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Skin Care Essentials After Getting A Tattoo: Everything You Need to Know (2023)

Getting a tattoo is a big decision. It's a permanent addition to your body, and you want to ensure that you're taking care of it properly so that it heals correctly and looks great for years.

You've made a big decision and will now have a beautiful piece of art on your body for the rest of your life. But there are a few things you need to know about skincare tips after getting a tattoo. As with any new wound, it's important to take care of it so it heals properly and doesn't become infected. 

Since the skin is the largest organ in our body, it is the first barrier to environmental influences and infections. Therefore it is necessary to take care of it and keep it healthy. As an expert source of information, the Heliotherapy Institute can tell you everything you need to know about phototherapy and its beneficial effects on skin treatment.

This article was created in partnership with them and will tell you everything you need to know about skincare essentials and proper healing after getting a tattoo.

What does skin care after getting a tattoo include?

After a tattoo, it is necessary to take care of the skin because it is a wound. It involves three basic elements:

  • Cleansing. You should often clean your tattooed skin with mild, perfume-free soap and dry it with a clean cotton or paper towel.
  • Moisturizing. It is probably the most critical step in tattoo care. It helps the skin to heal correctly and recover without scarring. 
  • Protection. Since the skin becomes sensitive after ink application, the sun's rays can damage it and cause the tattoo to fade. Therefore, it is necessary to apply sunscreen with an SPF of more than 20.

Contact your tattoo artist or doctor if you have problems with the healing process.

Skincare essentials during the healing process

After applying a tattoo, it is essential to care for the skin to ensure proper healing. It is a slow process and depends on several factors:

  • The area of skin;
  • The size of the tattoo;
  • The intensity of the ink;
  • Features of the tattoo style;
  • Individual skin features.

Every day is essential during tattoo healing. So read below about it.


Day 1

The first day after getting a tattoo is crucial. Because it is the time when the skin starts the healing process. Your tattoo artist will apply the antibacterial ointment and wrap your tattoo in plastic or gauze to protect it from dirt and bacteria. Here are some steps in skincare:

  • Remove the bandage. Your tattoo artist will recommend how long you should keep the application on. It depends on the size and features of the tattoo. But usually, it is between 2 and 24 hours.
  • Clean gently with the soap, and pat it dry for 10 minutes.
  • Put on the healing lotion or ointment. Keep in mind to put a thin layer of it because the wound needs to breathe. 

During the first day, you may see a small amount of blood, plasma, and ink that appears periodically on the tattoo. Also, tattooed skin can be swelled and red. Don't be alarmed. It is normal! Just follow the instructions for follow-up care.

Days 2-7

The tattoo will continue to ooze and seep on days two through seven. Keep it clean! 

  • Wash the tattooed area twice a day using mild soap and warm water. Pat dry with a clean towel. 
  • Apply a thin layer of healing ointment or lotion after each cleansing. 

By day seven, your tattoo will likely be starting to peel and flake off, similar to a sunburn, which is entirely normal. The peeling should stop within two weeks. 

Days 8-14

During this time, you must moisturize the tattooed area as the peeling continues.

  • It is essential to resist the urge to pick at it, as this can lead to infection or other complications. 
  • Instead, keep the area clean and moisturized. Be sure to pat the area dry instead of rubbing it.
  • In addition, you'll need to continue protecting your tattoo from the sun by wearing sunscreen or clothing that covers the tattooed area. 

Day 15-30

The tattoo almost heals, but keeping it clean and moisturized is still essential. 

  • Gently wash your tattoo with soap and water. 
  • Apply a thin layer of unscented lotion or ointment to keep the area moist but not oily. 
  • Avoid picking or scratching at the tattoo as it heals.
  • Repeat this process twice a day until the tattoo heals fully.

How to choose the best products for tattoo aftercare?

There are a lot of products on the market that you can use for tattoo aftercare. However, choosing the right product for your skin type and tattoo is essential. Here are some tips:

  • Choosing a hypoallergenic product free of fragrances, dyes, and other potential irritants is crucial.
  • Choose a product that will help protect your tattoo from infection while it heals. A good option is an antibacterial ointment.
  • Once your tattoo has healed, you can switch to a lighter lotion or cream to keep your skin hydrated. Just be sure to avoid products containing petroleum or other ingredients that can trap heat and moisture, leading to tattoo fading.
  • If you are prone to keloids (raised scars), you must talk to your dermatologist or tattoo artist before getting a tattoo. They may recommend a product like silicone gel sheets to help prevent Keloid formation.

Keep in mind these tips, read the composition, and find your favorite products for tattoo aftercare.

We suggest the following products for your aftercare routine:

Hustle butter deluxe

Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit

After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer

Check out our full list here.

And if you're considering using a tattoo Numbing Cream, we got a full guide to help you decide.

What to do with infection

Usually, tattoo healing comes up without any complications if you take proper care. But if you think your tattoo may be infected, it is important to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. Infections can cause serious health complications and even death if left untreated. Some signs of infection include:

  • Redness or swelling that keeps getting worse;
  • Increased pain or tenderness around the tattoo site;
  • Fever or chills;
  • Yellow or green pus from the tattoo site;
  • Scabs that do not heal properly.

If you notice any of these signs, see a doctor immediately. Infections can quickly become life-threatening, so it is always best to exercise caution. 

Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent infection, as follows:

  • Choose a reputable tattoo artist who uses sterile equipment;
  • Make sure the tattoo artist opens new needles in your presence;
  • Do not touch the tattoo without first washing your hands;
  • Follow instructions for tattoo aftercare.

Main don'ts during the healing process

If you want your tattoo to heal quickly and without complications, try not to do these simple things:

  • Don’t pick at your tattoo! It will cause damage and may result in infection. 
  • Don’t expose your tattoo to sunlight. It will cause the colors to fade and may also lead to infection. 
  • Don’t soak your tattoo in water. It includes pools, hot tubs, lakes, rivers, etc. Soaking will again cause fading and increase the risk of infection. If you must shower, keep the area clean and dry afterward. 
  • Do not rub – pat gently with a towel.
  • Don’t wear tight, constricting clothes. They can lead to itching and damaging sensitive tattooed skin.


With proper care, your tattoo will heal quickly and beautifully. We told you everything you need to know about taking care of your tattoo during the healing process. It means keeping the area clean, moisturized, and protected from the sun. Be sure to follow these steps for optimal results! And if you have any additional questions, be sure to consult with your artist or dermatologist. 

Cover photo by cottonbro.

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