How to look after your new tattoo

There are lots of different ideas and methods for how to look after a new or fresh tattoo, but this is a relatively simple one that I have found works for my clients and me. The very simple overview is to keep it wrapped in cling film until the following morning but give it a wash and a new wrapper once or twice. More detailed aftercare instructions are as follows:


  • Remove the dressing once or twice (teatime and bedtime for morning appointments or just bedtime/late evening for afternoon appointments) and wash really well with anti-bacterial soap and hot water (to remove the slimy layer that will have formed), then give it a cold rinse.
  • Let it dry for a few minutes and then apply a new cling film bandage straight away (no cream).
  • In the morning remove the dressing and wash it really well again, allow it to air dry and leave it alone until the evening/tea time and then apply a very thin layer of cream. Lightly wash your tattoo every day and apply a thin layer of cream 1-2 times a day for 1-5 days.
  • Recommended creams are A&D Ointment or any specialised tattoo aftercare cream (for example, tattoo goo, hustle butter, etc). 
  • Sometimes it is inevitable you lose a little colour from your tattoo so come back when it is fully healed (3-4 weeks) for a free touch-up (only available for 3 months after your appointment, after that it is no longer free).


  • Do not take the cover off too soon and definitely don’t take it off without giving it a really good wash. 
  • Do not pick or scratch any scabs that may form on your tattoo.
  • Do not touch your new tattoo with dirty hands. Avoid using a sun-bed, sauna, swimming pool, or sunbathing whilst your tattoo is healing (always sunblock tattoos to keep them looking good). Also do not allow the tattoo to become so wet that the scab softens.
  • Only use the recommended creams; a thin layer is enough. Do not use Vaseline or Savlon.


Can I just unwrap the tattoo after a few hours and not rewrap it?

You can, but then usually you are just getting into bed with a slightly damp tattoo that has yet to start healing. Beds aren’t usually the cleanest of places and there is a risk of sticking to the sheets. I just find it better to rewrap it until the morning. 

Can I keep a new tattoo wrapped for a few days?

You can, assuming you regularly wash it and change the wrapping, but I don’t recommend it. I find the skin just gets sore and it doesn’t really give any extra benefit.

Once it’s started to heal, can I wrap it again, for work etc?

No, or not with cling film anyway. Better with a non-air-tight barrier like a piece of kitchen towel or better yet, a long-sleeved top for example. 

Can I use this ____ cream?

Maybe, but maybe not. I can only recommend what I know and it’s better not to take the risk. 

Can I use Dermalize/second skin or similar on my new tattoo?

I would really rather you didn’t. I just don’t really have a great experience with it on myself or customers. It seems to be a crap solution to something that isn’t even a problem.

The nature of it is that it gets put on and left on for a lot longer than a cling film cover would. The trouble with this is any germs/bacteria under there then have time to multiply and breed. (Bacteria don’t start multiplying straight away, they have a lag phase you can read about here. Frequently changing the cover and washing the tattoo helps avoid the exponential growth phase.)

It also has a tendency to peel up at the edges and then the edge of the tattoo dries up.

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