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6 New Tattoo Care Tips to a Sharp and Vibrant Tattoo

Updated on May 5, 2011

With proper tattoo care, your tattoos will look brand new for many years. Finally getting that tattoo you've always wanted is exciting. Just don't let it overwhelm your learning to taking care of tattoo properly. Give your body art that tender loving care it needs. Don't you want your tattoos to look sharp and vibrant for years to come? Invest some time to learn the new tattoo care tips here.

Wrap It Up

After finish tattooing, a professional tattoo artist will wipe and clean the tattoo carefully, before applying a coat of antiseptic ointment. He will then dress the tattoo properly like any wound. By the time you leave his shop, your tattooist would have bandaged his newest work of body art nicely.

It's best to leave the tattoo wrapped up for at least 10 to 12 hours if your tattooist gave no instructions. This protects the tattooed skin while it's at its most vulnerable. Done properly, the dressing helps heal the tattoo properly without scabbing. Try not to dress the tattoo again yourself after taking the old bandage off. You may trap dirt and lint under the gauze, thus irritating and even infecting your tattooed skin.

Keep It Clean

Cleaning is a must of new tattoo care. Like any other new wound, fluid will be oozing from the tattoo as part of the healing process. Wiping off the oozing body fluid with a clean tissue is normally sufficient.

You should clean the new tattoo every few hours. More frequently where needed. Before you touch the tattoo, make sure your hands are clean. If you keep your hands clean, you won't have to worry about an infection.

Use Moisturizing Tattoo Care Ointment

New Tattoo Care Ointment
New Tattoo Care Ointment

Keeping your tattoo lightly moist helps in the healing process. It keeps the scabs from falling off too early and leaving unwanted scars. So you want to consider taking care of tattoo with ointment or lubrication.

Besides keeping the tattoo moist, tattoo lubrication can keep it clean and shiny. Be warned though. Everyone have their own ideas of what makes a good lubrication for tattoo after care. There are as many recommendations as there are tattooists.

I'll chip in my own ideas here to get you going:

  • Petroleum-based products are affordable but don't help in healing or preventing infection.
  • Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment which some find to preserve the tattoo ink colors well too.
  • Some hold bacitracin as the big thing in tattoo after care. It fights infection and keeps the tattooed skin moist and healthy.
  • Others have found A&D ointment a good alternative. It has vitamins to promote healing though it doesn't fight infection.
  • Most importantly: No matter how good a recommendation, there are bound to be cases of allergic reactions. So make sure you patch test the ointment before applying it over your tattoos.

Whatever your choice of lubrication, use it frequently. Don't let your fresh tattoo dry out. Wipe the lubrication off when it starts to dry, then apply a fresh thin coat over the tattoo. Rub it gently, or you risk hurting the tattooed skin.

After a week or so, you can use body lotion instead of the tattoo lubrication. Avoid scented lotion. The scent can easily irritate the healing skin.


Care for Your New Tattoos with Moisturizers

Resist the Itch

During the healing process, your tattooed skin is bound to itch. Don't scrub or scratch your new tattoo. Eventually, the tattoo will develop a layer of dry skin over the top. Don't pick at the scabs. Resist the urge to peel or scrub them off. They are nature's way of protecting the newly traumatized skin. Let them fall off naturally.

Picking the scabs off is not only gross, it's also painful. You will bleed and you're just asking for infection. You could end up damaging the tattoo design too. If your tat looks ugly, do you still feel like showing it off?

No Water, No Sun, No Problem

The color of your new tattoo is especially susceptible to fading in the first two weeks. Take these few precautionary steps of new tattoo care to prevent that from happening.

Firstly, you should never hop right in the shower once you get home from the tattoo shop. Soaking in the bathtub is a bad idea too. In fact, avoid spending time in any water. Especially water that has chemicals in it, such as swimming pools or hot tubs, is a BIG No-No.

Keep the tattoo dry for a week or so. But please don't go to the other extreme. Direct sunlight is equally bad to your tattoos. It's a cause of fading too.

Ask for Help

Always ask for help when you're unsure of how to care for tattoo. This is the best tip on proper tattoo care if I do so say myself.

Your tattoo artist is the first resource you can rely on. A professional tattooist would have given you plenty of new tattoo care tips before you left his shop. But that doesn't mean you can't go back to him whenever you run into problems or need clarifications. So give your tattooist a call when in doubt.

Never forget about your own medical doctor either. The tattoist may be knowledgeable, but he's not medically trained. Consult your own doctor if necessary, especially when the tattooed area becomes infected.

Healthy and vibrant tattoos are a great thing to have. The visual body art is a joy that will stay with you for the rest of your life. So it's well worth the time and efforts to properly care for them. Taking care of tattoo to make it healthy and vibrant really isn't that difficult. You can take the first step by simply following the tips on new tattoo care outlined here.

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    • profile image

      Mike 

      5 years ago

      Baby shampoo and your fingers to wash, bacitracin for 2 days and Vaseline intensive care 3 or 4 times a day for 2 weeks... After healed, 100 SPF anytime you are out in the sun..

    • profile image

      Rex 

      6 years ago

      I got my most recent ink by a famous artist in new Orleans. He recommended leaving it bandaged for 12 hour also- saying that this allowed it protected healing time, and could also prevent scabbing. He was right- it's a very large half sleeve. I left it bandaged and then gently washed all of the gunk and goo off under cold running water. I used gentle Cetaphil to wash it- unscented and for sensitive skin. The first day I used bacitracin to keep it lubed and infection free, and then switched to unscented Lubriderm. Worked like a charm. Not only did I have no scabs- it healed with just light peeling- it healed with totally vibrant color ( and this thing is a fully colored sugar skull and roses- purples and yellows and blues )

      I avoided water and sun, and washed it under cold running water 3-5 times a day, applying lotion whenever it felt dry. (steam gets out impurities, and at first in a new tattoo- that includes ink- so don't bathe or take hot showers!)

      3 years later and it's looking like new still.

      Everyone's bodies are different, the bottom line is: don't get an infection, and treat it for what it is, new skin healing over an abrasion. Be gentle!

    • profile image

      katie 

      6 years ago

      Everyones skin is difflerent. Different lotions affect people differently. I use bepanthen. A baby nappy rash antiseptic cream and its the best. Afrer I finish a tube, I use paw paw ointment. Bloody fantastic!

    • profile image

      karen 

      6 years ago

      what about using silicone lube? Conditions skin so it won't dry out. Thoughts?

    • profile image

      Shannon 

      6 years ago

      I found when your tattoo starts to itch , you can put listerine in a spray bottle and lightly spray your tattoo and it helps relieve the itching. Plus it's an antibacterial !!!

    • profile image

      courtney 

      6 years ago

      I just got my first tattoo and my artist is very experienced and told me to NEVER use neosporine. It'll heal the wound faster then the ink can set in and it'll cause the ink to be drawn out of the skin thus causeing fading. This is some of the worst information I've heard and the sad fact is I was googling alternatived to the 15$ packet of after ink that I bought from the shop and none of these are it.

    • profile image

      Heurix 

      6 years ago

      i would say Tattoo Goo is the best one and if you can't find one Neosporin is the alternative.. I've been using those every time i get tattoos done.. now mine are all good..

    • profile image

      Wanna See My Tattoo 

      7 years ago

      Nice Caleb, That sounds like you have it down pretty well. Never us A&D, Vaseline, or petroleum based products for the simple fact that these products over moisturize the skin meaning, the more moisture the tattoo gets the longer it takes for it to heal and the more the ink will come out. You need to give the tattoo time to breathe as well as keeping a little moisture on it.

    • profile image

      Caleb Anderson 

      7 years ago

      A tattoo is one of the most dynamic symbols of self-expression ever

      created and it’s important to rely on the expert guidance of your artist

      for the proper aftercare of your life-long treasure

      You were tattooed in a modern studio with sterilized instruments and pigments. After the process, the artist may have dressed the tattoo with a small amount of Tattoo Goo. The long life of your tattoo depends upon the care you give it during the first few days and weeks.

      Quality parlor operators worldwide have helped compile these simple directions for quick healing. However, we urge you to consult your own artist for any special instructions related to the aftercare of your specific tattoo.

      · Do not re-bandage the tattoo

      · Do not apply Vaseline or petroleum based products

      · Do not apply alcohol

      · Do not rub, scratch or pick at the tattoo

      · Do not expose the tattoo to direct sunlight, UV tanning lights, swim or soak in sauna, steam bath or bathtub for two weeks.

      · Be sure clothing touching your tattoo is clean and soft.

      A tattoo is a simple abrasion. It may bleed a bit at first but it’ll stop within a couple of hours. Most artist recommend the tattoo be kept bandaged over-night or at least for two to five hours. If gauze sticks to the skin, we the area with lukewarm water, then remove the gauze carefully.

      Once the tattoo is exposed, wash it carefully in cold water, gently applying antibacterial soap with fingers (never use a cloth) to remove all surface blood. Rinse with cold water, pat dry with a clean towel and air dry for 15 minutes. Then gently apply a thin layer of Tattoo Goo Salve sparingly. Repeat 3-4 times a day for 7-10 days.

