Tattoo Aftercare – What To Put on Your Skin After You Get Inked

September 27, 2019

Tattoo Aftercare – What To Put on Your Skin After You Get Inked

People get tattoos for numerous reasons—be it the way it looks, as a reminder of someone they love, or as a symbol of something they believe in. Whatever the reason, before we get inked, we should not only discuss the design, but also about how our skin might react to the ink. Today we will talk about some post-tattooing skincare tips to follow, so that your skin stays healthy and heals quickly, after a tattoo.

Post Tattoo Skincare Dos and Don’ts

Avoid Wearing Tight Clothes After a Tattoo

For a few days after receiving your tattoo, you should wear loose, comfortable and preferably cotton clothes that are gentle on the skin. Avoid tight, synthetic clothing that rubs against the skin and irritates the already fragile tissue. Any rubbing could potentially increase redness and irritation and, in some cases, lead to swelling, bleeding and/or pus seepage.

Avoid Over-Working The Tattooed Skin

Depending on your tattoo’s location, you might want to change your workout routine. For example, if you have had a tattoo on the foot, do not run or put pressure on it. Likewise, if you have a tat on the elbows or arms, avoid working the biceps, triceps or other weight training exercises that put pressure on the areas.

Always Follow Your Tattoo Artist’s Instructions

Do not listen to anyone else but the tattoo artist who inks you. Most tattoo artists provide an after-care instruction sheet for you to take home. Listening to friends or family about tattoo-skincare can and will create problems.

Avoid Wearing Sneakers if Your Tat is on Your Feet

Running shoes or sneakers contain harmful bacteria which can increase risk of infection. Your sweaty socks and shoes could rub against the skin and harm the already sensitized areas leading to blisters or swelling.

Always Keep Tattoo Skincare Creams and Lotions with You

If you happen to travel immediately after getting inked, it is important to keep moisturizing skin creams and lotions with you. Create a travel kit and keep several tubes of the cream in it. If needed, also carry several copies of the after-care instructions given by your artist. I will talk about the right moisturizing products to use on a tattoo, later in this guide.

Avoid Swimming After a Tattoo

For a few days after getting inked, avoid hot tubs and swimming pools, as their chlorine content can irritate the delicate skin and also fade the ink. 

Avoid Touching a Recently Inked Tattoo

Do not rub, scratch or touch the tattooed skin to prevent germs from fingernails infecting the tender area.

Avoid Direct Sunlight and Tanning After a Tattoo

Sun’s UV rays can further harm the skin and also cause tattoo ink colors to fade. Always use a waterproof sunscreen lotion with SPF 30++ before going outdoors. Cover up with an umbrella or seek shade wherever possible. Stay away from tanning beds for a few weeks. 

Sleep on Clean Bed Sheets After Getting Tattooed

While sleeping, make sure you use clean bed sheets. Do not sleep on your best linens as sometimes the ink can run or there may be seepage from the inked area. Avoid satin or silky bed sheets; cotton is the best as it is light, breathable and gentler on the skin. As much as possible, avoid sleeping on the tattoo to prevent it from ‘getting stuck to the sheets’.

Natural Skincare To Keep Tattooed Skin Healthy

Use Lukewarm Water to Wash the Tattoo

Make sure you clean your hands using hand wash or soap before washing the tattoo. Gently pour warm water on the tattoo—do not soak it for longer periods of time. Rinse the tattoo with soap. Avoid using a loofah or rough wash cloth to clean as these can abrade the delicate skin. It is recommended that you wash the tattoo at least 3 times daily. Pat it dry gently with a soft towel.

Use Saline Solution to Rinse Your Tattoo

A few days after getting tattooed, your skin might appear scabbed and/or raised. Now is the time to use a simple salt solution to rinse the scabs out. Do not scrub the tattoo. Be gentle when removing the crusted skin. 

Keep the Tattooed Skin Moisturized

A tattoo is like a minor burn or wound on the skin, so keeping it moisturized will prevent dryness and itchiness. Apply a moisturizing lotion free from chemicals, dyes, strong perfumes, etc. Any natural skincare cream from a health food store or the cream/lotion that your tattoo artist has recommended, will do. 

Use Aloe Vera on Your Tattoo

You can also use Aloe Vera gel or lotion on the inked region. Use clean hands to extract the gel from the leaf of an Aloe plant (or buy a tube or jar of aloe vera gel from a drug store). Apply a thin layer of the gel all over the tattoo. Repeat application several times a day. You may also cover the tattoo with sterile gauze to catch the drainage from the wound, if any.

Coconut Oil for Your Tattoo

A thin layer of organic, cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil can help moisturize the tattoo and prevent dryness. Ask your tattoo artist if coconut oil is the right remedy for tattoo aftercare.

Avoid Petroleum Based Skin Products on Your Tattoo

Do not use petroleum based ointments or skin-care formulations for at least 24-48 hours after tattooing as they tend to clog skin pores. Allow your skin to breathe and heal completely before using these products.


Each person is different and their skin heals differently. There is no right way to heal a tattoo—that’s why it’s best to ask your tattoo artist! We hope these tips and remedies help you manage your inked skin in a healthy manner! 

Medical Disclaimer

The content found on this website is for informational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Information and statements regarding health related benefits of certain ingredients are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information provided is not meant to substitute the advice provided by your personal physician or other medical professional. Do not use the information found within this website to self-diagnose any medical conditions or treat any health problems or diseases. The information provided is not intended to prescribe or be taken as medical advice.

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