How to look after your new tattoo

An arm with a tattoo showing how to look after a new tattoo

When you have a new tattoo, once you leave the studio you have the responsibility of taking care of it and ensuring it heals well. Tattoos can get seriously damaged and infected if they are not looked after properly, and are especially delicate for the first 2 weeks after they are done.

Your immune system is of course involved so make sure you are taking really good care of your overall health to help the process or recovering from the tattoo session.

It’s important to think about how you will be spending your time in the days after your tattoo session when you make your appointment. It is best to have your tattoo ‘breathe’ always (keep it uncovered) to help healing. If you will be going on holidays abroad, camping or doing any intensive physical work or activity with a high risk of infection or the tattoo getting sweaty or banged/scraped, you should seriously consider how you will be able to protect your tattoo and keep it clean when doing so, or even better to schedule a time when you will have some days off afterwards.

It’s extremely important to keep your new tattoo clean, moisturised appropriately, out of direct sunlight, and not submerged in water (including baths, swimming pools and swimming in the sea/lake/river etc.). Any strong physical contact such as someone or something hitting off it runs the risk of permanently damaging the tattoo, especially when the piece has delicate details.

Make sure you only ever wash your tattoo after you have washed your hands well. To wash your tattoo always use either a very plain natural soap, or a hypoallergenic perfume-free soap. A new tattoo is essentially a wound so bear that in mind and be mindful of using soap that may be too drying. If in doubt use an unscented natural soap. When washing the tattoo use clean hands and very gently clean it. Always pat it dry instead of rubbing, with a clean piece of kitchen paper to be disposed of afterwards. Then moisturise it with a tattoo ointment, natural balm or plain coconut oil. We do not recommend the use of Bepanthen as the formula has changed ingredients and now keeps the tattoo too moist which is an ideal environment for bacteria breeding. It’s key whatever moisturiser you are using to use it extremely sparingly, it should be a thin layer that sinks in in a matter of minutes.

Do not use any products other than soap and your chosen moisturiser on your tattoo for at least 2 weeks. This includes sun cream, body lotion, fake tan and perfume.

The main part of the tattoo healing happens within 2 weeks but the tattoo will continue to heal for many weeks afterwards this point.

If you are in any doubt at all please do not hesitate to contact your artist, we are always happy to advise you.