    • profile image

      Veronica 

      7 years ago

      I have 8 tattoos and I found these tips somewhat helpful, it wasn't anything I have never heard before but its always good to go back to the basics. Only thing is I only use Aquaphor to heal my tattoos =]

    • profile image

      Katie 

      7 years ago

      I have two tattoos and I use a&d ointment both weeks just apply a thin layer so it doesn't get too moist, about twice a day and mine healed beautifully.. Too much moisture can make the ink spread sometimes.. And if you have serious questions you should talk to your tattoo artist.

    • profile image

      lisa 

      7 years ago

      gently wash, rinse,apply small amount of tattoo goo twice day for 2,3 days dont soak dont scratch, if in doubt call your tattooist and book a time to pop in and have them look at it, it could be allergic reaction to the cream( Ink leaks out normally in small amounts in the first few days) use common sense people it is an open wound!

    • profile image

      Jess 

      7 years ago

      A few of these are pretty seriously off the mark... As in, "Woah, you're about to screw up your tattoo and possibly give yourself an infection" off the mark.

    • profile image

      Djay 

      7 years ago

      I just got a front half sleeve piece on my left shoulder above my elbow ... I use A and D cream... I try not to get it wet in the shower but do I use soap to clean it and wipe it down?? Or just leave it for a week then wash it??

    • profile image

      Ash 

      7 years ago

      I have got 3 tattoos already. Getting the 4th big on on my back this weekend. Bacitracin is the best when it comes to keeping the tattoo moist and keeping away from infection.

    • profile image

      vicky 

      7 years ago

      Hey I hv been tattooin since 18mnths many times I ended up clients with bad healing prblm and many times it was jus fine ....... Does this is also related to skin to skin.............

    • profile image

      Jody 

      8 years ago

      I used h2Ocean afer 3 days in small amounts and my tattoo ink bubbled up and came off as I slept 2 tatts 700 bucks and both look like crap and have to be re-done I have 4 others that I used A&D for 2 days then aloe vera and they still look good after 18 years Im not happy at all now I have to wait a month until these heal to re-do them. both are on my forarms and I look like an idiot h2Ocean ruined my new ink

    • profile image

      NICOLE 

      8 years ago

      I JUS GOT A TATTOO RECENTLY OF A BUTTERFLY ON MY BACKBONE AND MY TATTOOO ARTIST SAID USE A&D OINTMENT FOR 3 DAYS DEN UNSCENTED LOTION......HE SAID IF I USE THE A&D OINTMENT MORE DEN 3 DAYS THE TAT WILL GET MESSED UPP.....Y DOES EVERYONE ELSE USE THE OINTMENT FOR 2 WEEKS???

    • profile image

      nero 

      8 years ago

      well nicw tips i dont have any for now but willing to av one so that why I'm looking 4 so many tips to prevent my tattoo to come .lol

      well but another question dat I cant found answer for how to knw the perfect coulor 4 a tattoo

    • profile image

      Bossman 

      8 years ago

      Rubish info!!!

    • profile image

      tatfreak 

      8 years ago

      its pretty strange that one of the tips says that neosporian is an ointment most found to help preserve tatooo ink well , when my tattoo artist and many others say do not use neosporian on tattoos because they fade tattoo ink and also cause spottings and irritation.

    • profile image

      JHORN 

      8 years ago

      What i find funny is how people think that any moisturiser is good for a tat!!!!! dont be dumb use products designed for tats... the best one in Africa by miles is 'Tattools' its got such good properties we use it on sunburns, insect bites and rashes! 100% Natural 100% South African! dont worrie you might find it soon world wide!

    • profile image

      ReP CaLi 

      8 years ago

      yea i just got a big ass one one my back amd my dude told me keep it on for an hour to three hours.

    • profile image

      Tim 

      9 years ago

      i just got a tattoo recently and all artists that ive talked to(abt a dozen plus) say to keep it only wrapped for about 2-3 hours. any longer and you dont allow any air on the tattoo to promote the healing. wrapping it longer is alright but only if you are going to have it under dirty conditions.

    • profile image

      Kassie 

      9 years ago

      I have 3 tattoos and these are the most helpful steps compared to that which i was given by the tattoo artist himself!!!

    • profile image

      Kim 

      9 years ago

      Okayish tips I've read better.

    • profile image

      Shappy 

      10 years ago

      How do you know its great help if you've never gotten a tattoo?? Effin idiot.

    • profile image

      Abhinaya 

      10 years ago

      I have never got myself tattooed but a great help for those who would like themselves tattooed.Good tips.

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