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  • Writer's pictureDerrick Lim

Tattoo Aftercare

Updated: May 1, 2020


• If bandage is provided, keep the bandage on for at least 2-3 hours. You can keep it overnight as well, the larger the tattoo, the better kept covered for the first sleep.

• Taking anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen would help with swelling and bleeding for larger tattoos while it's fresh.

• Remove bandage and clean the tattoo using warm (not hot) water indirectly gliding across the tattoo surface. Directly splashing the water on the tattoo can cause irritation.

• Gently pat it down using a fresh non-shared towel/paper towel. Do not scrub.

• Apply a thin layer of aftercare cream or moisturizer. Do NOT use Polysporin at all costs.

• If you work at a job that requires physical labor and/or excessive/repetitive movement, it's probably best to cover your tattoo during work with saran wrap.

• After work remove the wrap, rinse with warm water, pat it down dry with clean towel and apply a thin layer of aftercare.


1) Do clean your tattoo

2) Do apply moisturizer

3) Do wrap your tattoo while going out

• Do go through the cleaning routine 3 times a day during the first 3-7 days of healing; rinse using warm water and clean non-shared towel/paper towel, gently pat down dry and apply aftercare cream or moisturizer.

• Do wrap it up if you're going to work in a fast-paced and/or labor intensive environment.

• Do keep your tattoo lightly moisturized.

• Do take ibuprofen (anti-inflammatory) if your tattoo is swollen.

• Do wear casual loose clothing to keep it from rubbing against the tattoo.

• Do change your bedsheets/pillowcase to avoid infection from old skin.


1) Do not let your tattoo get dry

2) Do not overwork or sweat

3) Do not submerge your tattoo in water

4) Do not let fabric rub the tattoo

• Do not go to the gym for at least 1 week after a fresh tattoo. Excessive movement and sweating will impede the healing process.

• Do not let your tattoo get dry during its healing stages.

• Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight for at least a month.

• Do not go into bodies of water (public or not) and don't soak/submerge your tattoo in water.

• Do not wear clothes that would constrict the tattoo's ability to stretch and breathe.

• Do not pick and scratch at your tattoo while its healing. You can clap the skin slightly to alleviate the itch, otherwise just ignore the itch.

• Do not use a shared finger-dipping aftercare/moisturizer with someone else, that is cross contamination.

Keeping The Tattoo Looking Good

• Avoid direct exposure to sun, if not possible, apply sunblock. (it works)

• Avoid damaging the tattooed skin on or around it.

• Apply moisturizer whenever it's dry, never over apply cream.

• Keep pores clean, acne can damage tattoos.

• Stay healthy to keep healthy skin.

• Never use polysporin to heal damaged skin on the tattoo.

Signs Of Infection

• Redness after a week since the tattoo session.

• Excessive prolonged swelling after a week since the tattoo session.

• Color change in the skin/scab.

If infected, keep your tattoo clean by rinsing with warm water and antibacterial soap. If the infection persists, contact your family physician/doctor for proper treatment.

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