What to Do After Getting a Tattoo: How to Soak, Scrub and Shower after Tattooing

You got your first tattoo on your forearm. Now, you are waiting for the end of the healing process to show it to the world. To ensure that your tattoo heals properly, follow the tattoo aftercare instructions carefully.

But the aftercare guide your tattoo artist provides seems a bit confusing. You looked for clear instructions and a piece of medical procedure advice on what you should do from day 1 to Day 30.

That’s why you ask yourself: What should I do after getting a tattoo?  

Well, remove the tattoo bandage after 4-5 hours. Then, wash the new tattoo with any fragrance free soap and lukewarm water. Next, dry your tattoo with a paper towel or a soft cloth . Apply a tiny layer of A&D ointment on your tattoo and let your tattoo unbandage to let it take a breath. Make sure you washing your healed tattoos after few hours with warm water. Follow these tips for the first three days. 

To know what you need to do after three days, continue to read. 

New to tattooing? Yourself, a beginner’s guide on setting up the equipment and getting started.

5 Important Tattoo Aftercare Tips

Here are the top 5 tattoo aftercare tips you should be following on a regular basis.

01. Cover the Tattoo Up

The central part of tattoo artists around any tattoo shop will cover the tattooed area with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and wrap it with a bandage. Due to this, bacteria can’t get into your skin, and a new tattoo heal. Therefore, no rubbing will occur as the tattoo artist covers the tattooed area with a bandage.

Don’t remove the bandage or wash the tattoo at this instance. And keep it as long as your tattoo artist recommends. It will help to soak up the excess ink that oozes out from the tattooed area.

02. Sanitize Your Hand Before Touching Tattoo

Never touch your skin after designing a tattoo unless you clean your hand with antibacterial soap. It prevents germs and bacteria from transmitting to your tattooed body area.

Otherwise, it may cause infections and other health issues. So, every time you want to touch or apply ointment, gently wash the tattoo with germ-free soap for 20 seconds after healing properly.

03. Washing Tattoo Area

Like you wash your hand before touching the new tattoo, you should also gently wash the thin layer of tattooed skin. After several hours, remove the cover.

Then, wash the area with lukewarm water, antibacterial soap, and a clean paper towel. At this point, you can leave it uncovered to let your skin breathe. 

04. Apply Moisturizer

To heal your fresh tattoo properly, you should apply moisturizer or antibiotic ointment. Most tattoo artists recommend some fragrance-free soap and antibacterial ointment if your tattoo scabs slightly.

For a Healing tattoo, the dead skin needs to be hydrated. It works the best to make the new tattoo completely healed.

According to our opinion, it doesn’t matter what kind of ointment he suggests as long as the process of new tattoo healing and proper tattoo aftercare works properly. You have to apply the tattoo-covered area with a very thin layer of antibiotic ointment.

Never overcoat the skin with it; precisely, stop utilizing too much ointment. Otherwise, it may cause skin irritation.

For any medical procedure or moisturizing routine, you have to follow the guidance of your artist. However, many tattoo artists might not intend to provide aftercare instructions. In that case, you better contact a skilled dermatologist who will provide medical advice to the care of your new tattoo.

05. Wait For Your Tattoo To Heal

Now, the only thing you can do is- take care of your tattoo and wait for your tattoo to be fully healed. 

When your tattoo is healing, do these:

  • Wear sunscreen every time you go outside to prevent the risks of direct sunlight on new tattoos.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing. Avoid using tight clothing or bra straps.
  • Call your tattoo artist or go to a doctor if you notice some symptoms of infection or experience skin irritation for the first few nights.
  • Never scratch your bigger tattoos.
  • Don’t jump in the pool for swimming
  • Before applying any other unproven products

or coconut oil to recall the old tradition, you must consult a doctor.

  • Don’t remove the bandage unless your artist or doctor prescribed you!

Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: Day by Day Tips

From this chapter, you will learn what tattoo aftercare instructions you must follow from day one to day thirty so that you can take proper care of your tattoo.

Day 1-3

So, you got your first tattoo finally. When you take off your initial bandage (after 4-5 hours), you must wash new tattoo with lukewarm water. It will help you loosen up the dried lymph and blood a bit. You can also take a shower but never soak yourself in your bathtub or jump into your pool. Never try to clean the tattooed area aggressively. Otherwise, your tattoo will lead to a scab, which may affect the healing process. 

Just use antibacterial soap to wash your tattoo skin. Afterward, use a paper towel to dry your tattoo. Then, apply a thin layer of either Vitamin A&D ointment, Aquaphor, or Bepathin. Never overcoat your tattoo with the ointment. A tiny amount is a key. 

You don’t need to cover your tattoo with a bandage again. Make sure you wash your tattoo every couple of hours with a mild soap-free from germs.

Then, dry the tattoo and apply a tiny amount of ointment. Ensure you clean your hands thoroughly before you wash your tattoo. Follow these tattoo aftercare tips for only three days. 

