Tattoo Aftercare Instructions
For traditional healing WITHOUT Saniderm, follow these steps, OR if wearing Saniderm, skip ahead to the Saniderm instructions below
1. Leave your bandage on until you get home, or up to 2-3 hours. When you get home, remove your bandage and gently wash with mild soap and warm water. Avoid soaps with perfume and dye.
2. After your initial cleaning, apply a hot washcloth compress for a full 20-25 minutes. This can be done by standing under your shower head and running hot (as you can stand) water over a rag on your tattoo, or outside the shower as long as you are reheating the compress throughout the 20-25 minutes. Do this hot compress for the first night ONLY. Soaking the tattoo after this initial hot compress is not recommended, and showers should be kept brief.
3. After you complete your hot compress, allow your tattoo to air dry or pat dry with a lint-free paper towel. You may notice some fluid on your tattoo after drying. This is to be expected in the beginning, but if you do see this fluid, blot it off before going on to step four.
4. Once dry, apply an extremely small amount of a healing ointment such as Aquaphor Healing Ointment or Redemption Organic Tattoo Aftercare. Redemption can be purchased here at the studio, and Aquaphor is available at just about any pharmacy or grocery store. If you can see a shiny layer on top of your tattoo, you’ve used too much. Thin the ointment out across your skin as much as possible. Again, the fresh tattoo might weep a bit of fluid in the first day or two, so feel free to blot off this fluid with a clean paper towel and use CLEAN hands to smooth your ointment back out across the tattoo. Leaving this fluid sitting on your skin will lead to scabbing and delayed healing.
5. 2-3 times per day (depending on your filth level), gently wash your tattoo with the unscented mild soap, let air dry, and reapply a small amount of your ointment. Again, blot if your tattoo looks shiny. You do not need to re-bandage your tattoo at any point unless recommended for special circumstances. If you must wear clothing over the tattoo, make sure it’s something that will not leave lint stuck to your tattoo. Sticking can happen, and if it does be sure to soak the fabric to loosen rather than tear off the fabric.
6. Around day four, you tattoo will begin to flake. At this point your tattoo is ready to switch to an unscented, hypoallergenic skin moisturizer. Curel, Aveeno, Eucerin, and Gold Bond all make lotions that meet these criteria. Again, it is very important to use as small of an amount as possible to prevent any clogging or suffocation.
Continue with the moisturizer as needed until your skin has returned to its normal state. This will take approximately 2-3 weeks from the day the tattoo was done.
If we cover your tattoo with Saniderm, leave this in place for a total of 2-4 days. If the bandage comes loose but isn't falling off, you can reseal the barrier with medical tape.
Some goo will accumulate under the Saniderm, and it may be black or colorful. Don't be alarmed, it's just plasma, lymph, and excess pigment that your body would otherwise turn into a scab if left out to dry. You can wash this goo off when it's time to remove the Saniderm.
Sometimes the bandage can spring a leak. If this happens, gently press out some of the fluid and reseal the bandage with medical tape. The fluid typically stops in 2-3 days.
When it's time to remove your bandage, wash your hands and slowly peel off the Saniderm. It helps to stretch the bandage away from your tattoo rather than peeling it over the tattoo. Then wash your tattoo with a mild, unscented soap, and pat dry with a clean paper towel.
At this point, you can either use a healing ointment such as Aquaphor or Redemption, or go straight to an unscented moisturizer. Use your judgement at this stage; if the tattoo isn't sensitive or producing any more fluid, a moisturizer is fine, but if it's still tender it's best to use a healing ointment. Whatever you use, just make sure it's a very small amount.
When your tattoo reaches a flakey stage it's definitely lotion time. Wash and reapply 2-4 times per day. Again, use your judgement. If it feels dry, reapply. Continue this process until your skin returns to normal, approximately 2-3 weeks.
Be aware your tattoo may look irritated for a few days. It will flake, peel, and possibly scab. DO NOT PICK ANYTHING. This is completely normal during healing. Let flakes fall off naturally to avoid scarring or loss of color.
Do NOT allow your tattoo to soak for 1-2 weeks: ex. Pool, ocean, hot tub, bath, etc.
Do NOT allow direct sunlight or use a tanning bed for at least 2 weeks. After your tattoo is healed, sun block will keep your tattoos bright.
We cannot stress this enough, do NOT pick or scratch at your tattoo. Touch-ups are not free-of-charge when we can tell you haven’t cared for your tattoo properly. Trust us, we can tell.
Call, text, or email us with any questions regarding the healing of your new tattoo. The internet is full of bogus aftercare tips, and what works for your friends may not be what’s best for you. Follow these directions carefully and contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Feel free to stop in 2-3 weeks after getting your tattoo so we can follow up and make sure you’ve healed properly. One touch-up is free within a year of when the tattoo was completed. We also love to take healed photos for our portfolios if you’ll be so kind as to allow us.