There are many ways to effectively heal a tattoo. Depending on the placement and size of your tattoo our recommendations will vary. Your tattoo artist will give you verbal instructions at the time of your appointment, this is here for your review purposes.
If you have any further questions do not hesitate to email your artist at
Second Skin Method
At the time of your appointment your artist will place a piece of second skin on your tattoo. In many cases it is necessary to change the second skin bandage within 48 hours. We will let you know if your tattoo may require this at your appointment. Second Skin products can be purchased at many pharmacies and most medical supply stores or we offer additional changes in studio at a charge based on size of rewrap.
Fluid build up under the dressing is normal and to be expected, it will not damage your tattoo. If you notice air bubbles do not pop or try to remove. Some tattoos will weep more than others based on varying factors, it is all normal.
If you develop a reaction you should remove the film, you can discuss the cause with your artist in future appointments to determine if you should discontinue use and refer to our manual method of aftercare. It is normal for healing tattoos to have redness, swelling, minor irritation and itching as the healing progresses. Removing film will not reduce these symptoms. An ice pack used in short intervals or applying pressure may relieve discomfort.
Avoid hot showers, extended exposure to heat from clothing or exercise. Heat may weaken the adhesive and cause premature lifting as well as a potential heat rash if continually affected.
Removing Second Skin
To remove your second skin it can be helpful to loosen adhesive from a steamy shower. Ensure your hands are washed before removing dressing. When removing hold your skin taught and lift small areas at a time. Using cool water to wash your tattoo may reduce discomfort. You may need to wash your tattoo 2 - 3 times in order to remove all adhesive and residue. Allow to airdry completely or pat dry with paper towel. Avoid towels as detergents or fabric fibers may irritate your tattoo.
Re-applying Second Skin
With clean hands or gloves, ensure area is completely soap free and dry. Do not apply lotion or ointment. Apply second skin bandage by removing paper backing, once applied you can remove the clear backing. If using multiple pieces overlap by at least 1-2cm and that you haven't missed any areas of the tattoo.
After Second Skin
If you are continuing without another second skin application you can proceed to our manual aftercare method.
Your tattoo will begin peeling and flaking like a sunburn, let flakes come off during routine cleaning and do not pick. Your skin will appear tight and shiny. Your tattoo may appear to be healed on the outside but its still vulnerable to damage for the first 6 weeks.
Sunlight chlorine and saltwater can still negatively affect your tattoo PERMANENTLY for the first 6-8 weeks before your skin undergoes a full regeneration cycle and can effectively protect your tattoo. Saline is a form of tattoo removal by osmosis and in extreme cases your tattoo could be significantly altered.
After your tattoo is finished peeling you are able to apply sunscreen for prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Contact your artist via email if you are unsure what steps to take.
Pay careful attention to the edges; if you notice edges lifting that have NOT exposed the tattoo you can carefully trim the edges with sharp clean scissors. You may also do this to alleviate tension on the edge of the film that may present as redness only on the edge of the bandage in high mobility areas.
If you need to drain your second skin bandage and it is safe to leave on if assured there is no exposure to external elements or signs of reactions. Wash the area thoroughly with soap and water. Once dry lift an edge closest to the fluid accumulation and allow to drain. Using paper towel wipe off residue. If you are unable to reseal the edge using extra second skin or medical tape remove completely and proceed to manual method.
What Is Second Skin?
Second skin products consist of a thin polyurethane membrane coated with a layer of acrylic adhesive. Its a clear dressing that's intended to lock in your body's natural healing fluids while protecting it from external contact. Once its applied it provides an effective barrier to external contamination and is impermeable to micro - organisms. The dressing allows your tattoo to "breathe" as it is both water vapor and oxygen permeable. While using second skin scab formation is prevented and epidermal regeneration takes place at an advanced rate.
Manual Aftercare Method
Leave the bandage applied at your appointment on until the evening or you are going to bed or for up to 10 hours. Immediately after removing dressing using only your clean hands or fresh gloves, gently but thoroughly wash your tattoo with unscented soap. You may need to wash your tattoo 2 - 3 times in order to remove all adhesive and residue. Allow to airdry completely or pat dry with paper towel. Avoid towels as detergents or fabric fibers may irritate your tattoo.
Do not apply and creams or ointments the first night. You may see some clear fluid oozing from the tattoo, or it may be tinted with the color of the ink used in your tattoo. This fluid helps clean the area but it can lead to a scab if left unaddressed for too long; this is why we recommend having your tattoo covered the first night while you sleep. You can use saran wrap, non stick wound pack or a second skin film. Do not leave bandages on for more than 8-10 hours.
You will need to begin washing your tattoo 3-5 times per day to prevent fluid buildup and bacterial growth. With clean hands wash your tattoo using cool water to wash your tattoo to reduce discomfort. For the first wash you may need to wash your tattoo 2 - 3 times in order to remove all residue. Allow to airdry completely or pat dry with paper towel. Avoid towels as detergents or fabric fibers may irritate your tattoo.
Once completely dry and feeling tight, you can apply a very thin layer of lotion. To prevent build up in crevices' spread the lotion across your palm before your apply.
The highest infection risk lays either in the first 3-4 days while your tattoo remains an open wound, as it heals and begins to toughen the surface layer protects the healing skin beneath. This is the most important time to keep your washing routine consistent and keep your tattoo protected. If a scab appears take careful attention not to over soften or remove prematurely as it may result in ink loss that appears as cracks in the tattoo.
Continue routine until your tattoo has finished peeling completely.
Oxygen is essential for healing so the less your tattoo is covered by clothing the better. Clothing and bed sheets may cause irritation if directly contacted with the tattoo due to pet hair, detergents and perfumes.
Not washing enough may result in infection or scabbing which usually results in ink loss and damage to the tattoo. On the other hand excessively cleaning and washing your fresh tattoo may also make it harder for your body to heal and expose to more irritation than necessary.
Hands, Feet, Neck and Joints!
For placements like these often second skin isn't an option, at least not for the entire aftercare period. Please refer to manual washing method for how to care for your tattoo.
Often placements like these can have a difficult time healing if movement is not limited or taken with care the first week. There is often more inflammation in these areas and higher risk of scabbing and therefor infection.
You may have to wash these placements more often due to exposure but take care not to over moisturize. Less is better in this case, even if it means skipping the lotion for some washes.
Anywhere your skin prunes in the bath you can assure getting tattooed in those placements will be a different experience. Often these areas don't take on first application . This includes palms, sides of fingers, bottom of feet.
Due to the high risk of infection, scabbing and issues with healing in these placements they do not receive free touch ups.
Our Favorite Aftercare Products
Although there are many aftercare products out there that work well, we have the most success and believe in these products the most.
Dr. Bronner concentrated unscented Baby Castile soap, sold at places like Natures Fare and Nolan's Pharmacy.
After Inked moisturizer, available in studio.
Purchase of full size bottle comes with free 1 oz sample of Dr Bronner for a limited time.
We recommend Organic coconut oil or jojoba oil for long term use to brighten and moisturize your tattoo.
Our favorite natural sunscreens can be found at natures fare.
We highly recommend researching alternative products via the Environmental Working Group.
DO NOT USE TATTOO AFTERCARE
products containing the following ingredients:
Sunscreen ingredients to avoid: