Let’s face it. As you grow old, your tattoo will age alongside you—but it doesn’t mean skimping on your aftercare routine. Whether a pinprick of your partner’s initials or a full-back piece of your favorite mythological creature, tattoo aftercare is essential to keeping your ink vibrant and long-lasting. From needle to skin, follow these aftercare tips for keeping vivid colors vivid and bold lines bold throughout the years.

Tip 1 – Never Re-Wrap

After your session, your tattoo artist will wrap the piece in a medical-grade bandage or cellophane. Two to three hours later, begin the healing process by gently removing the bandage. Never re-wrap your ink, as doing so will cut off oxygen exposure. Leave the bandage on for too long, and you push your risk of infection.

Tip 2 – Wash Your Hands

This step might appear intuitive—but you’ll be surprised to meet other ink enthusiasts who aren’t quite as hygienic. Remember, your tattoo is an open wound and at high risk of infection for at least five to seven days.

Tip 3 – Some Like it Hot—You Shouldn’t

The healing process makes for sensitive skin, and running your new tattoo under a tap of hot water can open up your pores, causing unsettled ink to leak out. When washing, lightly rinse your tattoo with lukewarm water. Avoid soaking it in the shower.

Tip 4 – Lay Off Alcohol-Based Cleansers

Artificial fragrances and alcohol-based products can cause severe irritation, rashes, and double the itching. Stick to gentle, fragrance-free cleansers.

Tip 5 – Don’t Wash or Scrub with a Towel

Yes, scrubbing your tattoo can scrub off the ink. Use only your hands when washing, gently rubbing in circular motions with antibacterial soap. Pat dry the area with a clean towel.

Tip 6 – Petroleum and Mineral, Oil-Based Products Are the Enemy

Bepanthen, Aquaphor, and Vaseline may seem intuitive choices of aftercare products, but they can suffocate the skin and draw ink for your tattoo. Ask your artist for their recommendations or surf the web for user suggestions. Hemp and CBD products are a go-to for modern tattooists—but they aren’t legal everywhere.

Tip 7 – Don’t Smother Your Ink

When it comes to creams and lotions, less is more. Apply only a thin layer of aftercare products throughout the day. Apply too much? Dab the excess off with a paper towel. Some ointments, such as Inked Ritual Tattoo Care, make for an excellent anti-aging product. Instead of lapping up the excess, dot them on your face—your skin will thank you for it.

Tip 8 – Leave Scabs and Peeling Skin Be

Picking off playground scabs might’ve made for an entertaining pastime, but a recipe for disaster for your new tattoo. To reduce scabbing, keep the skin hydrated and moisturized. We know how tempting it can be to peel off loose skin—but the scarring that occurs will tell you otherwise!


The key to a stunning tattoo is how well you care for it afterward. Failing to keep it in tip-top shape is an injustice to your award-winning piece—and one that will need costly touch-ups. For ink you’ll want to care for, visit Lucky Deville Tattoo Co, home to the best tattoo artists in Buffalo. Walk out of our shop with a brand-new piece, and you’re bound to turn heads.

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