10 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid After Getting A New Tattoo – Alternatively Speaking (2024)

So, you just went out and got that beautiful new tattoo you’ve been dreaming about, Congratulations! Now it’s time to arm yourself with the information necessary to ensure that your new ink heals properly, allowing you to appreciate a beautiful, vibrant tattoo for years to come.

**Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links that earn me a small commission at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products/services that I love, and feel are valuable to my community. Thank you! For more information, please visit my Disclaimer page.**

A new tattoo is an incredibly exciting time, whether it’s your first time going under the gun or your 20th. Each piece is a unique and beautiful work of art, one that will stay with you for the rest of your life. Leading up to your tattoo appointment, most people will take the time to research their options, which tattoo artist they should trust, and what they should do in preparation. However, few put the same amount of time and attention into figuring out what they should do afterward.

The choices that you make in the days and weeks following your new tattoo are key to the healing process. However, many of the pitfalls and mistakes that people make are unknown and overlooked. If you’re looking to avoid these potential pitfalls, I’ve got you covered! In talking with a few tattoo artists I’ve come to know and respect, they revealed what they believe are the biggest mistakes people make after getting a new tattoo:

Table of Contents

#1. Hands Off The Bandage

Okay, you CAN take the bandage off eventually, but too many people rip that baby off way too early out of excitement as they can’t wait to show off their new ink. However, you need to remember that in getting a tattoo, you literally have an open wound on your body which means that it is highly susceptible to infection. If your tattoo artist has taken the time to carefully bandage the area (which every good tattoo artist will do) then you need to be sure to leave it on for a minimum of two hours, although a little longer is highly recommended.

#2. Careful With Water

While showering is completely okay in the days following your tattoo, you want to avoid any situation in which you may be completely submerging yourself in water. This includes not only that relaxing bath but also going for a swim or soaking in the hot tub. Your tattoo is still healing, this takes time, and exposing it to water in this way can cause serious damage to that amazing artwork you just paid for. Most tattoo artists that I have spoken with recommend waiting at least 2-3 weeks before climbing into your favourite bubble bath.

#3. Speaking of Showering…

Even if you take a shower, there are steps that you need to take in order to keep your tattoo safe. The biggest mistake at this stage is the use of loofahs and sponges to help get yourself clean. While you may love these products on a regular basis to help exfoliate your skin, using them around a new tattoo will ‘exfoliate’ the scabs right off preventing healing and causing damage to the work. You want to avoid any scrubbing actions in order to prevent fading and smudging. Instead, gently wash the tattooed area with just your bare hand and a mild antibacterial soap (free from artificial colours and perfumes). Also, I feel like this should go without saying BUT just in case, avoid shaving the area until the healing phase has completed.

#4. Dry Off With Caution

When your shower is complete, your work isn’t over quite yet. There is one more mistake that tattoo artists often see – the way you go about drying yourself off. Many people will hop out of the shower quickly rubbing themselves down with their towel like they would any other day, but the rubbing action can damage the scabs. Instead, you need to be careful to gently pat the area dry. If possible, leave it open to air dry afterward as the scabbed area often absorbs a significant amount of water in the process. Continue in this way until the area is fully healed.

#5. Pay Attention to Movement Early On

After you get that new tattoo, you’re able to return to life, as usual, however, you need to be mindful during the healing phase about how you’re moving. Take note of where your tattoo is located and how often that area moves and shifts. This is especially important with larger work or those that stretch across joins like the elbows and knees. When you bend and stretch your tattoo during healing it can cause the scabs to crack and break, while also irritating the area, which will have a negative impact on the healing process. Feel free to hit the gym, but you may want to modify your workout for a few weeks.

#6. Risks of Dirt, Grime and Germs

Try to remember that your new tattoo is literally an open wound. What steps are you taking to protect it from the dirt and bacteria around you? For example, if you get a tattoo on your foot, are you running around in sandals exposing it to dirt and grime everywhere you go? Are you planning on hitting the beach exposing yourself to lake water or the ocean? You may be surprised to learn how much bacteria are hiding in the average water body! This isn’t a long-term change, but during the healing process, you need to go that extra mile. Infections are serious business, so don’t risk it!

#7. Show Restraint With the Aftercare Products

Whether you are using a commercially formulated aftercare product or a trusted ointment, pay attention to how much you are using over the course of an average day. Using too much product can actually suffocate the tattoo which, in turn, promotes bacteria growth. Therefore, while your actions are well-meaning, you may actually be encouraging an infection. Only use a thin layer of product on your tattoo at least twice a day for approximately 3-5 days. You want to be sure that you do so as soon as your tattoo has fully dried anytime that you wash it. These products will definitely help to encourage proper healing, just remember that there is too much of a good thing.

#8. What Are You Wearing?

Your clothing choices early on can help or hinder the healing process. Select items that are loose fitting around the area of your new tattoo, allowing it to breathe. This will also ensure that you don’t have tight-fitting clothing or shoes rubbing against your tattoo, in turn, rubbing off the scabs or irritating the skin. Pay attention to the finer details. When I first got my wrist tattoo, I suddenly realized how many of my shirts had tighter bands around the wrist, a detail I had never considered before. Once the healing phase has passed you can wear whatever your heart desires again, but for a few short weeks, be selective.

#9. Hands Off

It’s a natural human instinct, when we’re itchy we scratch right? Unfortunately, scratching the area around your tattoo may have some pretty serious consequences when it comes to how that beautiful work will heal. Picking at your scabs or scratching your tattoo during healing can cause the scabs to fall off before they are ready, leaving you with lighter patches in the work or even holes. Resist the temptation, keep your hands off and allow it to heal.

#10. Sun Protection Is Key!

This is a tip that you need to keep in mind not only early on but moving forward with your tattoo. If you want to keep your tattoo looking bright and vibrant for years to come, the sun really is your enemy. I’m not suggesting that you stay holed up in a cave avoiding the sun entirely like a vampire (although if that’s your thing, power to you). However, when you are heading out in the sun take a little extra care. Early on, during the healing process, you want to keep your tattoo covered and away from the sun at all costs. This may require a slight shift in your wardrobe choices, but it’s worth it! After approximately 3-4 weeks, when the initial healing phase is completed, you can start to use sunscreen – Make this a priority! Sunburns and blisters are going to fade your tattoo rapidly. Slap on the SPF every time you’re stepping out in the sun year-round (yes, even in the winter, the sun is still shining).

10 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid After Getting A New Tattoo – Alternatively Speaking (1)

For those who have a tattoo, what mistakes did you learn the hard way? Any advice for those getting their first tattoo? If you’re preparing for your first tattoo, what would you like to know more about?

10 Biggest Mistakes To Avoid After Getting A New Tattoo – Alternatively Speaking (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Last Updated:

Views: 5879

Rating: 5 / 5 (60 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Clemencia Bogisich Ret

Birthday: 2001-07-17

Address: Suite 794 53887 Geri Spring, West Cristentown, KY 54855

Phone: +5934435460663

Job: Central Hospitality Director

Hobby: Yoga, Electronics, Rafting, Lockpicking, Inline skating, Puzzles, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Clemencia Bogisich Ret, I am a super, outstanding, graceful, friendly, vast, comfortable, agreeable person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.