Tattoo Aftercare

  • Remove the bandage carefully in one or two hours.  DO NOT apply a new bandage.
  • Wash tattoo immediately after removal of bandage with mild soap and lukewarm water.  Carefully pat dry with a clean, disposable paper towel.
  • Apply a thin coat of Anchor Steam Healing Salve or Bacitracin ointment 5 –6 times daily for the first day or two.  Do not use a thick coat of ointment because the skin needs to breathe.  After a day or two, you can switch to a good lotion or A&D Ointment to keep it moisturized (if you’re using Bacitracin).  Most people prefer the Anchor Steam Healing Salve during the whole process.  Make sure the tattoo does not dry out.  We recommend Lubriderm, Keri, or Vaseline Intensive Care lotion.  Do not use lotions with fragrance.  If the lotion burns, don’t use it.  To speed the healing process, you may place a compress of a paper towel soaked in very warm water on the tattoo several times a day.  When cool, blot the area dry and apply your healing ointment or lotion.   
  • Avoid sun exposure on your new tattoo – this includes tanning salons.  The UV rays can do damage while your tattoo is healing.  It is a good idea to wear a good sunscreen like a number 50 or higher after the tattoo is healed, as long term sun exposure or even a few good burns will age your tattoo prematurely.  Anchor Steam is not responsible for sun-damaged tattoos.  
  • While showering is fine, it is also very important that you not go swimming or soak in a bath while your tattoo is healing (at least two weeks!) because the tattoo will soak up water and more scabbing will occur as it dries.  Also, dirty water or strong chemicals like Chlorine from a swimming pool can pose an infection risk.  
  • Your tattoo will go through several stages while it heals.  For the first few days, it will seem a little weepy or sweaty.  This is normal, but you can blot it with a clean paper towel so it does not stain your clothing.  Apply ointment or lotion after doing this so it does not dry out, though.  Around Day 4 or 5, the tattoo will start to look dry and flaky and you will notice colored flakes starting to come off.  This is normal – DO NOT pick or scratch the fresh tattoo because that will produce scarring and pull out little pieces of color.  Just keep it moisturized through this stage.  The flakes will fall off on their own, and when the skin is smooth and not shiny anymore, the tattoo is healed.
  • Certain parts of the body can take longer to heal, such as high-flex areas like a wrist or foot. Make sure there is nothing rubbing on your new tattoo while it is healing, like belts, tight pants, bra straps, purses, backpacks, etc., because these can damage the tattoo.  It is normal for a new tattoo to itch – applying lotion will help.  
  • To avoid a post-procedure infection, keep your tattoo away from dirt, dust and chemicals.  If you have to work in a dusty environment or out in the sun, keep your tattoo under loose and comfy clothing while it’s healing.  In some cases, allergic reactions or sensitivity to certain ointments or lotions that you might use can occur – this generally looks like little red bumps.  If this happens to you, just switch to a milder lotion and keep an eye on it.  Remember to always use thin coats.  If you notice the area becoming very bright pink or if there is any thick puss, clean it carefully with antibacterial soap and use Bacitracin ointment.  If there is no improvement or it gets worse, consult your health professional just in case.  
  • Dry skin can make the tattoo look a little cloudy.  After your tattoo is healed, it’s a good idea to apply lotion every so often to keep the skin around the tattoo healthy.  
  • If you have any further questions about your new tattoo, please don’t hesitate to call.  401-847-4155