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Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoo aftercare is of utmost importance in ensuring the longevity, appearance, and overall health of a newly inked piece of art. Proper aftercare helps to minimize the risk of infection, promote proper healing, and preserve the vibrancy of the tattoo.

General Information

Immediately after getting a tattoo, the skin is essentially an open wound, making it vulnerable to bacteria and other contaminants. By following appropriate aftercare instructions, such as keeping the tattoo clean and lightly moisturized, avoiding excessive exposure to sunlight, avoiding intense activities that cause sweating, and refraining from picking or scratching at the tattooed area, you can significantly reduce the chances of complications. Moreover, diligent aftercare helps prevent scarring and maintains the integrity of the tattoo, allowing it to heal properly and retain its original beauty for years to come.

Average Healing time

In general, it takes about 2 to 3 weeks for the outer layers of the skin to heal after getting a tattoo. However, it's important to note that complete healing, including the deeper layers of the skin, may take about a month.

Redness, scabs, and irritation

During the initial healing stage, the tattooed area may experience redness, swelling, and a thin scabbing or peeling process. It's crucial to follow the aftercare instructions below to ensure the healing process goes smoothly and the tattoo retains its color and clarity. It's also worth mentioning that everyone's healing process can vary, so it's essential to listen to your body and consult the artist or a doctor if you have any concerns or complications during the healing period.

Touch ups

Touch-ups are often necessary for tattoos due to several factors. One primary factor is fading over time, which can occur due to sunlight exposure, skin aging, and natural shedding of skin cells. Another factor is uneven healing, where certain areas of the tattoo may heal differently, resulting in uneven color distribution or patchiness. Lastly, as the tattoo settles into the skin and the tissues adjust, some ink may migrate or settle unevenly, potentially causing slight distortions or imperfections. Touch-ups are performed to refine and correct all of these aforementioned issues, ensuring the tattoo looks its best.

Second Skin

Second skin, also known as tattoo film, is a transparent adhesive film used for tattoo aftercare. It creates a sterile environment that promotes optimal healing conditions, protects against contaminants, and minimize scabbing. It is applied for a specific duration and then removed, followed by regular aftercare. Consult with your tattoo artist to determine if it is suitable for your tattoo and skin type.

Aftercare step-by-step instructions

Step 1:
Applying the second skin

After your tattoo session, your tattoo artist will apply a layer of second skin for aftercare. If you notice an excessive amount of moisture under the second skin, you can remove it and gently cleanse the area with unscented soap. It is normal to see a thin layer of plasma and rejected ink under the second skin, but only remove it if there is an excessive amount. To ensure proper healing and prevent irritation, it is important to avoid direct sunlight, heat, and activities that could soak the tattoo in moisture (for example, swimming, hot yoga). Failing to do so may result in uneven healing.

Step 2:
When and how to remove the second skin

You can remove the second skin 24-72 hours after it was first applied. It is important to listen to your skin. If your skin feels itchy, red, and irritated by the adhesive of the second skin, remove the second skin immediately. To remove the second skin, find a corner & gently pull/stretch the second skin away from the rest of the stuck bandage (try not to rip it upwards). As it stretches the adhesive will release to the stuck skin. I have examples of this process on my Instagram story highlight (@inkedbychloe).

Step 3:
Clean & dry the tattoo

Once you have removed the second skin gently wash the area with unscented soap. Be sure to remove any clumps of plasma, blood, or ink. However, be careful not to scratch the area. If the second skin left some glue residue on the skin, gently massage some coconut oil into the glue residue when washing your tattoo. The glue residue will come off in a few days. As I mentioned before scabs/flakes are normal, do not pick at the tattoo as this will cause the ink to seep out and ruin your tattoo. Once the area is clean, lightly pat it dry with a clean paper towel. Avoid rubbing and friction. Once the area has dried, apply any aftercare/unscented moisturizer as needed.

Step 4:
Care for the tattoo

As mentioned in my FAQ, exposing your tattoo to excessive UV such as tanning without sunscreen will significantly effect how your tattoo heals. If properly cared for, tattoos will need minimal touch ups and heal in great! Please remember your sunscreen! If you have any questions about the healing process please email me at

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