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12 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Tattoo Aftercare

Ink on the skin is more than aesthetics; it is a testament to personal stories, profound beliefs, cherished memories, and art appreciation. Whether getting inked for the first time or adding to an expansive collection, the thrill remains unparalleled.

Tattoo enthusiasts often invest significant time refining their desired designs, delving into deep conversations with their artists. The anticipation leading up to the session and the experience mark only the beginning.

And while your artist can lay down some incredible designs and their work is done, the responsibility shifts to you. Thus, your journey begins when the needle lifts off the skin. The period that ensues, known as the post-tattoo recovery phase, plays a critical role in ensuring the vibrancy and longevity of your new masterpiece.


Remember, a fresh tattoo is essentially an open wound. Even the most captivating designs can retain their sharpness if overlooked or adequately cared for. Understanding and diligently following the best aftercare practices is paramount to ensure your artistry remains brilliant and heals perfectly.


17 Essential Tips for Vibrant, Long-lasting Ink

 1. The Oxygen Rule: No Re-wraps!

After your tattoo session, some artists might still use an older method of covering the fresh tattoo with cellophane plastic wrap. If this is the case, remove it within 2-3 hours. This type of wrap can suffocate the skin, preventing it from getting the oxygen it desperately needs to start the healing process. More concerning is the potential for tattoo damage. Blood, plasma, and ink build-up can be pushed out from the skin and trapped beneath the wrap. With somewhere else to go, this can blur fine lines and dull, sharp details, compromising the appearance of your new ink. It's vital to be aware that leaving such a wrap on could risk ruining your new tattoo even before it begins to heal.

If your artist opts to use specialized tattoo films like Saniderm or Dermalize, adhere to the instructions on their official websites. These films are crafted to aid in optimal tattoo healing. They shield against contaminants and bacteria while allowing the skin to breathe, reducing the likelihood of your fresh ink sticking to fabrics.

However, these modern films, designed to be worn longer than the traditional cellophane, still require periodic checks. Monitor the visibility of your tattoo under the film. If the design becomes clouded due to excessive accumulation of ink, blood, and plasma, promptly removing the film is prudent to avert potential damage to your tattoo. Once you've taken it off, cleanse and pat the area dry, then apply a premium aftercare product like Inked Ritual for superior healing.

Notably, based on the tattoo's location and individual professions, some may find it beneficial to reapply another wrap. In certain situations, such as specific work environments or during sleep, having the tattoo securely wrapped can assist in safeguarding it during the early healing stages. However, remain vigilant. Keep an eye on the tattoo's appearance beneath any wrap. If it looks questionable or the tattoo becomes obscured, it's a good practice to remove the wrap and replace it with a fresh one. There should be no need to keep the tattoo wrapped beyond two days.

2. Hygiene: Cleanliness is Key!

Our hands are often teeming with germs. When these germs come in contact with an open wound, like a fresh tattoo, the risk of infections rises; therefore, always ensure your hands are clean before touching your new ink. It might seem like common sense, but it's easy to overlook the potential contaminants our hands carry. The skin remains particularly vulnerable during the initial 7-10 days post-tattoo. When washing, opt for fragrance-free soaps. Steer clear of dish soaps and be wary of antibacterial varieties that might contain forms of alcohol, as these can jeopardize your tattoo's integrity and healing. The key is to be mindful and prioritize proper care for your new artwork.

3. Lukewarm is Your Friend: No Hot Water!

A hot shower might be soothing, but it's not friendly for a new tattoo. Instead, lukewarm water is the way to go when cleaning your fresh ink during its early healing days. Hot water can irritate the tattooed area and even fade some ink. Because your tattooed skin is delicate, exposing it to hot water can open up pores, risking the loss of some unsettled ink. So, gently rinse the tattoo with lukewarm water when you're showering, and avoid letting it sit under water for too long.

4. Pure & Simple: Avoid Fragrance & Alcohol-based Soaps

Typical soaps might have strong fragrances and alcohols that aren't friendly to a fresh tattoo. These ingredients can cause irritation, itching, or even rashes. Instead, choose gentle cleansers made for sensitive or wounded skin. They're free of harsh additives and provide a safer cleaning option for your new ink.

