You’ve got yourself a tattoo!  Congratulations.  It has been quite a process. From ideas forming, to finalizing the design and sitting through the pain.  This  next step is just as essential in ensuring that your tattoo holds its integrity and stays bright and beautiful for years and decades to come.

A tattoo is essentially a wound.  Taking care of your tattoo properly in the first few weeks is the key to preventing infection and ensuring proper healing, making for a great looking tattoo in the long term.  Here is Modzilla’s step by step guide.

First Day and Night

Keep your bandage on for at least 6 hours.  We recommend keeping it on overnight if it’s secure and comfortable enough.  If you decide to take the bandage off for the first night, keep in mind that there could still be some seeping plasma, which could stick to your clothes or bedding.  DO NOT FORCE it off.  You need to be gentle.  Wet the area with warm water and gently slide it off.

Plasma and excess ink can seep and form a moist coating over the skin.  You can dab it gently with a clean paper towel. Do not be alarmed if you see ink on the paper towel; this is just the excess ink being secreted from the surface of the skin.  Dark towels and bedsheets are useful in avoiding stains.

Taking off the Bandage and Cleaning Your Tattoo

Before you start, make sure your hands are clean.  Using unscented, antibacterial soap is our recommendation. If you do not have that on hand, use mild, fragrance-free soap without moisturizer or scrubs.

  1. Remove the bandage carefully and gently.  If it’s stuck to the tattoo, wet it with water until it slides off.
  2. Rinse your tattoo with warm water- as warm as you can tolerate.  This helps in removing Vaseline, dried blood and plasma.
  3. Lather up soap in your HANDS.  DO NOT use washcloths, bath towels, or sponges.
  4. Gently rub your tattoo using a circular motion until all Vaseline and plasma is removed.  You might have to soap and rinse a couple of times.
  5. Once you’re sure your tattoo is clean, PAT dry with a clean towel or paper towel.  Allow to air dry.
  6. Apply ointment (Bepanthen ointment or Aquaphor) to a thoroughly dry tattoo.  You need a very small amount.  GENTLY rub the ointment into your tattoo.  Dab off the excess with a clean paper towel. Applying too much ointment will suffocate your tattoo.  Especially in the heat and humidity in Thailand, you want to use the ointment very sparingly.
Your Daily Tattoo Care

Tattoos do not need re-bandaging.  This means you’re leaving an open wound exposed; be mindful and avoid contact with any surface to avoid infection.

In the first couple of days, clean your tattoo (as above) at least once (preferably twice) each day.  

Apply your preferred ointment 2-3 times daily with washed and clean hands.  Apply ointment only lightly to avoid “suffocating” your tattoo for the first 3-5 days, or until your tattoo starts to flake or peel.  

When peeling begins, switch to unscented, mild lotion.  Use the lotion for at least the next 2 weeks.  At this stage, it is normal for the tattoo to itch and sometimes form flaky scabs.  DO NOT PICK OR SCRATCH YOUR TATTOO.  You could risk pulling out some pigment and effect the overall healing of your tattoo.  Keep moisturizing and scabs will also heal.

If you experience breakouts or have very sensitive skin, be mindful of the kind and amount of lotion you use.  Pick mild, fragrance free lotion.  Use it less frequently, or in smaller amounts.  You might also benefit from cleaning the area before reapplying the lotion if you feel “congested” on your skin.

Your tattoo should be completely healed in 2-4 weeks.

Dos and Don’ts while healing your tattoo
  • DO NOT swim, soak or submerge your tattoo in water for a long period for the first 2-3 weeks.  Showering is okay.
  • DO use and wear clean towels, beddings and clothes during the healing time.
  • DO wear loose clothing (cotton is great) over your tattoo.  Avoid tight, constricting clothing directly over a fresh tattoo.  DO NOT wear dirty, sweaty, or itchy clothing.
  • Avoid direct sunlight for at least the first 2 weeks or until the tattoo is completely healed.  DO NOT use sunscreen/sunblock in this initial healing period.  Once your tattoo is completely healed, we recommend that you DO apply sunscreen/sunblock if you will be directly exposed to the sun.

We believe that your tattoo should last you your lifetime.  We have taken the utmost care in our part of executing that.  Please ensure you do your part in taking care of it.  We’re proud to have put the tattoo on you.  We hope you’ll wear it proudly.