Aftercare: Treat your New Tattoo Right

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You’ve spent countless hours, months – possibly years – thinking about what you want your first – or next – tattoo to be. It seems you’ve spent just as much time nailing down the perfect artist to achieve the look of your dreams. After the day comes and your tattoo is finished, it’s essential to take care of the artwork you’ll likely carry with you for the rest of your life.

Attention to Detail

Properly caring for your tattoo while it’s in the healing process, and beyond, is crucial to keeping your art looking its best.

First, ask your tattoo artist what he or she recommends for your aftercare. They have plenty of first-hand knowledge and know if you may need something special tailored to your skin type or the tattoo’s location. They’ve watched your skin react through the tattooing process. At C&S Tattoo & Medical Supply, we make sure tattoo artists are stocked with quality aftercare and supplies, including ointments, derm shield and much more.

A Step-By-Step of What to Expect

On Day 1, your tattoo will likely be wrapped in plastic and bandaged by the artist. It should stay covered for several hours (ask how long is recommended) before the covering is removed. Upon removal, your skin will ooze with plasma and/or blood and will likely be red and feel irritated, almost like a sunburn. Clean your hands and then wash the tattoo with antibacterial, fragrance-free soap and rinse with lukewarm water. Be sure not to scrub. Gentle is the way. Pat your tattoo dry with a kitchen paper towel and dispose of it.

Now you’ll want to let your tattoo breathe. However, if you anticipate sun exposure or that your tattoo will rub against the fabric of clothing, wrapping it will help to protect it during this time. Protective and breathable tattoo film works especially well.

On Days 2 and 3, you’ll continue to wash as instructed above daily. If your tattoo scabs over and stops oozing, stop covering it (if you have been). If you notice excess ink draining away in the washing period, you can increase to washing two to three times daily, but try not to do too much.

When you notice scabs forming and the tattoo seems to be dulling in appearance, this is a sign of healing, likely occurring about a week post-appointment. At this time, you can begin applying moisturizer and/or ointment as directed by your tattooist.

Only apply a small amount and spread it over the tattoo evenly. Less is often more and if you feel itchy or dry, you can always add a bit. Always let your scabs fall off naturally. NEVER pick them or scratch your tattoo as you can damage it.

Should you have questions or if your tattoo or the skin around it becomes red, sore or warm to the touch, contact your artist or your doctor as these are signs of a possible infection developing.

Want to learn more about how C&S Medical & Tattoo Supply? Call us at 800.843.3443, or visit

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