Tattoo Aftercare

Will using petrolatum on my tattoo cause fading?

To dispel a myth, there is no scientific evidence that indicates tattoo ink may fade as a result of petrolatum or other oil-based ointments applied to the surface of your skin. In fact, many of the aftercare products recommended by tattoo artists contain petrolatum. Tattoo ink is deposited in the lower layer of your skin, deep in the dermis, and becomes trapped in your cells. Petrolatum and other emollient ointments remain on the very top surface of your skin, the epidermis, and are not absorbed. It is physically impossible for petrolatum to reach the tattoo ink in your skin.

Should I use an antibiotic ointment?

Doctors are now recommending that antibiotic ointments should only be used if you have an infection. If infection is suspected, visit your doctor.

I’ve heard that swimming after getting a tattoo will cause it to fade. Is this true?

No. Tattoo ink is deposited deep in the dermis, trapped in your cells. Ink cannot leach out in water. But swimming after receiving a tattoo is not a good idea for other reasons: swimming with open wounds can let harmful bacteria and other germs into your skin, increasing the risk of infection.

I’ve heard that my tattoo needs to breathe and I should not put anything on it. Is this a good idea?

Scientific evidence has shown that wounds that are kept moist heal much faster than wounds that are kept dry. Wounds that are kept dry form hard scabs that can become itchy and increase the temptation to scratch. Scratching and picking at scabs can cause scarring. Keep your wound moist by applying an ointment. Moist wounds help to keep moisture in the skin and promote new cell growth, while protecting the wound from dirt and germs.

How should I care for my new tattoo?

Caring properly for your tattoo will help your skin to heal well. After all, your skin is the canvas that shows off your tattoo.

  1. Keep your tattoo clean. Gently wash with soap and warm water.
  2. Keep your wound moist by applying an ointment. Doctors now recommend that you keep a wound moist to aid healing. Moist healing protects the delicate tissue and encourages new cell growth. Apply an ointment that contains petrolatum, white petrolatum, mineral oil, olive oil or zinc oxide. These ingredients form a protective barrier on the outside of your skin and help prevent infection.
  3. Treat for pain and itch. If your wound is painful and itchy, the temptation to rub and scratch it could damage your skin. Apply an ointment with medicinal ingredients that provide temporary relieve from pain and itch.

What should I put on my skin to help it heal?

Your tattoo is a wound. Thousands of tiny puncture wounds to be exact. Applying a first aid ointment to your wound will help to keep the wound moist and the skin to heal well. Apply an ointment with medicinal ingredients that provide temporary relieve from pain and itch.

How long will it take for my tattoo to heal?

Typically, tattooed skin should heal in 2-3 weeks. You can help promote healing by keeping your tattoo clean and applying an ointment to keep it moist. Remember, moist wounds heal faster than dry wounds.

How do I know if my tattoo is healing properly?

A tattoo is a wound to your skin. The normal responses to a wound include: slight bleeding; fluid discharge; inflammation and swelling; raised lines along the ink lines of the tattoo; changes in skin colour, from red to pink; warmth, tenderness, sensitivity and pain; itching and scabbing. If you experience intense pain, abnormal or exaggerated swelling, excessive bleeding or oozing, headaches or fever, contact your doctor or a health care professional as soon as possible.