Aftercare for Healing Tattoos

When you make the investment to work with one of Neurotic Ink’s artists, aftercare is the most important step in making sure you’re as happy with your new tattoo as the moment you first saw it in the mirror. Here’s how to care for your tattoo after you leave the shop:

Day 1: When you get home

Remove the bandage provided by your artist within 1-2 hours of arriving home and perform the following wash procedure:

  1. Run tattoo under mildly warm water in shower or under tap. Slowly turn the water to as hot as you can stand and keep it there for 15-20 seconds.
  2. QUICKLY turn the temperature to COLD and allow water run over your tattoo for 15-30 seconds.
  3. Blot dry with a clean paper towel and let air dry for 5-10 minutes.

This process helps flush out pores from dried blood and pigment that is hard to see. It then tightens pores to promote less peeling and a shorter healing period.

After you’ve washed: Apply a VERY THIN layer of H2Ocean or A&D Ointment. Massage gently into the tattoo and blot off excess ointment from skin with a clean paper towel. Leave it alone until time for reapplication (2-4 times daily). DO NOT BANDAGE AGAIN. Wear loose fitting clothing over tattoo for two weeks.

Days 2-4

Use Ointment 2-4 times daily for:

Black and gray work: 1-2 days

Full color work: 3-5 days

Days 5-24

After last day of ointment, begin using a white, non-scented non-medicated lotion in its place. (Lubriderm or Aveeno) If you react to any lotion or ointment immediately clean the skin and try a different brand. Do not use lotions that read “sensitive skin” or “Extra Dry”.

Just use normal lotion for two weeks or for as long as skin is still dry and flaky. Your tattoo can begin to peel 3-6 days after the procedure. DO NOT PICK!!! Itching will follow. DO NOT SCRATCH!!! You may smack the tattoo to relieve itching. Use a warm/hot wet compress for 15-30 minutes to rehydrate the tattoo and make comfortable. Let air dry before applying fresh lotion.


Keep tattoo out of direct sunlight for two weeks. DO NOT SOAK TATTOO. No hot tubs or baths for two weeks… Showers only. You may shower as soon as you remove the initial bandage. Use only a gentle liquid antibacterial soap and wash only with your bare hand. Wash your hand before and immediately after caring for your tattoo. No shaving the area for 2-3 weeks. Sleep only on freshly washed and dried sheets. Keep all pets from sleeping on the bed for at least the first week of healing.

Keep others from handling your tattoo. If someone accidentally touches or bumps into your new tattoo, quickly clean the area and start over with fresh lotion.

Designate all/any lotions and ointments for YOUR TATTOO ONLY. Do not share with others or risk cross contamination. Always pat tattoo dry with a clean paper towel and throw it away… Using bathroom towels almost guarantees cross contamination.

If area was shaved before the tattoo was done, watch for in-grown hair. If a follicle becomes inflamed you may SPOT TREAT with Neosporin or other triple antibiotic ointment. Use ONLY on the irritated area, NOT THE WHOLE TATTOO for 2-3 days.

Neosporin and other antibiotic ointments are going to help your body fight off this new foreign substance in your skin (YOUR TATTOO). This results in fading of the tattoo pigment. ONLY USE WHEN ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY.

After healed tattoos need to be protected from the sun. Always use sunblock. Working out or doing any activity that stresses newly tattooed skin should be stopped or limited until healed. Sweat, which carries bacteria, can cause infection. Clean immediately after strenuous activity.