5 Practical Tips for a Smooth Tattoo Healing Process
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Keep the tattoo clean
  2. Apply a thin layer of lotion
  3. Avoid direct sunlight
  4. Don’t pick or scratch
  5. Stay hydrated and nourished

So, you've just gotten a new tattoo and you're excited to show it off. But hold on! There's a crucial stage you need to pass before that, one that requires patience and proper care—the tattoo healing process. Ensuring a smooth healing process is the key to preserving the beauty of your freshly inked skin. Let's dive into five practical tips that can help you navigate this journey with ease.

Keep the tattoo clean

First things first, cleanliness is paramount when it comes to taking care of your new tattoo. Much like any other open wound, your tattoo is susceptible to bacteria and infection. Therefore, maintaining its cleanliness is a critical part of the tattoo healing process.

Washing the tattoo

After getting a tattoo, you should wait at least 24 hours before cleaning it. When you do, gently wash the tattooed area with warm water and a mild, fragrance-free soap. Here's a simple step-by-step guide:

  1. Wash your hands thoroughly before touching the tattoo.
  2. Wet the tattoo with warm water.
  3. Apply a small amount of mild soap to your hand and lightly massage it over the tattoo.
  4. Rinse thoroughly, ensuring all soap has been washed off.
  5. Pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel—don't rub it!

Protecting the tattoo

Once your tattoo is clean, it's essential to keep it protected from potential contaminants. This means avoiding swimming in pools, hot tubs, or natural bodies of water during the initial stages of the tattoo healing process. Furthermore, you should wear clean, loose-fitting clothes that won't stick to your tattoo.

When to clean the tattoo

During the first few days, you might notice some ink or blood oozing from the tattoo—don't worry, this is part of the normal healing process. However, it means you'll need to clean your tattoo more frequently. Aim for around two to three times a day, or whenever you notice it becoming dirty or dried out.

Remember, the journey to flaunting a vibrant, healthy tattoo starts with a smooth tattoo healing process. Keeping your tattoo clean is a big part of that, so follow these guidelines and you'll be on your way to showing off your new art in no time!

Apply a thin layer of lotion

The next step in the tattoo healing process comes after cleaning—moisturizing. Keeping your tattoo well-hydrated can help speed up healing, prevent flaking, and maintain the vibrancy of your tattoo colors. But remember, a little goes a long way.

Selecting the right lotion

When it comes to choosing a lotion for your tattoo, you should stick to something unscented and dye-free. Avoid products with harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin. Some go-to brands amongst tattoo veterans include Lubriderm and Aveeno. These offer mild and gentle formulations that are less likely to cause irritation.

Applying the lotion

Applying lotion to your tattoo isn't complicated, but it does require a gentle touch. Here's how to do it:

  1. First, clean your hands to avoid introducing any unnecessary bacteria to the area.
  2. Next, squeeze a small amount of lotion onto your fingertips—remember, less is more.
  3. Then, gently massage the lotion onto your tattoo, making sure to cover the entire area.
  4. Finally, let the lotion absorb into your skin before covering the tattoo or getting dressed.

Consistency is key

When it comes to moisturizing your tattoo, consistency is crucial. You should aim to apply lotion to your tattoo at least two to three times a day. However, be careful not to overdo it—a soggy tattoo can lead to slowed healing or even ink fallout.

Applying a thin layer of lotion consistently is a simple yet effective step in the tattoo healing process. It keeps your ink fresh, your skin nourished, and brings you one step closer to unveiling your healed tattoo to the world.

Avoid direct sunlight

Now that we've talked about proper cleaning and moisturizing, let's move onto another crucial element of the tattoo healing process: protection from the sun. While a little vitamin D is usually a good thing, when it comes to a fresh tattoo, the sun is not your friend.

Sun exposure and fresh tattoos

So, why is the sun bad for a new tattoo? Well, it's simple—UV rays can cause your tattoo to fade, distort colors, and can even cause blistering in the early stages of healing. Remember, your skin is delicate after a tattoo session, and too much sunlight can cause significant damage.

Stay in the shade

During the initial healing phase, it's best to keep your tattoo away from direct sunlight as much as possible. If you can't avoid going outside, try to stay in the shade, or cover your tattoo with loose clothing. Remember, the sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so try to limit your exposure during these hours.

Sunscreen isn't enough—at first

While sunscreen is usually a good idea for skin protection, it's not recommended for fresh tattoos. The chemicals in sunscreen can irritate your healing skin and slow down the tattoo healing process. But don't worry—you can start using sunscreen on your tattoo once it's fully healed to protect your artwork from fading.

Avoiding direct sunlight may be a bit of a hassle, especially during the warmer months, but trust me—it's well worth it to keep your tattoo looking its best for years to come.

Don’t pick or scratch

Got an itch? Don't scratch it! Sounds tough, right? But, when it comes to the tattoo healing process, this rule is one of the most important. Let me tell you why.

The itch is part of the healing process

First off, you should know that itching is completely normal. After all, your skin is in repair mode and is likely to feel a bit irritated. But remember, scratching that itch can actually slow down the healing process and damage your new tattoo.

Scratching can lead to scarring

When you scratch or pick at your tattoo, you risk pulling out the ink or creating scar tissue. Both of these outcomes can make your tattoo look less vibrant and sharp. Simply put, you don't want that to happen.

How to soothe the itch

So, how can you resist the urge to scratch? Try using a moisturizer designed for tattoo aftercare—just remember to apply it gently. Also, wearing loose, breathable clothing can help minimize irritation. And if you're really struggling, try lightly slapping the itchy area—this can distract your nerves without causing damage to your tattoo.

It's not easy, but resisting the urge to scratch or pick at your tattoo is a major key to a successful tattoo healing process. It may take a bit of willpower, but your beautifully healed tattoo will be worth the effort!

Stay Hydrated and Nourished

That's right, what you put into your body matters just as much as what you put on your skin. The tattoo healing process is no exception. Let's break down why staying hydrated and eating well are so important during this time.

Hydration for Healing

You know how you're always told to drink plenty of water? Well, here's another situation where it holds true. Staying adequately hydrated aids in keeping your skin moisturized from the inside out. This can accelerate the tattoo healing process and help prevent your skin from drying out and causing that dreaded itch.

  • Tip: Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water each day. If you need a reminder, there are plenty of free apps out there that can help you track your water intake.

Nourishment for Recovery

Just like any other part of your body, your skin needs nutrients to repair itself. Consuming a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can speed up the tattoo healing process. Foods high in vitamin C, zinc, and protein are particularly beneficial.

  • Example: Citrus fruits, leafy greens, lean meats, and nuts are all excellent choices.

Remember, a healthy body heals faster. So, give your body the fuel it needs and watch how it positively affects your tattoo healing process.

If you're interested in creating your own unique tattoo designs, check out Trey Zimmerman's workshop, 'How to Draw Beautiful Character Designs from Scratch.' This workshop will teach you how to create stunning and original character designs that can be incorporated into your next tattoo project. Enhance your tattoo healing process by ensuring you're getting a high-quality and personalized design that you'll love for years to come.