Tattoo After-Care

Martian Arts Tattoo Studio
Tattoo Aftercare Instructions

  • First of all, remember that your body is healing a wound, so treat the tattoo, and body, with care. For this reason, redness, soreness, and mild swelling in the first day or 2 is normal. Get good rest, eat your veggies and drink lots of water! A healthy lifestyle will help heal your tattoo faster!
  • Remove the bandage with CLEAN HANDS after 1-4 hours. If you have an adhesive bandage, click HERE for removal information.
  • Work up a good lather with a gentle unscented liquid soap and warm water, washing the tattoo with only your fingertips. A clear, hypoallergenic soap is preferred. Do not use a loofah, sponge, or washcloth until your tattoo is completely healed. Pat dry with a clean towel and allow to air dry for several minutes before applying ointment or lotion.
  • Once dry, with CLEAN HANDS, apply the tiniest amount of ointment needed to moisturize. Aquaphor is one product we recommend, it is inexpensive and easily obtained. Of course there are other options, non-petroleum, etc. Your artist may recommend a different product that they like. Do NOT use vaseline,  neosporin or triple antibiotic ointment unless instructed to do so. If you have a question about a product, ask your artist.
  • Repeat the cycle of washing, drying and applying ointment 2-3 times a day for the first 2-3 days.
  • Wear loose, soft, comfortable clothing that will cause minimal friction to your tattoo.
  • Once it starts to peel, switch to a gentle, white unscented lotion. Apply sparingly a couple times a day with CLEAN HANDS to a tattoo that is CLEAN AND DRY. Continue applying lotion until it is completely healed.
  • Do NOT pick or scratch your tattoo while it is healing. EVER. This can increase your risk of infection, scarring and loss of ink. You should only be touching your tattoo when you are washing it or when applying lotion/ointment with clean hands. Light scabbing, itchiness and skin peeling are all totally normal. Just remember, don’t scratch!
  • NO long showers, baths, swimming, hot tubs or saunas until your tattoo is completely healed.
  • Avoid sun exposure. Once healed, always use sunblock to keep your tattoos fresh and bright.
  • Do not rebandage your tattoo but wear soft, loose, breathable clothing that will not rub.
  • When in doubt, keep your tattoo clean and dry and don’t mess with it too much. It is better to leave it alone than to apply the wrong product, or too much of any product.
  • If you have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact any of the artists at our shop and we will advise you on how to proceed.

Adhesive bandage instructions (Saniderm, tatuderm, etc.)

  • Adhesive bandages are designed to protect your tattoo from dirt, germs, friction and moisture.  They are breathable yet waterproof, so you can shower with them on.  They also allow you to show off your new tattoo without danger of contamination.
  • LEAVE the adhesive bandage on at least overnight.  It can stay in place for 12-48 hours as long as the adhesive seal remains in tact and there is no excessive fluid build-up under the surface.  If further protection is required for special circumstances, a second bandage may be placed by your tattoo artist and remain in place for several more days.  Usually one application is sufficient to seal in your body’s natural fluids and expedite the healing process.  
  • To REMOVE your adhesive bandage, peel it back slowly from an edge or corner, peeling it parallel with your skin and not away from your body.  Avoid stretching your skin as you do this.  Some people find it helpful to remove it in the shower.
  • Once the adhesive bandage is removed, work up a good lather with a mild liquid soap and WASH your tattoo, then allow to air dry for several minutes and proceed with aftercare as directed by your artist.
  • If you experience any adverse reaction, or if you find the adhesive bandage irritating,  itchy, hot, or bothersome, remove it immediately, WASH your tattoo and proceed with normal aftercare as directed by your artist.  
  • As always, please don’t hesitate to call the shop (503) 477-5069 or contact your artist directly if you have any questions or concerns.  Happy healing!