5. Tattoo Cleaning: The Gentle Approach

For the healing phase of your tattoo, always wash with clean hands. Gently cleanse using a circular motion with lukewarm water and a fragrance-free antibacterial soap. After rinsing, avoid rough drying. Gently pat the area with a clean towel or, even better, a new piece of paper towel. Let your tattoo air dry for 5-10 minutes to ensure it's completely dry. After that, apply Inked Ritual to keep the tattoo hydrated and promote optimal healing. Remember, being gentle helps maintain your tattoo's integrity and appearance.

6. Choose Wisely: Avoid Petroleum or Mineral Oil-based Products

Popular skincare ointments such as Aquaphor, A&D Ointment, Bepanthen, Bacitracin, Neosporin, and Vaseline primarily contain petrolatum and mineral oil. Recent clinical studies and evidence have highlighted concerns about petrolatum, a petroleum derivative, pointing to its potential risks as an endocrine disruptor and a carcinogenic substance. Just as concerns have risen about parabens in skincare, increasing awareness about the potential health risks of petrolatum is leading to a shift in consumer preferences.

While these products might have been staples for years, being informed and cautious is essential. Products containing toxins, especially those linked to significant health concerns, should be avoided.

Moreover, for those with ethical considerations in skincare, it's worth noting that these products are far from vegan and cruelty-free.
Some tattoo artists may recommend these products, potentially citing their affordability. However, when comparing cost per ounce or milliliter, many of these ointments are similarly priced, or sometimes even more expensive, than specialized products like Inked Ritual.

If your artist suggests using any of these older ointments, consider alternative options. Advances in skincare and a better understanding of ingredients mean superior, skin-friendly, and health-conscious alternatives are available.

Invest in a quality, all-natural tattoo aftercare product for best results and long-term vibrancy. Planning? Purchase your preferred tattoo aftercare product before your session to ensure optimal care.

7. Less is More: Moderation in Moisturizing

It's a common misconception that more is always better. When it comes to tattoo aftercare, moderation is vital. Overloading your fresh ink with excessive tattoo creams or lotions can hinder its ability to breathe. This can delay healing and lead to complications like scabbing and flaking.

To ensure optimal healing, apply tattoo aftercare products like a pro: use a thin, even layer, reapplying multiple times throughout the day. This approach helps keep your new ink hydrated without overwhelming it. Remember, especially with high-quality serums like Inked Ritual; a little goes a long way. Its lightweight formula is designed for efficiency, so there's no need to be heavy-handed.

If you have applied too much, dab away the excess with a paper towel. Applying light, consistent coats multiple times a day is always better than a thick, heavy layer. This method is more effective for healing and ensures you get the most out of your product without waste.

8. Stay Strong: Resist Picking Scabs or Peeling Skin

Tampering with the scabs on a new tattoo isn't just a bad idea; it can be disastrous. Picking at them can yank ink from your skin and potentially leave scars. Hydration and optimal skin care are critical to proper aftercare and preventing such complications.

From the onset of your tattoo's healing process, the recommended product is Inked Ritual Tattoo Care Serum. This serum isn't merely a moisturizer; it's a dedicated solution crafted to be non-greasy, soothing, and intensely hydrating. With regular use of Inked Ritual, you may find that typical issues like itching and flakiness might not even surface, thanks to its effectiveness in reducing inflammation and irritation. Apply Inked Ritual 3-4 times daily throughout the healing process for the best results. Continuing with a daily application afterward will help maintain the vibrancy and boldness of your tattoo.

What makes Inked Ritual stand out? It boasts a blend of natural ingredients renowned for their anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties. This includes witch hazel, green tea, aloe vera, Dragon Fruit, Chinese Cucumber, Echinacea, Marshmallow Root, and Norwegian Kelp. Especially noteworthy is the Norwegian Kelp, a brown algae packed with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and omega-3s. Its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant traits are essential in soothing irritation and accelerating healing.

Additionally, the formula incorporates Oat Protein, which softens and soothes the skin, and Vitamin-E, known for its anti-inflammatory and skin-strengthening properties. This serum isn't just about preserving your tattoo's beauty; it's about comprehensive skin health.

