Your Questions About Tattoos

James asks…

Tattoo Care?

I just got a tattoo on Saturday, and wanted to know how other people take care of theirs..

My tattoo artist already told me how to care for it, but i was just wondering how others cared for theirs.

The Expert answers:

I’m a tattoo artist. No decent artist recommends using Preparation H, Vaseline or petroleum anymore unless they’ve been smoking crack. 1984 called. They want their heinous tattoo aftercare instructions back.

I know you’re just curious, but you should just listen to what your artist says. If you deviate from their aftercare in any way, they aren’t responsible for touching it up if anything happens. I’ve dealt with a few clients who have followed the instructions of well-meaning friends or random from the internet over my instruction, and I charged them full price to touch it up.

If you went to a reputable artist, they know what’s best.

Good luck!

Donna asks…

Tattoo care?

I just got a new tattoo, it is my second.. what kind of products are best to take care of it? Is the petroleum jelly okay to use on it?

The Expert answers:

Don’t use petroleum jelly! Get yourself some light scentless lotion. Better yet, call whoever did you work and ask them.

William asks…

tattoo care?

how do you take care of a tattoo so it doesn’t get infected and come out nice? i heard using vaseline and neosporin can fade the tattoo a little bit

The Expert answers:

I have four tattoos from 3 different places and they all told me something different. The best advice is to keep it clean. Keep it clean by washing it with an anti-bacterial soap like dial. Any pure soap with no perfumes or dyes is fine. After the first couple of days you can lotion it with Luberderm or Keri lotions when it get dry or itchy. These lotions are high price, but there the best on the market. They have absolutely no perfumes or dyes in them that could have a negative effect on your tattoo. Also avoid direct sunlight because the rays could fade the color of the ink.

David asks…

What was suggested to you for tattoo care?

I was given one suggestion of tattoo care by the guy who did my tattoo (it’s a horseshoe above my right ankle.) But I feel like the suggestion I was given was not enough. I was wondering what all of you were told to do to take care of your new tattoo.

The Expert answers:

Quite frankly, there’s a lot of silly advise about tattoo aftercare. There’s a lot of ‘old school’ advise that actually is not good for the tattoo image while healing. And there’s ‘cool’ advise that spreads like wildfire, and is based on a lack of understanding of what is the best for a healing tattoo, so that the image will come out looking it’s best. There’s a lot of very ‘wrong’ advise that is dangerous, and often has ‘explanations’ why it is a good idea, that are completely false.
What is current and excellent aftercare for a healing tattoo?
The basics.
Wash with antibacterial soap, using clean fingers.
No soaking, no direct streams of water, .. Splash rinse only.
No wash cloths, no cloth towels.
Pat dry with CLEAN paper towels only.
Air dry a bit,
apply a light coating of no scent, no dye white lotion.. I prefer Lubriderm, and Curel is good.
Pat off any seepage/ink transfer to avoid scabbing – scabbing can pull out color. If a scab does form, leave it alone to fall off on it’s own. But if you pat off seepage when you see it, it won’t scab.
Do not bandage after 1st 2 hrs. No saran or cling wrap (a breeding ground for bacteria)
No petroleum products, no lanolin, no Neosporin, no Vaseline, no scents, no dyes, no sun, no sunblock (until completely and totally healed = 2 – 4 wks or more).
Your tattoo goes through a myriad of phases, and will not look good after the 1st day until healed.
It will be red, swollen, itchy, peeling, scabbing, milky/filmy, shiny etc.
Just do excellent aftercare 3 – 5Xs a day for as long as it takes.
If you need a touch up, do excellent aftercare all over again for as long as it takes.

Here’s an excellent video explaining current aftercare and the whys and wherefores about it:


Carol asks…

Tattoo care and attention – professionals if available?

I have had some tattoos, all of which i have cared for without scabbing etc etc – but i was wondering what you think is the best way to care for the tattoo, both immediately after, and then continuing after, sun care, moisturising etc etc .

(im not asking for advice – just looking to build on my knowledge with more opinion)

The Expert answers:

Leave original bandage on for at least 4 hours. Wash twice a day for 1 week. Don’t touch it more than twice a day for a week. Cover it with saran wrap each time you wash and dry (air dry for 10 minutes) after applying vitamin a & d ointment.

After the week of that (wet healing) you apply lotion 2 times a day, washing daily when you shower.

There will be no scab. The most amount of ink that can be held in will be.

After 2 weeks you can apply sunscreen, daily. At least 15 proof.

I also apply aveno lotion everyday on my entire body. I have some VERY colorful tattoos that have not changed color at all and most of my most colorful and vibrant ones are 12 years old.

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