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Tattoo Aftercare

Many artists will recommend you take care of your tattoo different ways. This can be due to their personal experience on the subject and/or knowledge about their specific tattooing style and process. Our recommendations come from our collective experience giving and receiving tattoos, as well as general consensus in the scientific community regarding wound healing and tattoo skin care.

For Saniderm & Other Self-Adhesive Bandages: 

Leave bandage on for up to 48 hours. Bandage is water-proof, shower as you normally would and wash/dry around the bandage area. Should the bandage leak or start to come off before 48 hours, remove in a warm/hot shower and wash with unscented soap. If the bandage becomes red, irritated, itchy and/or puffy, remove immediately in a warm/hot shower and wash. Do not strenuously exercise with bandage on, sweat will pool under the plastic.

The bandage helps to not stain bedsheets, clothes or trap lint or dust in your tattoo as it heals. It works as an additional barrier for bacteria during the initial days of healing. 

Dark fluid collection underneath the bandage is normal, this is plasma fluid your tattoo releases as a byproduct of wound-healing. For tattoos with full color saturation or shading, fluid collection will be much higher than for linework tattoos. The amount of surface area the tattoo covers will also affect fluid buildup.

When it’s time to remove the bandage, do it in a warm-hot shower. This will help open pores and loosen the bandage adhesive. Peel the bandage from one edge, across (not upwards) until it is completely off. Bandage removal should not be painful. Using unscented mild antibacterial soap, make a good lather with your hands and gently wash the tattoo until all slimy fluid washes off the surface of the new tattoo.

Rinse tattoo and pat dry (never rub) with a clean towel or paper towel.Do not re-bandage the tattoo or wear tight clothing, jewelry, purses or bags that can irritate the tattooed area.

You may not need lotion for the first day or two, wait until the tattoo looks and feels “thirsty.” Always apply lotion to a clean tattoo, never in the middle of the day as that may trap bacteria and dirt particles in the healing skin. If applying after washing, wait about 10 minutes for the tattoo to dry completely before applying lotion. When the tattoo feels tight or dry like a sunburn, use a small amount of water-based, fragrance-free lotion; just enough to moisturize. Do not use an excessive amount of lotion as this will complicate the healing process. Eventually, the tattoo will become itchy, use lotion to alleviate the itching, NEVER pick or scratch your tattoo.

DO NOT use any petroleum-based products like A&D ointment, Aquaphor, Vaseline, Neosporin…etc. We also sell our own all natural mushroom infused tattoo aftercare balm called Helix. Helix uses the natural antibiotic and healing components of powerful adaptogenic mushrooms to reduce healing time. Helix is available in both a gentle balm and aloe vera base. We have it in stock in the studio if you'd like to purchase at the time of your appointment.

My recommendations for soaps and lotions are as follows: Helix, Lubriderm, Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe or any unscented soap or lotion. Read the ingredients on your product, if you see a lot of preservatives and alcohols, choose something gentler. If you have sensitive skin, use a mild hypoallergenic brand you are comfortable with, as long as it contains no petroleum or petroleum derivatives as this will not allow your tattoo to breathe. 

For Traditional Plastic Wrap

If we have opted to put food grade plastic wrap on your tattoo instead of the second skin bandage, leave the plastic wrap on overnight and remove in the morning. If for any reason you need to wash the tattoo before bed, re-bandage with clean plastic cling wrap. This prevents your new tattoo from sticking to your sheets and oxygenating, creating thick scabs which pull ink out. Then continue to follow instruction above after removing bandage.

What To Avoid 

  • Sun exposure

  • Submersion in water (example: pool, hot tub, ocean, lake, jacuzzi, etc.) [Shower with running water is fine]

  • Exercise or strenuous physical activity that elevates your heart rate and/or cardiovascular output

  • Excessive sweating  

  • Unsanitary situations where bacteria and sediment could come into contact with your new tattoo. A new tattoo is an open wound and can make you very sick from contact with bacteria. If the tattoo becomes crusty, discolored, hot or extremely painful, seek medical attention immediately.

**Exposure to any of these can lead to suboptimal tattoo healing, infection, thick scarring or loss of ink once your tattoo heals

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