Tattoo Aftercare

How do Tattoos Heal?

When your skin gets tattooed, your body springs into action to heal the wound. First, the body works to limit blood loss by reducing the amount of blood flowing to the wounded area. Proteins in blood, such as fibrin, work with the blood platelets already in place and plasma to form a protective covering called a scab. While your skin regenerates underneath the protective layer, the scab protects the wound from outside infection. The wound is gradually healed as new granular skin tissue begins to generate. Starting at the edges of the wound, the new tissue forms and works its way toward the centre until it has covered the entirety of the lesion. Once the wound underneath has sealed itself with another skin layer, the scab will slough off on its own.

What is the process for taking care of a new tattoo? 

There are so many different instructions given when healing a tattoo! We always recommend clients with several tattoos that have a preferred method and products to use, to trust your own judgement! But for those who are new to tattoos or have not had good experience in the past with healing, here are the following general guidelines:

  • Keep the bandage on for the length of time instructed by your artist. (the length of time can vary depending on the design, size and placement of the tattoo, between 1-5 days.) 
  • Remove the bandage with clean hands. For those using second-skin, saniderm, or hypafix it is best to remove them in the shower or with running water. 
  • Once the bandage is removed, keep your tattoo dry and clean! Wash your tattoo at least twice a day. For example, once in the morning and once before bed. 
  • Begin to apply moisturizing products when your tattoo starts to feel itchy, do so sparingly. Otherwise, try to let your tattoo dry-heal as much as possible. 

Some tips on products to use during your healing period: 

  • Cleansing: Try using a natural BAR or liquid soap with limited ingredients. (Brands such as dr.bronner's, Soap Works and Aveeno are good for sensitive and hypoallergenic types of skin.) 
  • Moisturizing: Begin to apply any balms, creams or lotions when your tattoo starts to get very itchy! (day 2-4) Please do so sparingly - use a thin layer, no more than twice a day! More natural products such as raw shea butter, any water based lotions, or products specific to tattoo aftercare are highly recommended! Fragrance free, hypoallergenic products overall. Do not use vaseline or any petroleum-based products, sunscreen, or any oils that are not infused!
  • For Black and POC clients: Suggested brands or products that are good for healing your tattoo are; True African Black Soap, tea tree oil SoapWorks bar of soap,  Raw Shea Butter or mango butter (imported from Ghana) whipped with small amounts of aloe vera and various natural oils (tea tree oil, calendula, avocado oil), Aveeno, and/or Nivea. 

Things to Avoid after getting a new tattoo:

  • excessive sweating such as working out, saunas/hot tubs etc.
  • No submerging in water until your dermis is closed and healed. (1-4 weeks) Showering is okay!
  • Try to avoid any sun exposure. Although faded tattoos are inevitable (all of our skin regenerates and sheds as we age) Exposing a new tattoo to the sun can greatly affect the healing process. It is recommended to apply natural forms of SPF and/or sunscreen. 
  • No scratching or picking off your scabs! This can potentially cause the ink to be pulled out of the skin along with any scabbing.

Remember, your tattoo artist DOES NOT act as a medical professional.  Any suggestions given by your artist or Eden Tattoo Studio Inc. are not to be construed as or substituted for advice from a medical professional. Talk to your family doctor or a physician if you would like more clarity on the healing of your tattoo.