Tattoo Aftercare

We’re all adults, I don’t think I need to qualify or disclaimer this information.  So let’s get to it.

1. Leave bandage on overnight.  No peeking!  And change your sheets while you’re at it.
2. Remove bandage.  Do not reapply it.
3. Get in the shower and wash the tattoo until all gooey, shiny stuff is gone and it feels like normal skin to your hand. Use a wash cloth and VERY hot water.  Try not to shriek too loudly, or pass out.
4. Pat dry with a clean towel or use a hair dryer, on a high heat setting.
5. If any goo wells up to the surface, wash it off ASAP. Keep an eye on that shit! Keep it CLEAN and keep it DRY and keep your dirty hands, dog haired sheets and scruffy clothes OFF IT.
6. Once the tattoo has started to flake off in that peely sunburny way, apply some something or other. I don’t personally use any petrochemicals on my wounds for longer than necessary (no Lubriderm, Polysporin, no Aveeno) and I don’t want anything sticky (attracts germs). So I usually use whatever oily balm I have kicking around that I’ve fashioned from ingredients like calendula oil, sweet almond, hemp seed and a touch of beeswax, and it absorbs quickly but thoroughly. This just gets me through the milky skin stage quicker.
7. Hey you!  Don’t pick! If you have to pick something, go for your nose.

And that friends, is how I heal my tattoos.

30 Responses to “Tattoo Aftercare”

  1. Kris says:

    Thanks for this info. I’m starting my first tattoo, a half sleeve, in a few weeks and now know how to help it heal!

  2. [...] followed Twwly’s recommended aftercare regimen and holy heck was that a whole new dimension of hurt. My foot was [...]

  3. megan says:

    we seem a LOT alike aside from a few things (I’m vegan) but my hubby is a tattooer, too!
    However, I do things a little differently when healing tattoos.
    I don’t use very hot water or a wash cloth. It seems like that will just irritate it and could cause it to scab worse. I try to be as gentle as possible with my fresh flesh wound (say that 5 times fast).
    I have never used a hair dryer especially on high heat. Just air dry. and apply some sort of ointment.
    then I wrap it up again with new seran wrap, loose. I just repeat once or twice a day and keep it wrapped and clean for a few days (currently healing one and have kept up with the wrapping for 4 days.) It prevents the bigger scabs from forming and keeps it nice and soft.
    thats how I do it. ;)

  4. Brittany says:

    Even though a lotion with no alcohol is the “go-to” for tattoos, it still burns to me! So I use Burt’s Bees Res-Q Ointment. Because I haven’t started my farm yet (but will after College!) and started making my own ointments, it’s a good substitute for the homemade stuffs. Although it makes me said Clorox bought Burt’s out.

  5. Twwly says:

    Yeah, that bums me out too, Brittany!

    If you ever have any questions when the day comes you are farm living, feel free. :)

  6. Twwly says:

    In reference to Megans post:

    The idea with hot water and a cloth is that you wash off all of the petroleum based vaseline as to not encourage ANY scabbing to form. You wouldn’t scrub DURING healing.

    You should hopefully never have any scabs, just thin flakes.

  7. Keith says:

    i will say this, i have five tattoos, one was done in two sittings. One of these is on my spine, a place not easy to have taken care of. now im a marine and dont have time for the plastic rap and all my tats are under clothing most of the day. out on my experience all you need to do is this.
    1. leave the bandage on for and hour, two hours max. any longer and it just scabs to the bandage and when you take it off it dammages to skin more.

    2. use warm not hot water. hot water opens the pores made but the needles and releases some of that ink you just sat in a chair for hours to have put under your skin. now not all of it will come out but enough of it can that when it heals it looks faded. and i dont recomend a wash cloth, yes it works but might be too rough your hand works fun, clean them first and remember use a mild soap like for a homemade soap one infused with jasmine.

    3. pat dry lightly and or air dry.

    4. add a light coat of mosturizer eather homemade beeswax, or vasalin. out of my experiance, though i respect you and envy you for your homemade oil twwly, i have found that if your going to get more then one tat get a tube of H2Ocean it has never failed me and is ment only for tats unlike other oils and creams and lotions.

    5. yes you can wear clothes but it is not recommended, all i ever did was you some H2Ocean on a papertowel and tape it on and it worked fine for work

  8. Joey says:

    I am a Marine as well and I have over 70 hours of ink on me (all covered with a t-shirt) but, no offense of course to you keith, if she is giving advice on her page I am sure it is with good reason. I only have nine but, the only bottim line I have is to keep it moisturized. I used the H2o ocean on my ribs and I liked it. I have been getting ink for 14 years now and Theres a thousand ways to keep it from scabbing and blotching. I do know what you mean about being in uniform AND at work though, its rough lol. especially when your on a deployment, not allowed to get tattoos, do it anyway (3, 9 hour sittings on my back), and have to work without anyone knowing for over a month. twwly, thank you for your site and for all of your past shoots. you are hands down my favorite tattooed girl ever! and keith, Semper Fi man.

  9. Twwly says:

    Keith, hot compress, aka Japanese healing style, most certainly do not fade professional tattoos. All of my work is crisp and bright, the only thing that fades them now is the sun. On that point, I have to call shenanigans. That is a long standing healing method, just not particularly western.

    H2Ocean is “only for tattoos” because it is labeled that way. The ingredients are not unique, I hope you realize that much. The reason I use what I do is because it’s basically all of the natural ingredients, none of the synthetics that are found in shelf stable lotions. That’s just a personal choice to avoid necessary emulsifiers.

    I would also never recommend plastic wrap under clothes. My tattoos get bashed about during healing, and as long as I keep my coveralls off them, it goes fine. That’s just basic common sense: don’t get manure in your fresh tattoo. ;)

    This is how I heal my tattoos. This is how we recommend clients heal their tattoos. My husband and I have both been in this industry for over a decade each, and we have both arrived to the same conclusion for a recommended aftercare routine for clients that appears to work the best for the most people.

    I appreciate that you heal your tattoos differently, as Joey said there are a thousand ways to do it. As I stated above, this is what I do. Nothing more.

    Joey – thank YOU. :) Faith is a beautiful thing.

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  16. Harleigh says:

    I have five tattoos ( 2 wrist tattoos, a huge back piece, an ankle tattoo and one on ribs) and I’ve always used a thin layer of A and D ointment the first three days then switched over to Lubriderm lotion after that . Lubriderm has very low alcohol in it and is both dye and fragrance free. Haven’t tried hot compresses because I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback on it but still debating on using it on my newest addition back piece .

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