Tattoo aftercare by day
How quickly you heal depends on the size of your tattoo and how intricate it is. Bigger tattoos will stay red and swollen longer, because they cause more trauma to your skin.
You’ll come home from the artist with a wrap over your tattoo. After 1 to 2 hours, you can remove it.
Once the wrap comes off, you’ll probably notice fluid oozing from the tattoo. This is blood, plasma (the clear part of blood), and some extra ink. It’s normal. Your skin will also be red and sore. It might feel slightly warm to the touch.
With clean hands, wash the tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Use Carlton roll to dab and absorb the water and moisture from the tattoo. Leave the bandage off so the tattoo can heal.
Days 2 to 3
Your tattoo will have a duller, cloudy appearance by now. This happens as your skin heals. Scabs will start to form.
Wash your tattoo once or twice a day and dry thoroughly with paper towel. On day 3 you should begin using tiny amounts of moisturizer.
Days 4 to 6
The redness should start to fade. You’ll probably notice some light scabbing over the tattoo. The scabs shouldn’t be as thick as scabs you get when you cut yourself, but they will be raised. Don’t pick at the scabs — this can cause scarring.
Keep washing your tattoo once or twice a day. Apply moisturizer.
Days 6 to 14
The scabs have hardened and will begin to flake off. Don’t pick at them or try to pull them off, let them come off naturally. Otherwise, you could pull out the ink and leave scars.
At this point your skin may feel very itchy. Gently rub on a moisturizer several times a day to relieve the itch.
Days 15 to 30
In this last stage of healing, most of the big flakes will be gone and the scabs should be going away. You might still see some dead skin, but it should eventually clear up too. The tattooed area might still look dry and dull. Keep moisturizing until the skin looks hydrated again.
By the second or third week, the outer layers of skin should have healed. It may take three to four months for the lower layers to completely heal. By the end of your third month, the tattoo should look as bright and vivid as the artist intended.