How to Take Care of a New Tattoo: Tips from Experts

Finally, the design you’ve had on your Pinterest board for months has now become a reality, and your skin is donning a cool new tattoo. But what’s next? What can you do to care for your tattoo so it heals correctly and looks beautiful? This article contains all you need to know about aftercare for tattoos.

Are you considering getting inked? Whether it’s your first tattoo or your newest, proper tattoo aftercare is critical to avoid unwanted scarring and infections. It may seem like a scary prospect, but tattoo aftercare isn’t something you should be worried about. Especially if you pay close attention and follow your tattoo artist’s advice. Here, we’ve compiled the top short- and long-term tattoo care advice from the pros, covering everything from how to clean it to signs it’s time to see your doctor.

How to care for your tattoo

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Follow the advice of your artist when you are tattooed

The instructions for aftercare vary from studio to studio. Even artists working in the same room may have different opinions about which healing methods work best. Be sure to pay close attention to the instructions given by the artist. Many will give you a booklet with their recommendations that you can take home.

Gently wash your tattoo

Your first concern after getting a tattoo is to clean it. The dressing should be removed the next day or as instructed by your tattoo artist. After that, wash the tattoo using lukewarm water with non-perfumed soap. Use a clean cloth to dry the tattoo.

Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturizing crème

Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturizing cream to your tattoo. Your artist will recommend this. According to your artist’s recommendation, you may either recover it with clingfilm/gauze or leave it open to the air. Studios will usually recommend that you clean your studio 3-5 times daily.

Make sure the tattoo is clean and dry

Keep the tattoo dry for at least one month. Avoid soaking it in water (showers and baths are fine, but not baths). If your clothing is going to rub against it, cover it with gauze/clingfilm or medical tape.

Avoid direct sunlight

Keep it out of the direct sun, unless necessary. Healed tattoos, particularly colored ones, can fade in the sun, so if you’re going to be out in the sun, make sure it’s covered in a high SPF.

Don’t pick

As the tattoo heals, it may scab or peel slightly. Picking at the tattoo may cause it to fade or become completely absent. Itchy skin can be treated by lightly rubbing it instead of scratching. It should last for a few weeks. If it bleeds uncontrollably or remains reddened around the tattoo, or it feels hot to the touch, you should contact your artist. Infected tattoos are extremely rare, but they can happen, and it’s always worth getting it looked out for if you’re concerned.

You can also go to the studio to get touch-ups if needed

If you do happen to lose ink, your studio should retouch it for free – terrible tattoos and service lead to bad reputations, so it’s in their best interest to ensure you’re satisfied with the end outcome. If you have any questions, return in 6 weeks.


While tattoos may require some TLC after the procedure, there are a few things you can do to ensure your tattoos heal properly. After the scabs have faded and the skin on the tattoo surface has the same texture as the rest of your skin, you’ll know your tattoo is healing properly. If you are unsure, consult your doctor.

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