9. Resist the Itch: Don't Scratch!

It's a well-known fact that tattoos can get incredibly itchy during their healing phase. No matter the intensity of that itch, resist the urge to scratch. Scratching can not only introduce bacteria but can also unintentionally remove scabs or flaky skin, jeopardizing the integrity of your tattoo. Instead, gently cleanse the area with lukewarm water using a fragrance-free antibacterial soap, then pat dry.

Always turn to a reliable, natural ingredient-infused aftercare product like Inked Ritual to combat the itch. Not only does it stop itching, but it also soothes and nourishes your skin, reducing the chances of irritation. Remember, an itch is typically an indication that your skin requires hydration. Always moisturize with Inked Ritual, and as mentioned in point number 8, avoid picking or scratching to preserve the beauty of your ink.

10. Water Exposure: Avoid Submerging Your Tattoo

For the first 4-6 weeks after getting your tattoo, steer clear of immersing it in water, be it in baths, oceans, lakes, pools, or hot tubs. When you submerge your fresh ink, you risk its integrity. Our skin naturally soaks up water, and an overly saturated tattoo can impede proper healing. Additionally, the cleanliness of many water sources can be questionable, introducing potential infection risks. Moreover, be wary of the chlorine found in pools and hot tubs. This chemical can not only harm your new tattoo but also lead to unwanted effects like dryness, peeling, and irritation.

11. Heat Sources: Saunas and Steam Rooms are Off-Bounds

Steer clear of saunas and steam rooms after getting your tattoo. The high heat and moisture in these environments can jeopardize the healing process by increasing the body's sweat production and potentially opening pores. This creates a prime environment for infections and might even lead to your ink fading or healing unevenly. It's best to wait 4-6 weeks, ensuring your new tattoo is fully healed, before stepping back into such hot and humid spaces. Your fresh ink's integrity is worth the patience!

12. Sun Exposure: A Tattoo’s Nemesis

You've probably heard about the harmful effects of the sun on our skin. When it comes to new tattoos, the stakes are even higher. The sun's UV rays can be particularly harmful to fresh ink. Newly tattooed skin is more susceptible to sun damage; even a brief exposure can jeopardize the tattoo's appearance. For the initial 3-4 weeks, shielding your tattoo from the sun is crucial by covering it with clothing.

Remember, even after those initial weeks, you should prioritize protecting your tattoo from the sun. But here's a keynote: take your time before slathering on sunscreen. Wait until the tattoo is fully healed before applying any SPF products. And when you do, ensure you pick a sunscreen with non-toxic ingredients, as many contain harmful chemicals.

While Inked Ritual isn't classified as an OTC sunscreen, it benefits tattoos before and after sun exposure. After spending a day under the sun, applying Inked Ritual to clean, dry skin helps nourish both the skin and the tattoo, maintaining its vibrancy and health.

And a note to remember: when the tattoo has fully healed, and you're reaching for sunscreen, ensure it's non-toxic. Many sunscreens contain harmful chemicals. Moreover, always sidestep tanning beds when sporting a new tattoo. Prioritizing these steps will ensure your inked artwork's lasting beauty and health!

And one more thing: steer clear of tanning beds, especially with a new tattoo. Your tattoo's longevity and vibrancy are worth these precautions!

13. Wardrobe Choices: Loose and Breathable

Tight attire on a fresh tattoo can be more harmful than you think. The constant rubbing might irritate the skin, potentially causing rashes, infections, or even scabbing, which can escalate to scarring. This friction can also lead to ink displacement, affecting your tattoo's vibrancy.

Wise Wardrobe Choices: Prioritize Comfort and Care - Opting for loose, breathable attire to promote optimal healing is essential. This reduces the friction and lessens the chance of irritation.

Sleeping Considerations: Your bedding materials can also affect the healing process. Especially during the initial 3-5 days post-inking, be mindful of the type of sheets or blankets you use. If your tattoo is unwrapped and exposed, you'll want to ensure that no dye from the sheets transfers onto your tattoo. Furthermore, aim for softer, smoother fabrics that won't rub against your tattoo as you move in your sleep.

Remember, from the clothes you wear during the day to the sheets you sleep in at night; every choice can impact the healing of your new ink. Adopting these precautions will not only provide comfort but will also safeguard your freshly-inked masterpiece from potential harm.

