Tattoos are a lifetime commitment (or they were until tattoo removal tech came along), and that’s why proper aftercare is crucial for your new piece of art to last.
Some tattoo shops do a great job and provide step-by-step instructions for a day-by-day aftercare routine.
In a nutshell, this routine entails:
- Day 1: Stay away from the tatt as long as you’ve been instructed by your artist. Usually, it's about 1–3 hours, but the wait can go up to 24 hours depending on the size and design of the tattoo.
- Day 2: Remove the bandage or plastic cover from the tattoo. You might notice a mixture of fluids that include ink and blood. This is normal. With clean, disinfected hands, wash the tattoo carefully.
Gently pat the tattooed area dry using a soft towel. Apply an alcohol and fragrance-free moisturizer.
- Day 3–5: Wash the tattoo at least twice a day. Once the area is clean, apply a thin layer of the ointment recommended by your artist.
Avoid using excess ointment as this will clog the pores and potentially lead to a rash that will prolong your healing process.
- Day 6+: Continue with the cleaning routine until the tattoo heals. You’ll notice that the skin around and the tattooed area flakes off as it heals. Do not scrub the loose skin. Be patient and allow it to clear off.
Apart from this basic routine, we've compiled the four best effortless tips that a beginner tattoo lover can implement when taking care of a new tattoo.
Table of Contents
- Keep the Tattoo Moisturized
- Don’t Overclean the Tattooed Area
- Protect the Tattoo From the Sun
- Follow Instructions Given by Your Artist
- New Tattoo Care Don’ts to Follow
- Keep Your Tattoo Vibrant Even After Healing
1 - Keep the Tattoo Moisturized
Here at KOYA Skin, we can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your new tattoo moisturized—a job KOYA Tattoo lotion is specifically made for.
Like any other wound, your tattoo needs moisture to facilitate healing and maintain vibrancy. The tattoo needle punctures your skin when depositing ink (around 1.5 mm below the skin’s surface). Immediately after the process, the area starts drying up as it heals.
However, you don’t want your tattoo wound to dry when healing. A fresh tattoo that’s drying encourages the area to crack, scab, and flake. These conditions can cause damage to a new tattoo, making it lose clarity and color.
In severe cases, these conditions may cause the tattooed skin to peel off, distorting your art, and leaving it looking like a faded, unfinished piece.
To avoid such damage, keep the tattoo moisturized with KOYA Tattoo lotion.
The lotion keeps newly tattooed skin hydrated and elastic, reducing the chances of scabbing or flaking. The natural extracts and vitamin E in the lotion work together to maintain the quality of the tattoo and can even bring an old, dull tattoo back to life.
KOYA Tattoo lotion is also fragrance and alcohol-free, so you don’t have to worry about irritation when using it.
How should you moisturize your new tattoo? When applying a moisturizer to a new tattoo, remember the following guidelines.
- Moisturize 2–3 times a day.
- Be gentle on the tattoo.
- Use the fingertips or a clean, soft fabric.
- Apply the moisturizer sparingly so as not to drench the tattoo.
Moisturizing a new tattoo is an effortless tip that goes a long way to ensure your art stays clear and bright for years. It’s also recommended that you continue applying a moisturizer long after the tattoo has healed as part of your maintenance routine.
2 - Don’t Overclean the Tattooed Area
It’s important to keep a new tattoo clean. However, don't obsess over cleanliness to the point that you end up overdoing it. Overcleaning can irritate and damage a new tattoo in several ways:
- Repeated washing and scrubbing causes the tattoo to swell and become red and painful. This disrupts the healing process and increases the risk of complications.
- Excessive washing strips away the natural oils necessary for keeping the tattooed area moist. These natural oils also aid in the healing process.
- Overcleaning a fresh tattoo damages the ink, causing it to fade.
When cleaning your tattoo, it ‘s recommended that you use clean, lukewarm water. Hot water causes dryness and irritation.
Also, avoid using harsh chemicals like alcohol, scrubbers, exfoliants, and hydrogen peroxide.
These chemicals can cause further irritation and damage to the tattoo, making it discolor either by fading or bleaching the ink. Instead, use an antibacterial soap that’s fragrance and alcohol-free.
Using a soft towel, gently pat dry the tattoo before applying a moisturizer. A fresh paper towel will also work just fine. But remember, a tattoo is a healing wound, so avoid anything abrasive like a washcloth, even if it's fresh out of the laundry.
3 - Protect the Tattoo From the Sun
Did you know that the sun has two types of harmful UV rays? They are UVA (ultraviolet A), and UVB (ultraviolet B) rays. UVA rays cause aging, which involves developing wrinkles, and anytime you get sunburned, UVB rays are responsible for the damage.
When exposed to UVB rays, a new tattoo takes longer to heal. Sunburns will also cause tattoos to fade, especially if exposed for a long time.
You can protect your new tattoo by limiting your exposure to the sun during the healing process. This includes wearing protective clothing over a tattoo if you do have to spend time in the sun.
You can also wear sunscreen after the tattoo has completely healed. Sunscreens have a sun protection factor (SPF) that will help protect your tattoo from sunburns and aging.
Depending on your skin type, go for a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more as they offer better protection and are more resistant to sweat and water.
The table below showcases the effectiveness of sunscreens based on their SPF levels.
However, there are some factors that will influence how long a sunscreen protects your skin. These factors include your skin type, the intensity of the sun, and the amount of sunscreen you’ve applied.
For example, you’ll need to wear more sunscreen at midday because the sun burns more intensely than it does in the morning or evening.
4 - Follow Instructions Given by Your Artist
The most important rule of all is to follow the aftercare instructions provided by your artist. This includes using the aftercare products they recommend. The instructions may vary from artist to artist depending on the following factors:
- The location and size of the tattoo: Larger tattoos or tattoos on certain body parts, like the spine, may require specific aftercare instruction.
- The type of ink used: Certain inks may have different properties that require different aftercare procedures. For example, colored tattoos need more moisturizer because of the difference in ink pigmentation.
- The client’s skin type: Clients with more sensitive skin may need special aftercare instructions.
New Tattoo Care Don’ts to Follow
While the above tips promote quick recovery of a new tattoo and its maintenance, the following don’ts are crucial to adhere to. These are mistakes that beginners often make while nursing a freshly inked tattoo.
- Don’t wear sunscreen until the tattoo heals completely. Exposing a tattoo wound to chemical ingredients in some sunscreens will cause irritation and increase complications.
- Do not swim or soak the tattoo in water for at least two weeks after getting it. Soaking a new tattoo will cause irritation, causing it to bleed or appear smudged.
- Avoid picking or scratching the scabs. This will cause the skin to peel off, scar, or discolor.
- Don’t wear clothes that are tight or rub the tattooed area. The restriction and rubbing will interfere with the healing process.
Keep Your Tattoo Vibrant Even After Healing
Tattoos are often more than just beautiful art that people decide to wear for a lifetime. They tell our stories, represent our memories and beliefs, and have the power to evoke emotions.
It’s therefore important to take care of your new tattoo long after it heals. Help your body art stay healthy and vibrant for years. We highly recommend using KOYA Tattoo lotion for your moisturizing needs.
“Super moisturizing and doesn't irritate my skin. There's no scent, a little goes a long way and doesn't leave any residue/feeling.”
— Samantha Poh
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