Intuitive Tattoo Aftercare Guide
The tips below will help ensure you have a smooth, comfortable healing process. Every person's body heals differently, so, if you notice your tattoo healing a bit slower or more quickly than this timeline, that is a-okay! These numbered days are just a rough estimate. Your tattoo will heal in it's own time just the way it's meant to.
After most sessions, Justine will apply a medical-grade bandage over the tattooed area. (If the multi-day adhesive bandage isn't used after your session, a few extra tips are at the bottom of this page) But, when it comes to the fancy bandaging - for the first few days, let your bandage do the work! Leave your bandage on for three to five days during this initial healing process. It's breathable and waterproof. You can wear clothes over it too. During this time, avoid exercise that makes you sweat, sun exposure, saunas, and soaking in water.. Just spend time relaxing. You don't want to sweat - this would trap sweat underneath the bandage which would not make your new tattoo very happy and it affects the adhesive in the bandage (which can help it come off more easily - so you can sweat right before you need to take off the bandage)
Small pockets of liquid (ink and/or plasma) may form beneath the bandage. This is totally normal. Leave them be. If you feel any discomfort or irritation, or if any soap, sweat, or dirt gets trapped between the bandage and your skin, you can remove the bandage early. It is a luxury, not a requirement. Even if you remove the bandage just hours after your session, you'll heal just fine as long as you keep the area clean by following the advice below.
The bandage has a strong adhesive, so remove it slowly. We have found these two methods work best. First, hop in a warm shower to open up your pores.
Then you can:
A) pull a corner of the bandage away from the bandage running parallel to your arm. This will stretch the bandage and the adhesive to allow it to comfortably lift off your skin. (The motion is similar to how a command strip for wall hooks works.)
Or you can also:
B) pull the bandage back over itself in the direction of your hair growth. Pulling upward on the bandage (perpendicular to your skin) can be a bit uncomfortable.
After removal, use a mild liquid soap to gently cleanse the area. If there is any adhesive still on your skin, that’s a-okay. It’ll come off on its own. When you hop out of the shower pat your tattoo dry with a sanitary paper towel (do not rub it). Then, spread a thin layer of a simple moisturizer over the tattoo. Massage it into your skin gently. Less is more. Don’t apply too much moisturizer - let the tattoo breathe. Always wash your hands before touching your new tattoo and, if it touches a dirty surface, be sure to give it a wash right away!
Now bandage free, wash and moisturize your new tattoo twice a day - morning and night. We recommend simple, natural products to avoid any possible irritation from additives and strong, scented oils. We offer an all-natural, hand made and bottled aftercare kit. Or, we can make recommendations of other products you can use. As your tattoo heals, it may start to feel tight and itchy. You can apply witch hazel to soothe itching. Icing the tattoo is quite soothing as well! (Just be sure to use a sanitary barrier between your ice pack and the tattoo - a paper towels will work just fine.) The tattoo will begin to peel like a sunburn. Bits of color may peel off. This is just a normal part of the healing process. As you gently apply moisturizer each day, small bits of peeled skin will naturally roll away under your fingers. A very important note - do not pick or scratch the peeling skin! This could result in color loss. Allow it to come off naturally. At this point, exercise is okay. Sweating will not hurt your tattoo. After exercising, wash and pat your tattoo dry with a clean paper towel. Then, moisturize away. Apply additional witch hazel and moisturizer as needed. Wear loose clothing that covers your tattoo from the sun. Relax these few days. Allow your body to feel good and heal well.
AFTER DAY 7
Your tattoo will continue to peel, itch, and visibly heal until about day 14. Each person's body heals differently. Some more quickly, some take an extra day or two. Around week two or three or so, you may notice the tattoo seems faded. Not to worry! This is another part of the healing process. The tattoo is finding its home in your skin. The top layers of your skin will naturally settle as the healing process comes to an end and your tattoo will look vibrant and beautiful. It may take a full 6 weeks to fully settle, but after just 2-3 weeks your skin will feel like it’s normal self. From there, keep it protected! Tattoos age as your skin ages so sunscreen and moisturizer are your friend.
Healing with Non-Adhesive Bandaging
Step 1: Leave the temporary bandage on for 3-4 hours (for plastic wrap bandages) or 8 hours (for padded bandages).
Step 2: Take the bandage off and wash the tattoo with unscented, mild soap, making sure to massage soap into the tattoo and cleanse off all the plasma and ink that may have gathered on the tattoo. Your skin should feel like your “normal skin” again when the area is fully cleaned.
Step 3: With clean hands, gently pat dry (don’t rub) with a fresh paper towel, never a washcloth or cloth towel.
Step 4: Pour witch hazel onto a new paper towel, then pat lightly over tattoo to soothe the area.
Step 5: Apply a mild, unscented lotion to the tattoo. Just a light layer will do. Applying too much may suffocate the tattoo.
Step 6: Repeat Steps 2 through 5 twice a day - morning and night.
→ Do not scratch the tattoo if it becomes itchy! This could damage your new tattoo.
→ Do not submerge into any large bodies of water, hot tubs, pools, personal baths, etc. for at least two weeks! Bodies of water are full of bacteria that could cause an infection! Infections can be a serious risk to your health, and often damage the tattoo.
→ Don’t wear any clothes that can constrain or rub against the tattoo (tight clothing) for at least one week after your session.
→ Don’t let your pets or children touch the tattoo for at least one week. Again, do all you can to avoid the risk of infection.
→ Avoid excessive sweating and intense workouts for at least one week after receiving the tattoo. You will irritate your new tattoo, increase the risk of infection, and possibly damage the art! If you do find yourself sweating anytime within the first few weeks after your sessions, be sure to properly cleanse the tattooed area immediately.
→ Avoid direct sunlight during healing, and, once the tattoo is fully healed, apply sunscreen diligently to the piece for optimal aging & longevity. Tattoos age as our skin ages, so incorporate tattoo skin care steps into your daily routine and your art will be as beautiful as can be for many years to come.