So, you’re excited about your new tattoo?! Finally, ink on skin. But now you have to care for it and make sure it heals the right way. Stress less about the new ink, and use these tattoo skincare hacks to help you heal your tattoo.
First things first, relax and hit mute on your internal panic button that says you won’t be able to do the things you love because you’re worried about ruining your tattoo. No need to walk on eggshells when it comes to your tattoo aftercare.
There are a lot of ways to nurse a new tattoo and also a lot of ways that you can damage it. Along with some of the basic tips, we know you’re looking for ways to heal your tattoo fast!
1. Say Hell No to Re-bandaging
Your artist will send you home with your tattoo covered. Leave it on for one to three hours after your session, and then remove it. Just like any other wound, a tattoo needs air to breathe. That way, it can start to dry out and scab over.
If you re-bandage your new tattoo, you’re going to be cutting off its oxygen supply, which will actually make the healing process take longer. That’s the opposite of a hack and could introduce issues like a bacterial infection.
That’s precisely why we created our tattoo healing patches, offering a no-fuss approach to tattoo aftercare in the first 72 hours.With these factors in mind, your immediate goal is to create a hygienic and healthy environment after your skin has been tattooed. There’s no time to waste!
The concept of tattoo patch healing starts with protecting the tattoo from bacteria, dirt, and other airborne particles that pose a potential hazard to your new ink. The material is soft, disinfected, and contains a unique hydrogel matrix that moisturizes the area.
2. Wash Your Tattoo With Antibacterial Soap
After you remove the bandage from your appointment, wash it using lukewarm water and antibacterial soap. This is really important, actually, so that you get off all of the product and blood that could be left over. Leftover blood on tattoos can make your scabs bigger and thicker.
You don’t need to overcomplicate the process when it comes to cleaning. Just apply the water, gently wash the area with soap, and wash away any lingering bits of ink or blood. No need to press hard on the area or use complex cleaning products. Simply take a gentle and cautious approach that ensures the tattooed skin stays clean and healthy.
With that said, there are a few pitfalls to avoid when it comes to washing your newly-inked skin. Here are some points to remember so your tattoo heals to perfection.
The Dangers of Hot Water
There’s nothing like a long, hot shower, especially in the winter. However, using hot water on a new tattoo can cause real damage. That is because hot water will open your pores and make the area susceptible to bacteria and ink leaking.
Resist the temptation to crank up the heat in the shower or sink when healing your tattoo. Keep the water temperature lukewarm, and turn down the dial if you see steam forming in the bathroom. You can also play it safe by washing your tattoo in the sink with lukewarm water so you aren’t tempted to go overboard with heat.
You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy hot showers and baths once your tattoo is healed, so avoid this simple mistake from the outset.
Antibacterial & Fragrance-Free Soaps Only
One of the best ways to heal a new tattoo is to look for antibacterial soaps that are also fragrance-free. Other soaps contain ingredients that can irritate your skin during your tattoo's healing phase.
These artificial fragrances cause rashes, irritation, and itching. Alcohol-based products irritate open wounds and will dry out your tattoo, leaving it at risk of damage and bad healing.
In other words, look for soaps with a shorter list of ingredients you recognize and don’t include artificial compounds. All-natural liquid soaps are easy to use and cause minimal irritation. Save the fragrant soaps for later when your skin is fully healed — it will be worth the wait.
Washcloths, Loofahs, Scrub Brushes, Oh My!
Never ever use a washcloth, loofah, or any kind of abrasive material on your new tattoo. Only use clean hands to wash your tattoo when it's healing.
In a circular motion, gently rub the area with room temperature water and antibacterial fragrance-free soap, then rinse off with room temperature water. Use a clean cloth/ towel and gently pat the tattoo area dry, ensuring you don’t dislodge any scabs or flakes.
Remember that your tattoo is an open wound for the first week following application. Wash your towels and sheets so everything is clean and ready for a safe aftercare process. Finally, air dry your ink after a cleaning session, or gently pat the area with apaper towel instead of wiping or rubbing.
3. Leave Your Dead Skin On
Healing tattoos is a process. It can be shortened by leaving scabs and dead skin alone! Any interference with scabs can make the healing take much longer. And when the goal is to heal your tattoo fast, it seems like peeling off your skin is counterproductive.
We know it’s tough, especially after the end of the first week, but the integrity of your tattoo depends on it! Those scabs mean that the pigment is fully lodged into the skin so that it stays there for the long term.
