Tattoo Care

Pre-Service Information

To protect you while you are in our care, all artists:

  • Have completed 360 hours of state required education pertaining to tattooing, safety and sanitation.
  • Practice Universal Precautions (Every client is treated as if infected and therefore precautions are taken to minimize risk.)
  • Use single use, prepackaged needles
  • Use single use, prepacked tubes
  • Use breathable tattoo coverings
  • Use high level disinfectants to clean all surfaces

We practice high standards to ensure your safety. Due to the level of cleanliness and safety we practice, any difficulties you have with your tattoo healing will most likely result from poor aftercare. Once you leave the tattoo studio, it is your responsibility to care for your tattoo. The first 72 hours are the most crucial in your tattoo’s healing process. Improper aftercare can result in a poor looking tattoo, scarring, or even worse things such as a staph infection.

Tips you need to remember

  • Change your sheets
      While you sleep you shed skin, sweat and hair. Anything in your bed can come in contact with your tattoo and increase the chances of infection.
  • Do not use bar soap
      Bar soap is not sterile, can hold bad bacteria and can pass bacteria on to your tattoo. Gross. Invest in a small disposable bottle of antibacterial liquid soap.
  • Application of ointment
      Believe it or not, your hands are not clean. After you wash your hands, anything you touch afterwards (door handles, cups, hair, face, the list goes on…) has bacteria on it and therefore your hands become contaminated. You must wash your hands (thoroughly) and your tattoo (gently) with warm water and soap before applying any ointment to your tattoo.
  • Pets
      They track harmful bacteria everywhere they walk, lie, or brush against. Wash and reapply ointment after contact with animals. This also applies to anything the animal comes in contact with such as sheets, furniture and clothing.
  • Sweating
      When you sweat you release toxins which sit on the surface of your tattoo, increasing the chances of infection. After heavy sweating, you must wash your hands (thoroughly) and your tattoo (gently) with warm water and soap and reapply ointment to your tattoo.
  • Do not wear restrictive clothing
      If your tattoo forms a scab do not let it stick to anything such as sheets or tight clothing. A wet scab will stick to anything it dries against. When you pull that item away (sheets or clothing) the scab will pull off with it. This pulls ink out of the skin and can cause scarring and loss of color.

We want your tattoo to heal well and look amazing. Take as much care in your healing process as we do in doing your tattoo safely.

Post Service Information

What to do

  • Always wash your hands with antibacterial soap before cleaning your tattoo.
  • Bandage can be left on overnight. After removing bandage, rinse tattoo with warm water and mild antibacterial soap and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Wash your tattoo at least 2 times daily with mild soap and apply a thin layer of ointment. We recommend Aquaphor, Lubriderm or H2Ocean.

What not to do

  • Do not use a tanning bed for at least a month after getting your tattoo. Use a high SPF sunscreen on your tattoo when in the sun.
  • Do not soak in any waters (lakes, oceans, bathtubs, pools) for at least one month after getting your tattoo.
  • Avoid heavy sweating in the area of your tattoo for at least two weeks after getting your tattoo.

What to expect

  • Your tattoo and the area around it may be slightly swollen and red for the next week.
  • Color may seep to the surface (it is ok to wipe this off with a clean paper towel and reapply ointment.)
  • Do not let your tattoo stick to sheets or clothing, this can pull out color.
  • A thin scab should form evenly over the entire tattoo and should peel similar to a sunburn. Do not pick at scab.
  • The color may seem dull or uneven while your tattoo is healing. Your tattoo should be completely healed after one month. Shading may seem dark but will fade up to 40% throughout the healing process.

Normal healing process of a tattoo

Although healing time can vary widely between different people and different tattoos, here is a general guideline of what to expect. Remember that all info is approximate:

  • The tattoo is considered “fresh” and vulnerable to infection for about the first three days. During this time period the skin in the area of the tattoo is open and without protection. Your tattoo may be sore and slightly swollen and red during this time. It may also be slightly weepy. It is especially important during this time period to keep your tattoo as clean and dry as possible and avoid any activities that may cause it to come in contact with unclean surfaces. For instance, if you have a recent lower arm tattoo, you have a free get-out-of-doing-the-dishes pass for a few days. While some weeping of the tattoo is normal, especially for the first day, if it continues or the tattoo becomes abnormally red or warm to the touch, please contact your artist promptly.
  • Between days 3-7, your tattoo should look about the same as it did fresh, although it may start to appear gradually drier and duller. Swelling, redness and sensitivity should decrease dramatically during this time period.
  • Somewhere between days 7-14 your tattoo will start to peel. Pieces of dry, dead skin saturated in tattoo ink will come off the tattoo, and it will look pretty ugly for a while. This is normal. Just continue to care for the tattoo as usual and after about 2-4 days the peeling should stop. This is also just about the time when the tattoo will often become very itchy. While this is an unpleasant side effect of your skin growing back, it is also completely normal and you should do your best to ignore it. Scratching or picking at the tattoo will damage it so do your best to resist.
  • Days 14 – 30. After peeling, your tattoo will look fairly healed. At this point as long as the tattoo is peeled and scab free you can step washing down from twice to once a day, although you should continue with sparing moisturizer application for the remainder of the month.
  • Day 30: Congratulations, your tattoo should be pretty well healed at this point. Since the tattoo should be fairly settled now would be a great time to check out your tattoo and see if everything healed the way you wanted it to. If the tattoo was damaged during the healing process or something didn’t turn out quite the way you thought make sure to contact your artist to schedule a touch up on the piece. Touch ups are usually free within the first two months (unless you willfully or egregiously damaged the tattoo during the healing process or want to add something that wasn’t in the original design) so make sure to contact your artist with any concerns.
  • And finally, if you feel your tattoo is not healing normally at any point, contact your artist directly and they will get back to you as quickly as possible. If you are having trouble contacting your artist, call the shop number for prompt advice from a licensed artist.