What You Need to Know About the Tattoo Aftercare Timeline


When you get a new tattoo, the last thing you want to do is ruin it. This is why follow-up is so important. Read here to find out how it works!

Whether you have multiple tattoos or this is your first, tattoo aftercare is an essential part of the tattoo process. After all, your body can’t tell a tattoo from any other injury, so you need to be careful to follow the proper steps. Otherwise, your body might try to hide your new tattoo during the healing process. Read on to find out what you need to know about the tattoo care timeline.

The first week

The initial phase is the most important. Your tattoo artist will set you up with a second skin, which is a plastic wrap that acts as a protective layer over the tattoo. The plastic tricks your body into not crusting too much and obscuring the tattoo. Each artist will have different advice on how long you should keep your tattoo wrapped in plastic, so be sure to follow their instructions.

Once the wrapper is removed, gently wash the tattoo with warm running water and antibacterial soap.

The second week

After the first week of gentle washes comes an even less fun time: the itching and flaking. These two sensations are normal, even a little unpleasant. Don’t scratch your tattoo, instead keep it moisturized and clean! Use the lotion recommended by your artist. There may be specific brands they prefer, or they might suggest something like coconut oil.

The third week and beyond

Congratulations! You are now in the final stage of the healing process and your tattoo should resemble its final appearance. You may notice that the tattoo looks duller and cloudier than you initially saw, but don’t worry. This is because a final layer of dead skin covers the tattoo.

Over the next few weeks, this layer should (painlessly, thank goodness) flake off to reveal a clear, beautiful tattoo underneath. Don’t be alarmed if the black ink looks gray and the tattoo looks generally desaturated, this is a completely normal part of the healing process.

Now that you understand what you need to know about the tattoo aftercare schedule, remember that you can always go to the ultimate authority if you have any further questions: your tattoo artist. Some artists will have their own tips and tricks for tracking, and you should listen to them! They know the best way to make their art look great.


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