FAQ: Tattoo Aftercare

There's a lot of information out there when it comes to tattoo aftercare, and not all of it is good information. We compiled a list of the most common questions concerning healing tattoos and posted them here for the benefit of everyone! Whether you're an ABA client or not, we hope this helps answer some of your tattoo aftercare questions. Happy healing!

Okay, I just got tattooed. What do I do first?
We send each of our clients out of the shop with a covering on their tattoo. Your first step after getting home is to remove this covering, and wash your tattoo. We recommend removing this covering within the hour, to prevent the build up of fluids. Gently wash your tattoo with warm water and a mild, unscented liquid soap (we like Dr. Bronner's). Pat your tattoo dry with a fresh paper towel. Do not apply a new cover or bandage.

How often should I wash my tattoo?
For the first 5-7 days, wash your tattoo 2-3 times a day. After this initial healing period is over, you can cut back to once a day. Make sure you're still using that same mild, unscented liquid soap we talked about earlier.

How long will my tattoo take to heal?
Generally speaking, you're looking at 1-2 weeks for most small tattoos to heal. Larger pieces and pieces with solid sections of black or color may take longer.

Should I put anything else on my tattoo? Like A&D ointment?
Nope! The only time you should put anything on your tattoo is during/after the flaky stage. Then, you can start applying a thin layer of unscented lotion (Lubriderm is great for this) once or twice a day.

I heard you were supposed to keep your tattoo bandaged while it heals, to keep it from getting wet. Is that true?
Heck nope! Your tattoo is just like any other minor wound, you don't want to suffocate it. Your body will having a much easier time healing if it is simply kept clean (this includes washing it! with water!) and dry.

Can I go swimming with a fresh tattoo?
Soaking or submerging your healing tattoo in any body of water is not advised. Hold off for a couple of weeks, and then you can show off your beautifully-healed tattoo at the beach all you want.

I just got a tattoo on my foot. Can I swear socks?
You sure can! Wear clean socks & shoes just like you normally would, and wash the tattoo after you take them off. It is not necessary to apply a barrier between the tattoo and your sock.

Can I exercise with a healing tattoo?
Definitely! Live your life! If the exercise is causing your tattoo to become irritated, it might be a good idea to do something else. Otherwise, you're fine. Your sweat will not damage the tattoo, and you can simply wash it away after you're done.

Part of my tattoo looks like it's missing. What do I do?
It is possible that your tattoo requires a touch-up. It happens. If the tattoo is still healing, continue to follow aftercare until it is completely healed (the skin is no longer flaky or shiny). When your tattoo is healed, call us to schedule a free touch-up appointment (if we did your tattoo, that is).