You may notice that some ink runs into the sink as you wash. This is just excess ink that has rubbed off on your skin.

Day 4-6

After the first three initial days of tattooing, washing your tattoo 2-3 times a day will be enough. From this time, you can apply a tiny amount of unscented skin lotion to your tattoo on a limited basis. Keep in mind; you shouldn’t use the lotion too much. Otherwise, it can lead to clogged pores & pimples on and around the tattoo. 

Day 6-14

A few days after all these, your tattoo will not scab anymore. But it may peel like a sunburn. If this is the case for you, don’t freak out. It’s natural, and everything goes well. 

However, you should go to your tattoo artist or doctor if your tattoo remains red and swollen. These are some symptoms of infection. 

Day 15-30

At this point, your tattoo stops peeling, and it will look slightly shiny and waxy. You can even apply lotion at this point whenever it feels dry. If your skin feels tight, you can use Aquaphor or cocoa butter. 

Keep in mind; your tattoo will take 1-2 weeks or really babying it and requires additional 2-4 weeks of going completely back to normal. 

Forget to mention that you must keep your tattooed skin out of sun exposure during the initial 2 weeks of healing. In this stage, our skin has no real protection against UV rays. 

The fresh tattoo immediately requires a minimum of 6 weeks of 100% healing properly if you follow the tattoo aftercare instructions appropriately. Once your new tattoo is healed completely, put a heavy sunblock over it whenever you go outside for a day. 

After One month :

You know that your tattoo is a long-term investment. Hence care of new tattoo is significant and aking it away from UV exposure is the part of.care proper after will not allow your tattoo to fade away quickly. 


You’ll have bright, shiny ink when you leave the tattoo shop – but that’s not going to last. The tattoo will fade with time. Always wear sunscreen, especially in summer.

Side Effects You Should Consider About Tattoo Aftercare

You will experience the following side effects during the tattoo healing process. 

Tattoo swollen

Once you remove the bandage after 4-5 hours, you can find your present skin swollen, red, and bloody. It’s natural as tattoo needles pierce into your skin 3000 times per minute. So, don’t worry if your skin gets swollen. 


You may experience infection if you don’t take care of your tattoos properly. An infected tattoo looks red, warm, and painful. In this case, go to your tattoo artist or a doctor for help. 

You could get a bloodborne infection if your tattoo artist did your tattoos with contaminated needles and ink. 

Scabbing & Itching

Scabbing and itching are common side effects of tattooing. Generally, scabs work as a protective layer that covers your tattoo and keeps the dirt & debris out of your open wound. The shortcoming of scabs is they will itch a bit. 

Allergic Reaction

If you are sensitive to the ink, you may experience scabbing and itching. According to a study, red tattoos are prone to allergic reactions

Is the Aftercare Routine The Same For All Tattoos?

No, the aftercare routine for all tattoos is not the same. It will differ based on the tattoo style and its size. For example, you don’t need to put in a lot of aftercare work when it comes to the black and white tattoos. On the other hand, you need to follow the aftercare tips evenly if you draw color tattoos as they are too damaging compared to black and white tattoos. 

What Aftercare Products Should I Use?

The tattoo artists always recommend what aftercare products to be used after they have tattooed you.

After removing your bandage, what you need to do is- wash your tattoo with bacteria free soap. You can consider the following soap for washing your tattoo.

Then, you must apply ointment to make the tattoo healing process faster. Try out the below ointments:

After three days, you can apply the following regular skin moisturizer:


How long are you supposed to wait to shower after getting a tattoo?

You need to wait for 3-4 hours after getting a tattoo to take shower. However, we recommend you not to soak yourself in your bathtub for two weeks. Also, never jump into your swimming pool when your tattoo is fresh. 

What are tips for caring for your tattoo on the first day of getting it?

You should keep the bandage used by tattoo artists to cover your tattoo for the first 4-5 hours after getting one. Then, remove it and wash your tattoo with lukewarm water and soap. Afterward, apply A&D ointment on it. You can wash the tattoo after 2-3 hours. Before washing the tattoo, sanitize your hand thoroughly. 

Should I cover your tattoo with cling film when I sleep?

Yes, you should cover your tattoo with cling film even when you sleep. It keeps your tattooed area germ-free and reduces tattoo rubbing. 

Is It Safe To Use Coconut Oil For Aftercare?

Yes, coconut oil is safe for aftercare and makes the healing process faster. It will protect your skin after tattooing against bacteria and infection.


You should maintain the aftercare instructions once you get your tattoos. It will help you to heal the open wound properly. Please follow the above guidelines to help your tattoo heal. 

Also, apply the aftercare products we mentioned above to make the healing process faster. If you don’t follow the aftercare guide we delivered, you may experience an infection. 

Go to a doctor immediately if you see the symptoms of infections.