Whether you're planning to get your first tattoo or have been a longtime veteran, learning how to care for your new ink properly is crucial. Discover what you should do to keep your skin healthy and how to prevent scarring or infection. Start by washing your tattoo with lukewarm water and a bar of non-scented soap.

Keep It Clean

Tattoos should be cleaned daily to promote fast healing and lessen the risk of infection. The first week after getting a tattoo is crucial for keeping it clean and moist. Rub the area gently with skin-sensitive antibacterial soap before rinsing and patting dry. Once you've cleaned your tattoo, apply a thin layer of aftercare product to keep it moisturized and help it retain its moisture. You can also shower twice daily to wash off excess ink, which can build up in your pores. But be sure to stay away from bathtubs, swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, and ponds to avoid catching an infection from bacteria in the water, he adds.

Keep It Moisturized

One of the most important things you can do to help your tattoo heal is to observe proper skin care and keep it hydrated. This will protect it from cracking and bleeding during the healing process. Once your tattoo is ready to moisturize, choose a lotion or cream that is fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and made of clean ingredients. These ingredients will prevent irritation and a buildup of dirt, which can hinder the healing process. Your tattoo should be moisturized every morning and evening after you wash it. When choosing a moisturizer, ensure it is broad-spectrum and offers UVA and UVB protection. Your tattoo should be able to breathe, but too much moisture will block the pores, leading to inflammation and breakouts that may cause infection. The best way to avoid these problems is only to apply a thin layer of moisturizer.

Keep It Hydrated

Your tattoo's skin will need frequent hydration throughout the healing process. It needs to stay hydrated to keep its integrity, so drink lots of water (at least eight 8-oz glasses per day) and avoid things that can dehydrate your skin, like alcohol and caffeine. You'll notice your new tattoo starts to dry up and form a scab in the first week or so, which is perfectly normal. But don't pick at these scabbing areas, as they can be damaging to the tattoo and cause scarring if they get too deep. You can keep your tattoo hydrated by applying a fragrance-free, alcohol-free moisturizer once or twice a day. You can also use a soothing gel or ointment containing shea butter and cucumber extract to help soothe itching symptoms.

Keep It Dry

The skin around it will feel very itchy and red the first few days after you get your tattoo. The itchy sensation is normal as your body's immune system tries to protect the newly inked area. However, it is essential not to pick or scratch the skin as this can damage the new ink and make your tattoo look patchy. Instead, gently pat the skin dry and apply a water-based moisturizer 3-5 daily. Moisturizers can also help reduce the risk of infection. It will keep your skin hydrated and protect it from harmful sun rays. The best way to moisturize your tattoo is by using a good quality aftercare lotion or balm with natural ingredients. Apply it twice a day for about a month.