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Friday, 1 October 2021

How to What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo

If you're getting a new tattoo, you might be wondering what the best way is to take care of it. There are a ton of dos and don'ts, so it's no wonder that you have questions. The good news is that if you properly care for it, your new ink will look fantastic once it is healed. Every tattoo and body is different, so make sure to ask your tattoo artist about their specific guidelines for aftercare. And before you head to the studio, read below to have some of your most common questions answered.


[Edit]Can I take the covering off my new tattoo right away?

  1. No, you need to leave it covered for as long as the tattoo artist indicates. Some tattoo artists use plastic wrap, which you only need to leave on for a short period of time. Most experts recommend anywhere from 3-5 hours to 24 hours. Other professionals use a substance called Tegaderm, which is like a high-tech bandaid. That can stay on for 3-5 days.[1]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 1.jpg
    • Make sure to ask your tattoo artist what covering they used and how long they suggest leaving it on. Remember, they're the experts so follow their advice to keep your ink looking good.

[Edit]Is there anything to avoid when I clean my tattoo?

  1. Yes, stay away from heavily scented products and exfoliators. Your best bet is to stick to gentle soap and water during the 2 week (or longer) healing period.[2] Don’t use any exfoliators or strongly scented body washes. These have extra ingredients that can cause your tattoo to fade or become irritated.[3]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 2.jpg
    • You can clean it when you shower and you can also spot clean it at the sink using mild soap and warm water. Just make sure to clean the area 2-3 times a day while it heals.
    • It's okay to shower with a new tattoo, just make sure to keep the wrap on for the indicated amount of time. Stay away from baths, as germs in the water could lead to infection.
    • Moisturizing is really important. Make sure to apply a gentle moisturizer to your new ink several times a day.[4]

[Edit]Do I need to stay out of the sun when I get a new tattoo?

  1. You can go outside, but make sure to cover up your ink. Before heading out into the sunshine, put sunscreen on any part of your body that will be exposed to the sun. Yes, that includes your tattoo! Experts recommend using a lotion that is at least 30 SPF for the best results. Just make sure to wait until your tattoo is healed before applying this lotion. You don't want to disturb the scab.[5]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 3.jpg
    • Double-up on protection and make sure that your tattoo is covered by your clothing. This is the best way to make sure your ink doesn’t fade and that you don’t have a bad reaction to the sun.[6]
    • Some people develop sun allergies shortly after getting a new tattoo, which is one reason it's necessary to take extra precautions. If you develop swelling, redness, hives, or bumps around your tattoo, head inside right away. Reach out to your doctor if the rash is still there the next day.[7]

[Edit]Can I scratch my tattoo if it itches?

  1. No, you definitely need to avoid scratching. The bad news is that your new ink will absolutely itch as it scabs over. The good news is this will only last for a couple of weeks. Don’t pick the scab or itch the area at all, despite the temptation. Keep it covered by wearing loose clothing over the area to avoid the urge to scratch.[8]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 4.jpg

[Edit]Are some moisturizers better than others?

  1. You can soothe the area by gently applying A & D ointment or Vitamin E oil to it. Check with your tattoo artist to see what they recommend. Using these types of moisturizers will not only relieve the itching but are also key to helping your tattoo nicely. [9]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 5.jpg
    • Apply moisturizer every 2 hours for the first 2 days. After that, you can apply it to your tattoo 3-4 times a day until it is healed.[10]

[Edit]How soon can I swim after getting a tattoo?

  1. You should stay out of the water for at least 2 weeks. This is the amount of time it takes for most tattoos to completely heal. To make sure your skin stays healthy, steer clear of the pool for a couple of weeks.[11]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 6.jpg
    • You should also avoid hot tubs, rivers, lakes, and oceans for the same period of time. This will greatly reduce your risk of infection. There are germs in these bodies that can cause infection, and your raw skin will be at greater risk than skin that doesn't have scabs.

[Edit]Can I take medication with a new tattoo?

  1. It depends on the medication. While most people can continue to take their regular medications and be totally fine, there are some cases where you might want to use caution. Some medications like acne treatments, blood thinners, and antibiotics could cause you to have some complications. If possible, finish your course of meds before you get inked.[12]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 7.jpg
    • Check with your pharmacist or doctor to see if it’s okay to get a tattoo with your current medications. It’s also important to tell your tattoo artist exactly what medications you are on before they get to work on your art.
    • Some medications, like antibiotics and acne medications, can cause skin sensitivity. That could make getting your tattoo extra painful, so ask your doctor about this common side effect.
    • When tattooing, an artist pokes several tiny holes in your skin. This makes you more vulnerable to germs and infections. If you are dealing with a health issue, ask your doctor if this is an acceptable risk for you to take.

[Edit]Should I avoid shaving when I have a new tattoo?

  1. Yes, you should wait until the area is fully healed. Most tattoos will heal within 2 weeks, but sometimes the process can take up to 6 weeks. It depends on the size and place on the body as to how fast it will heal. During the healing process, scabs will form and then fall off of the tattooed skin. You definitely don’t want to shave over a scab.[13]
    What Should You Avoid After Getting a Tattoo Step 8.jpg
    • A good rule of thumb is to treat a new tattoo like you would treat a severe scrape on your knee. You wouldn’t shave over raw skin in that case, so don’t use a razor on your new ink.
    • Ask your tattoo artist to give you an idea of the healing time and process for the particular tattoo that you got.


  • Make sure you choose a clean and reputable tattoo shop. If you don’t feel comfortable, leave before you start the process.


  • Ask your tattoo artist for specific guidelines for the aftercare process. Make sure to follow them carefully.[14]
  • Eat a healthy breakfast before you head to the tattoo shop. This will help your body handle the physical and mental stress of getting a tattoo.
  • Avoid alcohol the night before you get inked. You don’t want to be dehydrated.


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