wrap over your tattoo. After a few hours, you can remove it. Recommendations will vary and may be based on the type and size of your tattoo. 1 or 2 hours should be fine in most cases.
Once the covering 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 fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer. Leave the covering off so the tattoo can heal.
By now, your tattoo will have a duller, cloudier appearance. This happens as your skin heals. Scabs will start to form.
Wash your tattoo once or twice a day, and apply a fragrance-free 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.
The redness should start to fade.
You’ll probably notice some light scabbing over the tattoo. The scabs shouldn’t be as thick as the scabs you get when you cut yourself, but they’ll be raised. Don’t pick at the scabs — this can cause scarring.
Keep washing your tattoo once or twice a day. Apply a fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer.
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 fragrance-free and alcohol-free 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 tattoo artist or see a doctor.
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’ve healed. It may take 3 to 4 months for the lower layers to completely heal.
By the end of your third month, the tattoo should look completely healed and as intended.
Potential Side Effects / Negative Reactions
to tattoos / ink
A tattoo that isn’t properly cared for can get infected. Infected skin will be red, warm, and painful. It may also leak pus.
If the equipment or ink your artist used was contaminated, you could get a bloodborne infection, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus, or HIV.
There have also been reports of other infections, such as nontuberculous mycobacterial skin infections, being transmitted through tattoos.
If you’re sensitive to the ink your artist used, you may develop a red, itchy skin reaction at the site.
According to a 2019 studyTrusted Source, red dyes are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction.
ResearchTrusted Source shows that red dyes, along with blue and black dyes, are also more likely to cause nonallergic skin reactions such as photosensitivity.
Damage from the needle or from picking at the tattoo can cause your body to produce scar tissue. Scars can be permanent.