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Proper tattoo aftercare

Tattoo aftercare is important to keep your new art looking its best and prevent infection. It isn’t too difficult to take care of a tattoo, but you do need to have the right information and a few essential products. Good tattoo aftercare will be rewarded by accelerated healing and the best possible final quality.


Tattoos are usually bandaged immediately after they are finished. This helps prevent bacteria from getting into the wound while it is especially raw. Leave the initial bandage alone for at least a few hours in order to allow the wound to close up a bit.


It is important to wash your tattoo 3-4 times per day while it is healing in order to keep it clean. Use lukewarm water and mild soap. If you buy a product like one of the tattoo aftercare kits listed below, a special soap will come with the kit. These soaps have the advantage of being both antibacterial and gentle on a new tattoo.

The best object for washing your tattoo is probably your clean hand. Washcloths and other objects can be too harsh on the skin. When you are finished washing, pat the skin dry, taking care not to rub. Let the tattoo air-dry for about 15 minutes after washing.


After washing and drying, use a product such as an antibacterial ointment, lotion or salve on the tattoo. Different people recommend different products such as Bactracin or Eucerin calming cream. Ointments and salves are always included in tattoo aftercare kits such as those featured below, if you want to take out some of the guesswork about which products to use.


It is okay to get your tattoo slightly wet during the healing process, such as while showering. However, submerging the tattoo in water can lead to fading or infection. Keep out of the pool, hot tub, bath, ocean or any other body of water for at least two weeks.


Unfortunately, exposure to the sun is a tattoo’s worst enemy. For the entire lifetime of the tattoo, it is important to take care to protect it from the sun. Tattoos that are exposed to the sun without protection can fade considerably in a relatively short period of time. Apply a sunscreen product with an SPF of at least 30 whenever your tattoo will be exposed to sunlight.


Some tattoos scab or peel more than others. Most scabbing and peeling is normal and should be left alone. Tattoos may also itch as they heal, just like any wound. Resist the temptation to scratch.

Tattoo Aftercare Products

As previously mentioned, kits provide one-stop shopping for tattoo aftercare. The basic Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit includes a skin cream/salve, sunscreen and antibacterial soap. The bag that comes with the kit keeps everything in one place to save you time.

Tattoo Goo also has a second aftercare kit that includes both lotion and salve. The other items remain the same. Kits like this also offer good value because they are usually cheaper than purchasing each item individually. They also prevent the hassle of trying to figure out what products to use.

If you already own suitable soap, lotion and sunscreen, you can also simply purchase the original Tattoo Goo salve. It was created to heal tattoos without pulling the pigment out. Since the salve is used when the tattoo is freshest, it is probably the most important of the tattoo specialty products.