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Aftercare of Your Tattoo

Aftercare for Your Tattoo Source by Tattoo Artist, Emily North


  1. General Care: After 3-5 hours, wash hands well, remove the bandage gently, and clean as outlined in #2. Keep tattoo covered for two weeks with clean, loose-fitting cotton clothing, but DO NOT REBANDANGE. Make sure anything that touches your tattoo while healing is clean and sterile, including: hands, clothing, sheets, towels.
  2. Three times a day: Wash hands thoroughly. Cleanse tattoo with 50% water-diluted unscented liquid soap and let a weak stream of water run over it to rinse off soap. Blot dry with a CLEAN paper towel (do NOT use a reuseable towel). Apply a THIN film of Neosporin or A and D Ointment. Cover with clean, lose-fitting cotton clothing. Do this 3 times a day for the next 3 days.
  3. After 3 days, follow same care routine, but use unscented lotion instead of the ointment until skin returns to its pre-tattoo condition.
  4. Precautions : DO NOT over moisturize or use non-recommended ointments, natural oils or shea butter (such as Aquaphor, coconut oil, etc.) as these will fade tattoo and/or cause a reaction. Stay out of sunlight and tanning booths until tattoo is healed, at least 14 days. Do not soak tattoo in tub, sauna, Jacuzzi or go swimming for 14 days. Showers are fine. Do not rub or pick the treated area while it is healing. Loss of color and/or infection will occur. Extreme sun and exposure over the years will fade your tattoo. This can be minimized by using a strong sunscreen, at least SPF30.
  5. Your tattoo should heal in 2-3 weeks. Swelling and pain are common during the first week or so and you may ice the tattoo or take common pain killers such as tylenol to lessen symptoms.
  6. Tattoos can become infected when exposed to air-borne bacteria or contaminated hands/surfaces. Ink allergies are not uncommon, especially with colored ink, and will cause problems with healing. Consult a physician if any symptoms develop such as the following: redness at site, green/yellow foul smelling discharge, bumps and/or fever. If you notice subtle irritation beyond the first three days, first review your aftercare. If you are doing everything right, you may consider switching up your aftercare routine as some clients develop sensitivities to aftercare ointments, even when they haven't had them in the past.


Emily North has been an artist/designer for 20+ years and tattooing since 2009. She is licensed to tattoo in NYC, and completed bloodborne pathogen training. She uses all VEGAN inks, new sterile disposable needles and tubes and pride herself in being clean and neat so no cross-contamination takes place. She is an activist and used to be a case manager and counselor. She loves tattooing because she is providing a life-long art and gets to interact with awesome people. Emily North is dedicated to providing a safe, supportive environment for her clients. She is currently working at Myrtle Ink Brooklyn, New York and traveling.  To view Emily North's portfolio, click here .  For Tattoo Scheduling & Information with Emily North, click here.


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