Itching and dryness are super normal, but you have to fight the urge to scratch your skin. If the itch becomes unbearable, use your open palm to “pat” your skin and imitate scratching. This should alleviate some of the itchy sensations and keep your mind off the discomfort.
In the meantime, let’s offer a few more tips to ensure your scabs remain in place for a smooth tattoo healing process.
Soothe the Area With Cooling Lotion
It won’t take long for your newly inked skin to start itching, even if you follow all the right tattoo care steps. In fact, it’s a good sign that your immune system is hard at work and things are going well.
However, you’ll need some relief when the itching ramps up during the second and third weeks. A soothing lotion can offer that lovely cooling sensation when you need it most.
The best products will hydrate the area with just a thin layer, ensuring the skin can breathe and heal properly. Just a few drops of the right lotion can be a game-changer and keep you from itching the skin when scabs need to be left alone.
Wear Loose Clothing (or Less Clothing)
Tight clothing might be part of your everyday wardrobe, but when healing a tattoo, these garments can do more harm than good. Not only does tight clothing restrict airflow and cause friction, but it can also disrupt the healing process by scraping or dislodging scabs.
Opt for loose-fit clothing when your tattoo is healing, or leave the area exposed if appropriate for the setting. If the situation permits, break out the tank tops or shorts to let your skin breathe and let your ink heal.
4. Use the Right Amount of Moisturizer
Another good hack for healing a tattoo is to not only apply moisturizer on a very regular basis but to use the right amount.
Using a thin layer of moisturizer or tattoo balm is the best way to go. This will make sure that your ink gets the water that it needs, while also allowing it to have proper air circulation. Our soothing tattoo gel has a lot of healing properties which are great but it also has some of the best thickness to make sure your tattoo isn't smothered.
Whatever moisturizer you choose, apply it at least three to five times a day to keep your skin quenched.
Of course, the quality of your moisturizer matters, too. Petroleum-based products can clog pores and prevent your skin from breathing properly. The best skincare products for tattoos are petroleum-free and allow the skin to maintain homeostasis for complete healing.
5. No Baths, Hot Tubs, or Swimming
Healing a tattoo fast is all about the scabs. Keeping them on until they are ready to fall off naturally are numbers 1, 2, & 3 at the top of the importance list. Baths, hot tubs, lakes, oceans, and any water you would submerge yourself in will make your scab soft and spongy.
Sounds gross, and it is. What’s even grosser is what a tattoo looks like covered in scars. Which is what could happen if that scab comes off too early.
Long story short, do not submerge your tattoo in water for at least 3-4 weeks. That should be enough time for the skin to heal or almost completely heal to the point where long times in water are not dangerous.
6. Stay Out of the Sun (For Now)
We know — you want to get out in the sun and show off your new ink ASAP! Unfortunately, sun exposure is not your friend when it comes to healing your newly tattooed skin. UV rays are a source of stress on the skin, which is the last thing you want when healing a tattoo.
Stay out of the sun for at least two weeks when the wound has been closed, and new skin has formed. Even at this point, you’ll want to avoid prolonged sun exposure and use sunblock when enjoying the outdoors.
With the right SPF product designed for tattoos, you can soak up the sun responsibly and keep your ink looking great for the road ahead.
7. Embrace Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Most aftercare tips focus on healing the tattooed area and preventing infection. While these are important concepts, don’t overlook the power of good lifestyle habits to facilitate healing.
Your body needs all the help it can get when healing a tattoo, especially larger pieces in sensitive areas. Be sure to stay hydrated, get adequate sleep, and fuel up with a balanced diet.
Also, consider doing some light stretching or walking to boost blood flow and continue to deliver nutrients to the affected area. You don’t need a heavy lifting session at the gym to get the benefits of moderate exercise.
In the meantime, try to avoid unhealthy habits like drinking or smoking, which can suppress your immune system and slow healing. Staying healthy overall is key to tattoo aftercare, so take this opportunity to dial in those positive self-care habits.
Healing a New Tattoo Is Easier Than Ever
Nowadays, it's about art and the thrill. But what kind of thrill do you get by waiting around for your new tattoo to heal? Try these hacks to help heal your tattoo faster and take charge of your skincare.
Stress less about making sure your routine is perfect, and move on to thinking about what your next tattoo is going to be. For more information, please read our "How Long Does it Take Tattoos to Heal?" article.