To most ink enthusiasts, a tattoo is considered a lasting piece of art—keeping it that way requires a particular level of aftercare. Contrary to what it appears to be, the process of tattooing is akin to that of a medical procedure. Open skin is vulnerable to scarring and infections and proper aftercare can ensure effortless healing. If you aren’t in-the-know about specific aftercare guidelines, we’ll let you in on a few tips.

Tattoo Aftercare: An Overview

Aftercare begins the second your tattoo application ends. Playing an equal role in the aftercare process is your artist, who will apply a thin petroleum ointment over the piece, wrapping it in a bandage, and providing aftercare instructions.

Not all tattoo places in Buffalo, NY will be legally obligated to provide you with instructions—refrain from doing business with artists who aren’t trusted sources!

  • Immediately After Your Session: remove the dressing after a few hours, gently washing your brand-new piece with mild soap and warm water. Pat the area dry and apply a similar petroleum ointment.
  • While Your Tattoo is Healing: wear sun-protective clothing outdoors and refrain from putting on anything tight-fitting. Call up your artist if you’ve noticed signs of infection.
  • Don’t Ever: slather your tattoo in sunblock or pick and scratch throughout the healing process. Refrain from swimming in pools or at the beach.

Day-By-Day Tattoo Aftercare

The specifics of tattoo aftercare will depend on the size and placement of your new ink. Below is a general timeline of what you can expect.

Day 1

Fresh from the shop, you’ll want to unwrap your bandage after 1 to 2 hours, wash the area with fragrance-free soap, and apply gentle petroleum jelly.

Day 2 to 3

As your skin heals, your tattoo will begin to scab and appear duller. Wash your piece at least once or twice a day and apply fragrance and alcohol-free moisturizer.

Days 4 to 6

By now, the redness of your tattoo should start to fade. You may experience additional light scabbing—never pick them to reduce the chances of scarring.

Days 7 to 14

As the scabs harden, they will begin to flake off. If you need to relieve an itch, apply generous amounts of moisturizer. If you’re experiencing any swelling, give your artist a call.

Days 15 to 30

Considered the last stage of healing, your tattoo may appear dry and dull due to flaking. Simply apply moisturizers to hydrate the area. For lower layers to heal, it may take up to four months. However, you should begin to notice the outer layers healing by this point.

Tattoo Aftercare Products

When it comes to looking after your piece, avoid fragrance like the plague. If you can’t get your hands on a specially formulated cleanser, you can opt for mild soaps such as Dove, Dial, and Neutrogena.

For immediate aftercare, petroleum-based ointments such as Aquaphor or A&D will restore hydration without clogging pores. Afterward, you can opt to use regular moisturizers such as Curel, Lubriderm, Aveeno, or Eucerin.

Side Effects to Keep an Eye Out For

Redness, itchiness, and soreness are signature sensations that come with a new tattoo. However, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor if you notice any of the following:

  1. Infection

Beyond the usual suspects, leaking may be a sign of infection.

  1. Allergic Reactions

If you’re prone to hives, allergic reactions may manifest in the same matter, albeit with the addition of flaking.

  1. Scarring

As a rule of thumb, never pick your tattoo. Remember, scars are permanent.


To body art fanatics, a tattoo is nothing short of a marvel—but a distorted one might be a fluke. Practicing proper aftercare not only maintains your tattoo’s appearance but reduces the risk of infection.

For an award-winning piece you’ll never regret, head to Lucky Deville Tattoo Co hailed as one of the top tattoo places in Buffalo!

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