14. Exercise: Timing is Everything

Many people don't know this, but getting a tattoo and exercising can strain your immune system. If you spent several hours getting your new tattoo, consider taking a few days off from the gym to let your body recover. Working out too soon after getting inked can raise your body temperature and make you sweat. Just like being in a sauna, sweating can open up your pores. This can increase the risk of infections and may even cause some of the ink to come out. Also, if your tattoo is in a place that moves a lot when you exercise, the stretching from increased blood flow might harm the tattoo as it's healing.

15. New Tattoo Etiquette: Restricted Access

Protecting your new tattoo from infections is vital. Everyone, including pets, can carry germs and bacteria. While your new tattoo might be a conversation starter, asking people to keep their hands to themselves until it's fully healed is a good idea. Tattoo Care Tip: Limit Touching - Everyone might want a closer look at your new artwork, but preventing direct contact is best to keep it safe from infections. Stay Cautious: While flaunting your fresh ink can be tempting, minimizing physical contact during its early healing days is essential. And remember, even pets can introduce unwanted germs, so be mindful of their contact, too.

16. Careful Grooming: Wait Before You Shave

After getting a new tattoo, avoiding shaving the area for 6-8 weeks is essential. Using a razor on freshly inked skin can lead to cuts and may disrupt the healing scabs, risking the tattoo's appearance. If you're concerned about hair growth, choose loose clothing to cover the tattooed area. Always prioritize your tattoo's health over regular grooming practices during healing.

Pro Tip: If you plan on getting a tattoo on a hairy part of your body, start shaving the area a few weeks before your tattoo session. Pre-conditioning the skin in this manner helps it acclimate to the shaving process. Initiating the shaving routine for the first time right before getting inked can cause skin irritation or minor rashes. Prepping in advance ensures a smoother canvas for your artist and a more comfortable experience for you.

17. Alcohol and Fresh Tattoos: Tread Carefully

Celebrating a new tattoo with a drink is tempting, but knowing the potential risks is crucial. Consuming alcohol before and after inking can hamper your tattoo's healing process. This is because alcohol thins the blood and can slow healing, elevating infection risk. Anything that weakens your immune system can hinder the healing of your precious new ink.

Moreover, overindulging can reduce your inhibitions, leading to potential mishaps. You might inadvertently allow others to touch the fresh tattoo or, in unfortunate situations, have an accident, like falling and injuring the tattooed area. While these scenarios might be rare, they're worth considering. Depending on your new artwork's size, placement, and investment, dedicate a few nights to resting and healing at home before enjoying a spirited night out.


18. Prioritize Wellness for Vibrant Tattoos

Much like a canvas, your body deserves utmost care, especially when it's about to receive or has just received a new piece of art. Sugar and junk foods, as tempting as they might be, aren't your allies during this time. Sugar, known to suppress the immune system, promotes inflammation, which weakens your defense mechanisms, potentially impacting the healing of your new tattoo.

Junk food, likewise, strains your immune system and liver. Remember, a fresh tattoo is essentially an open wound. For optimal healing, your body needs a robust immune system. That's why avoiding getting inked is advisable if you're not feeling 100%. Rescheduling for when you're at your healthiest is best.

While your tattoo will heal and likely look fabulous regardless, why settle for just "good" when it can be outstanding? A weakened immune system can slow the tattoo's healing, potentially affecting its final vibrancy. We're not implying that a tattoo won't look impressive, but it might not achieve its best potential.
Considering a clean-eating regimen about a month before your tattoo session can make a notable difference. A month-long detox – cutting out sweets fast foods, limiting alcohol and drug consumption – ensures your immune system is in top shape on the big day. Please think of this as a professional hack we vouch for, having seen tangible benefits ourselves.

And once that ink has settled? Give it the care it deserves. Inked Ritual Tattoo Serum not only enhances the healing process, shortens the recovery to less than a week, but also counters inflammation, infection, and itchiness. The result? Bold, vibrant tattoos that stand the test of time. This isn't just a product. It's a commitment to preserving the art you've so passionately chosen for yourself. Guaranteed!


INKED RITUAL Tattoo Aftercare Serum


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