Looking after your tattoo is SO SO important! I literally can not stress this enough. With good aftercare will come GREAT results. Below are some examples of what can happen due to poor aftercare, and what you should/should not do in order to heal your tattoo properly.
Failure to look after your tattoo while it is healing and throughout the rest of your life, can mean you get bad results such as;
- That it will fade or look patchy, resulting in further sessions being needed
- Longer healing times
- Infections that could lead to needing medical treatment.
Your new tattoo is an open wound and it is essential that you keep it clean and dry. The following steps are what we usually reccomend.
- leave cling film on for a minimum of 4 hours, to allow bleeding to stop. Wrapping also acts as a barrier between your fresh tattoo and bacteria, allowing you to travel home safely.
- once home and after 4 hours, wash hands and remove the cling film. It is normal for the clingfilm to have blood/plasma/ink in it, and on your skin.
- with warm water, gently wash any remaining ink/plasma from the tattoo. Take your time and use a gentle antibacterial soap if necessary.
- Pat dry with kitchen roll. This is absorbent and more hygienic than a hand towel.
- start to apply balm 1-2 days after tattoo has begun to heal. This is when your skin needs to start replenishing moisture.
- Wash your tattoo daily, and re apply a thin layer of balm once fully dry.
- Apply your favourite aftercare balm thinly, two - three times a day, for a minimum of two weeks. Once healed moisturiser will help re-hydrate your skin, and keep the tattoo looking vibrant.
- It is normal for swelling/bruising to occur, and you may find that the skin becomes dry/flaky/scaly while healing.
- Always wash your hands before washing/applying balm to your tattoo.
- Take any dressings off before you get home. You may be at risk of bacteria infecting the new wound.
- Leave your cling film on for more than 8 hours.
- Use heavily perfumed or coloured soap on your healing tattoo, as it may cause irritation.
- Soak in water, for example in the bath, or washing up. This can cause the flakes/scabs to become spongy and the ink to be drawn out. Showers are fine and it is important to keep it as clean as possible. Your skin needs air to heal.
- Pick at scabs! (Or scratch it) It may be satisfying, and the itchiest thing you’ve ever experienced, but this WILL draw ink out and leave you with a patchy tattoo, and potentially scar your skin.
- Re-wrap your tattoo - again, your skin needs air to heal, and the balm will help replenish moisture. However if you feel you may be at risk of exposing the tattoo to dirt or dust, wrap with cling film for no more than 4 hours at a time. Clean and allow to fully air dry before re- wrapping again.
- Absolutely no swimming in pools or open water/hot tubs, etc. Germ central! And chlorine will irritate and potentially fade your new art!
- Expose to direct sunlight for at least a month or two. Your skin is healing in layers back over the pigment, and sun exposure will fade your tattoo. (Apply high factor sunscreen throughout the years to keep it looking fresh!)
Essentially, keep your tattoo clean and dry until it heals - around 2 weeks. Plan ahead so that work or holiday’s will not interfere with your healing time.
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There are many different brands of aftercare balm - my favourite and what I use on my own tattoos is Diablo Aftercare Balm.
They are a small, UK based company that have designed this product solely for healing tattoos. It’s vegan, skin friendly formula means I can also use it during tattoo time. It helps reduce irritation and redness, and also helps soothe sore skin.
Available to buy direct from their website, or in the shop at your appointment.
If you would like to learn more about their products and for even more great aftercare advice, visit their website -
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I also offer Dermalize Pro (at additional cost) - a second skin solution to protect your tattoo during the entire healing process.
Please ask at your appointment for further info about Dermalize Pro
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