Thompson Tattoo

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Tattoo Aftercare

There are lots of different ideas and theories as to what is the best method of aftercare for your tattoo. I honestly believe that not one particular method will work best for everyone, seeing as everyone’s biology is different. I believe it takes time and experience to figure out what in particular method works for you. Here is a set of instructions that I believe works well for many people, and have used this method on myself successfully.

Aftercare Instructions

  • No more than a few hours after the finish of your tattoo, unless your tattoo has been bandaged with second skin, you should remove the bandage and wash the tattoo. If your artist has used second skin on your tattoo you will want to remove the bandage after 24 hours. I personally recommend you wash the tattoo with an anti-bacterial hand soap, such as Dial Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap, to reduce your risk of infection. Also use luke-warm water as opposed to hot water, which would burn the tattoo. It is important to wash the tattoo lightly, but be sure to remove all ointment, blood and any other residue.


  • After washing the tattoo, apply an ointment. If you purchased the Thompson Tattoo Company Aftercare Solution, this would be the appropriate product to use. If you did not purchase our provided aftercare, some commonly recommended ointments would be Bactracin, A+D Ointment, or Aquaphor. I would recommend staying away from Vaseline and petroleum jelly. It is VERY IMPORTANT to only apply a very tiny amount of ointment to the tattoo. An ultra-thin, light, “shiny”, “barely there” layer over the tattoo is all you will need applied. The tattoo should have a slight sheen to it after rubbing in the ointment. Using too much ointment can over saturate the tattoo and cause excess scabbing or scabs to come off prematurely. It is NOT “the more the better”.


  • I would recommend application of the ointment for around 3 to 5 days. During these days, wash your tattoo every morning right when you wake up, and again right before bed. It is also important to wash the tattoo several times throughout the day. The more you wash your tattoo, the easier and faster your tattoo will heal. If your tattoo is in a hard to reach area, have a friend assist you, just make sure they wash their hands thoroughly prior to assisting. If you do not keep your tattoo clean, you run the risk of both infection and excess scabbing, which could result in poor healing. During these first few days, depending on where your tattoo is located the tattoo may be prone to swelling. You may find using a bag of ice, elevating the tattooed area, and taking Ibuprofen can help reduce the swelling.


  • Around the 3rd to 5th day, you should notice your tattoo has formed a thin, hard layer, which will begin to peel. The peeling is similar to that of a sunburn peeling, this is normal. At this stage of the healing process, if you did purchase the Thompson Tattoo Company Aftercare Solution, continue using as previously advised for the next 2 weeks. If you did not purchase our aftercare solution, you can now switch from using the ointment to a non-scented hand lotion. Curel, Aveeno, or Lubriderm, non-scented are some common recommendations. For the next 2 weeks, keep washing the tattoo and use the lotion as needed. Keep the skin moisturized to prevent cracking or bleeding. There may be a couple scabs on your tattoo that take longer to come off than the others, some taking up to a few weeks to come off. If this is the case just let the scabs fall off on their own and be mindful not to pull them off prematurely. The majority of your tattoos healing should be over in 2 weeks, but it does take up to 4 weeks for a tattoo to complete the healing process fully.

Things To Avoid During The Tattoo Healing Process

  • Try not to sleep on your tattoo. Example: if your tattoo is on your back, it’s highly recommended to sleep on your stomach. Not only will the tattoo become stuck to your clothing and linens, it will also leave a lovely imprint on your sheets. Should you wake up and your clothes are stuck to your tattoo, DO NOT rip them off, for this can result in ripping off scabs. Instead, wet down the area with warm water, until it becomes unstuck.


  • Avoid submerging the tattoo. Soaking in water could cause scabs to come off prematurely. Also avoid swimming due to possible bacteria and irritants in the water. So no ocean, lake, pool, Jacuzzi or bath tub for 2 weeks! Showers are okay... and encouraged. Avoid the sun! Getting a sunburn on your tattoo can cause some serious problems. Think of your tattoo as like healing a bad sunburn, you wouldn’t want to get more sun on it. If you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear loose cotton clothing over the tattoo. Avoid wearing tight clothing that will rub onto the tattoo. Excessive rubbing can lead to scabbing and loss of ink. If you had your foot tattooed, try to stick to a more open type of shoe, such as a flip-flop or open flats. Avoid over working the tattooed area. For example, if you are an avid gym goer, lay off the arm exercises for 2 weeks if you just had your arm tattooed. Of, if you just got your foot tattooed, don’t plan a hiking or 5 hour mall trip.

Infection

  • Infection is not super common. But let’s face it, with so much invisible bacteria floating around out there it is possible to happen at some point. Here is some tips on dealing with your tattoo, should it become infected.

  • First and foremost is how to tell if your tattoo is infected. Some key signs of tattoo infection are a red haze surrounding the tattoo after it’s already past a week or more of the healing process. This could also be accompanied by a white haze over sections of the tattoo. Indentation of the tattoo, extreme scabbing which may turn green or yellowish, a bad smell, or puss. If you believe your tattoo may be infected, contact your tattoo artist to confirm if it is infected and what method is best to combat the infection. The best ways to avoid infections are by keeping your tattoos clean and by making your artist aware of any sensitivities or allergies you may have before getting tattooed.

After Your Tattoo Is Healed

  • In order to keep your tattoo looking good for as long as possible, it is important to keep your skin moisturized, and when you’re going to have prolonged sun exposure, use sunblock to help avoid fading.

  • Every different artist had their own ideas and theories as to what is the best way to take care of your tattoo. There are many ways to heal a tattoo and this is just one, as said beforehand, everything here is just my own personal theory and experience. I recommend listening to the advice of your own personal tattoo artist, or if you have already come up with an aftercare plan that works for you, I recommend sticking with it.