Tattoo Aftercare

For best results please read and follow all instructions carefully.


At the end of your appointment

Your tattoo artist will cover your tattoo with a bandage. Leave this covering on for 1 to 4 hours to prevent any bacteria from entering your new tattoo. Once the tattoos’ initial bandage is removed, DO NOT cover it again during the healing process. The tattoo will need to be exposed to air in order to heal.


With clean hands, remove the bandage and wash gently with warm water and a mild soap. Make sure you remove all traces of blood, ointment and secretions. Wash until the area feels “squeaky clean”. Do not use a washcloth, loofah, or scrubby on your tattoo while it is healing, use only your clean hands, soap, and water. Pat the tattoo dry with a clean soft cloth or paper towel, do not rub it. Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your tattoo, these will dry the tattoo and possibly remove color.

The first 3 - 4 days

We recommend Aquaphor as the healing ointment for your tattoo. Apply a small amount to the tattoo, and rub it in thoroughly, as if you were applying lotion. It should not shine or feel sticky!  If it does, you are using too much ointment!  Wait five minutes after applying ointment, if you can still feel ointment, blot the excess off with a tissue. Apply the ointment once or twice a day for the first 3 to 4 days, especially if the tattoo feel dry or “tight”. Keeping a light protective layer of moisture will ensure the least amount of scabbing and peeling, thereby reducing any color fade. Make sure your hands are freshly washed before applying ointment.


After 3 or 4 days of using the Aquaphor ointment, you may notice small specks of color come off as you rub the ointment in. This is healing skin, and an indicator that you should stop using the Aquaphor as often.  


Do not swim or soak in a hot tub or bath for two weeks after getting your tattoo. Chemicals like chlorine and the bacteria found in most lakes or pools will cause your tattoo to fade or cause an infection. Soaking a healing tattoo will also cause any healing skin to soften and come off too soon and along with it some of the ink as well. Your healing tattoo is an open wound, therefore protecting it while gardening, working with dirty or oily equipment, or handling pets or other animals such as livestock, is highly recommended to prevent infection. If you experience redness, swelling, tenderness at the tattooed area, red streaks going from the procedure area toward the heart, elevated body temperature, or purulent (foul-smelling) drainage from the procedure site you should seek medical help. THESE ARE ALL SIGNS OF INFECTION AND ARE SERIOUS.

Do not tan for at least two weeks after tattooing to allow it time to heal. After it has healed, you may tan (either naturally or at a salon) as long as you apply SPF30 or higher sunblock over the tattoo. UV RAYS WILL FADE YOUR TATTOO!  If you expose it to the sun, it WILL fade.

Like any other wound to the skin, your tattoo will itch during the healing process. DO NOT SCRATCH IT. Scratching or picking at a healing tattoo will remove healing skin, thus removing color from the tattoo. You may apply lotion to relieve the itching. Following these simple steps will help ensure that you end up with the best results and minimal complications. If you have any questions or concerns about your aftercare, feel free to call us (916) 783-0303.


If your artist chooses a medical-grade bandage such as SecondSkin for your aftercare, please read and follow these instructions carefully:

SecondSkin is a medical-grade, transparent, adhesive barrier that protects new tattoos while they are healing. It is latex-free, waterproof, breathable, and hypoallergenic.  It is manufactured under quality-controlled conditions that have been CE-marked and FDA-registered.

The first twenty-four hours are a crucial time when it comes to healing tattoos. Because its breathable and waterproof, SecondSkin can be left on during that period. It will protect the tattoo from bacteria and debris, while also helping to save clothes and linens from ink and blood.

  1. Using clean hands lather up plain soap (no fragrance, color, or moisturizer) and water. Wash the tattoo thoroughly, rinse, and pat dry. Do not apply lotion or ointment before applying SecondSkin.

  2. Cut SecondSkin to the desired length and shape. You should account for an extra inch or two on each side of the tattoo to come into contact with un-tattooed, dry skin.

  3. Expose a small section of the sticky side by peeling off the opaque backing that has the “SecondSkin” text and the straight perforation.

  4. Smooth SecondSkin over the tattoo as you peel the backing.

  5. Once applied, remove the supportive backing on the “wave” side.

After 24 hours, remove SecondSkin. Repeat the process starting at step one. Leave SecondSkin on for an additional three to six days.

In the first twenty-four hours there may be a build up of blood, ink, and/or plasma underneath SecondSkin. This is completely normal. If you develop an adverse reaction, discontinue use immediately.