Tattoo Aftercare: A Client Guide

Whether you’re getting your first tattoo, or adding to your collection, we are here to make sure that process is effortless.


The tattoo process is an exciting one and sometimes can be shocking to the body. There’s a few ways we recommend preparing for your appointment: 

Eat an balanced meal 2-3 hours before your appointment,

Drink water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated.

Consider drinking Gatorade or something with electrolytes during your tattoo.

For longer sessions, bring a light snack.

Keep your skin moisturized in the days leading up to the tattoo appointment.



You made it! The next couple of weeks are crucial in the life of your tattoo. 

  • Keep your bandage on for a minimum of two hours (no more than 6 hours)
  • After removing your bandage, wash your tattoo under cold to lukewarm water with unscented soap or Dark Instinct’s Healing Soap
  • Wash twice daily for the first two days of your healing period, and then once daily for the rest of the healing period.

After the first two days, you should begin to feel the skin tighten and the lines of the tattoo raise slightly. This is the “scabbing” process. In some tattoo placements or skin types, scabbing may be slightly heavier or lighter

  • Apply a pea size amount of Dark Instincts Healing Salve to the area up to three times daily. Less is more!
  • Other approved lotions include: Aveeno unscented, Kari unscented


  • Do not submerge your tattoo under water while healing
  • Do not expose to direct sunlight while healing 
  • Do not pick or rub at your scabs during the “flaky” period
  • Do not use exfoliants on the freshly tattooed skin for six months
  • No swimming while healing

Please remember your tattoo is an open wound for the first few days of its life.

Respect your bodies healing process in all aspects.


  • Keep a clean diet to support skin and immune health 
  • Take your vitamins (Mom knew best) 
  • Avoid direct sunlight and wear sunscreen on all healed tattoos 


Wet Healing 

Sometimes for larger pieces, your artist may recommend using a transparent, breathable, gas-permeable bandage such as Saniderm, Tegaderm, Snake Skin, Hypafix, or general “derm” bandages.  These types of transparent dressings are often used within the medical industry to cover wounds and maintain a moist environment for wound healing. 

What are the benefits of using this bandage?

If you:

  • Work an active job where your wound can be easily contaminated 
  • Have dry skin that is prone to cracking during the scabbing process
  • Are getting a large or heavily saturated tattoo
  • Are a picker or tend to be slack with your aftercare (you know who you are) 

Then chances are, a transparent dressing is the best for you! 

How do I use this bandage?

Your artist will apply this bandage to your tattoo at the end of your session. Once the bandage is on, you can keep this on for the first 2-5 days or according to your artist’s instructions

Your artist will provide you with an extra bandage. After the period of time has passed that was previously instructed, you may remove your bandage at the end of your shower. 

  • Wash the whole bandage well with soapy lukewarm water, then peel the bandage backwards close to the skin to ensure no scarring or ripping of the skin occurs. 
  • Once removed, wash the tattoo with soapy water again. Pat dry with paper towel and wait 10-15 minute before applying your new bandage.
  • Leave this bandage on for the remainder of your healing or for a cumulative total of 5-7 days. Remove as before. 

Best practices

Bandage adhesive can be stubborn! 

  • If reapplying a new bandage, just pat dry and reapply over the remaining adhesive. 
  • If removing your bandage at the end of your healing cycle, use coconut oil to help remove the adhesive. Wear soft loose clothing and let the lint stick to the remaining adhesive. Your tattoo is now healed and will not be negatively affected by this and the adhesive should flake off over the next 24-48 hours. 
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