Caring for your new tattoo properly can make a huge difference between a great looking tattoo and disappointment. Fading, spots and even uncomfortable rashes as well as other issues are something you want to avoid and with proper tattoo aftercare your tattoo will retain its bright, vibrant coloring for years to come.

The Problem
There are so many suggestions for the proper way to care for a new tattoo that it can be difficult to tell what you are supposed to do. It isn’t uncommon for us to get phone calls and emails asking about tattoo aftercare. There are differing ideas of the best methods for aftercare, this causes confusion among people who are either thinking about getting a tattoo or who have just got their first tattoo.  There are a number of products that have been historically used in the care of new tattoos. These include some poor choices and some that are still used today.

Where the Confusion Comes in
When it comes to healing everyone is slightly different, which seems to help perpetuate the confusion about the ‘best’ tattoo aftercare treatment. It is important to keep the tattoo clean and to keep the skin soft. Petroleum jelly was used for many years to keep the area moist, but some tattoo artists have noticed that petroleum can pull the color out of a new tattoo causing it to fade early.

Often tattoo artists will suggest washing the new tattoo with an antibacterial soap and using either A&D ointment or Bacitracin ointment for the first 3-5 days. Other artists might suggest keeping the area clean and just using the lotion and actually suggest against using Bacitracin ointment. Bacitracin ointment has an antibiotic to help with the healing process, but it can cause skin irritation on some people.

Neosporin (also known as ‘triple antibiotic’ ointment) is another antibiotic ointment that has been historically used on new tattoos. Very few artists will suggest using Neosporin ointment because of the number of people who have reactions to its ingredients. Lanolin is another product that can keep the skin moist but can also cause irritation and allergic reactions for some people. The bumps that come with an allergic reaction to these antibiotic ointments can cause a ‘spotty tattoo’ after the color leaves with the bumps as the rash goes away.

Aftercare Products
Still others will suggest using products that are specifically created for tattoo aftercare such as Tattoo Goo or Tattoo Lube. Using a product that is made for use on new tattoos takes the guesswork out of it. Since specialty products aren’t available in all areas tattoo artists have to work with what is available. This means you will get different recommendations from artists in different areas. These can include:

  • A&D Ointment
  • Fragrance Free Lotion
  • Antibacterial Soap
  • Tattoo Goo
  • Tattoo Lube
  • Antibiotic Ointment
  • Lanolin

What Type of New Tattoo Care and Aftercare Does Avatar Tat2 Suggest?
The most important thing is to keep your new tattoo clean and allow it to breathe. There are many ways to do this and since your tattoo artist will know what is available in your area you should follow the artist’s directions. Different products might react differently in warm climates than they do in cooler climates and not all products are available everywhere. For these reasons it is important to follow all of the artist’s instructions carefully. And, for goodness sake don’t try to save a couple bucks by buying a cheaper aftercare product. Your tattoo is permanent and you want it to look its best forever.

For our clients, whether you are a local or just visiting the Quad City area, we will wrap your tattoo in plastic before you leave the tattoo parlor.

  1. Remove the plastic after about an hour.
  2. Wash the tattoo using an anti bacterial soap or just plain warm water.
  3. Dab (or blot) dry.
  4. Apply a thin coating of A&D ointment.
  5. Wash twice daily (in morning and at night before bed).
  6. Apply A&D ointment several times throughout the day for 3 days only.
  7. After the initial 3 days use an unscented (fragrance free) lotion several times a day until completely healed.