Aftercare Questions?

How we all handle aftercare is entirely based on preference.

Aftercare rules are not always hard and fast, so pay attention to how you heal, learn from it, and keep these tips in mind! Certain aspects are more important than others, so lets break it all down.

What are the stages of a healing tattoo?


Stage 1 - Initial Healing

This is most important stage - the open wound stage. For about a week (this really depends on the style of tattoo and how much they are worked) your body will be responding to the injury in the form of slight pain, inflammation, redness, and some oozing. Be sure to wash often and keep it clean to avoid infection!

Stage 2 - Itching & Peeling

The stage we dread. Your tattoo will feel dry and tight and be mostly “healed” - but have some peeling to do. Your new tattoo is going to be itchy (InkLuck relieves this awful itch) - but don't pick or scratch! You can lose ink if you peel a scab that isn't ready to come off or scratch heavily anywhere. Just use InkLuck to relieve the itch when you feel it coming on.

Stage 3 - Dryness

This is the stage where there's no more scabs peeling and you see your shiny wrinkly tattoo. Right now its begging for moisture, and it may need more applications than usual. Apply InkLuck as you see your skin needs it. It will remain wrinkly and extra dry until it begins to blend with the skin around it - aka settling stage!

Stage 4 - Settling In

No more itching, no peeling, no shiny patches. It can take tattoos anywhere from 2-6 months to really get through this stage. It will help if you keep using InkLuck during this period, even though you may think you don't need to anymore.

How long until I can remove my first bandage?


You should wait at least 3-5 hours to remove the bandage your artist wrapped you in after your session - but no longer than overnight. If they used a second-skin product, you should listen to your artists instructions. If they didn't give you clear instructions, you can do some light research and find out what may work best for you!

Do you rewrap it after this or no? Check our other Aftercare FAQ for that answer!

What is the importance of the first 7 days after my new tattoo?


For the first 5-7 days your tattoo is the most vulnerable to potential ink loss, scabbing, and fading. If you can properly care for your tattoo for the first full week, the rest of the healing and aftercare should be maintenance!

What kind of soap should I wash my new tattoo with?


You will want to wash your new tattoo with a gentle scent free mild soap. We are working on a simple soap for your tattoos, but until then some of our favorites are plain bar soap, Dial Gold or similar antibacterial soap, or Castile Soap.

How often should I wash my new tattoo?


You should wash your new tattoo at least 3-5 times per day for the first 7 days when your tattoo is most vulnerable. Usually on schedule with something like once when you wake up, a few times during the day, and once before bed!
It may sound like a lot, but washing the tattoo helps remove platlettes that came to the surface and will reduce your scabbing!

For the first day or two, you should wash it with hot water to open the pores and flush out the excess plasma. (hot but not hot enough to burn you, this may hurt a little bit but so do tats)

Not only will a few washes a day keep the area clean, but it will feel nice and refreshing after a wash too!

The number of days varies depending on how it feels and the type of tattoo - big or color packed tattoos can take longer to heal and require more days of initial care than something smaller or linework only. 

Common Aftercare Methods


Aftercare procedure is entirely preference based. Everyone heals differently, has different levels of sensitivity to discomfort, and time to spend caring for new tattoos. Here are some common methods to help you understand what’s most important for this process.

Natty's InkLuck Aftercare Method

InkLuck was designed to work perfectly without other assistance, but can work within every aftercare preference - read more for how!
It can be used as a stand alone aftercare + moisturizer to kill itch, reduce scabbing, and relieve any guesswork of how to heal. Not to mention its also better for your skin thanks to the antioxidant content and ingredient properties!

Directions: Wash regularly and apply a very thin layer after it’s completely dry. It shouldn’t feel wet so rub it in a bit to lock in that all natty protection!

Traditional 2-Step Aftercare Method

This method includes the use of an aftercare product (typically petroleum based) for 5-7 days followed by a scent free lotion until fully healed. Its very common to use this method however it will not help reduce aftercare symptoms like InkLuck will. You will see more scabbing, intense itch, and could potentially create sogginess in your tattoo with the lotion. Opt to use InkLuck to reduce the aftercare annoyances!


Your artist may bandage you in what they call "Saniderm", "Tegaderm", or a "second-skin". This is the only bandage that wouldn't get removed right away but when your artist suggests to. The aftercare method to heal with this second-skin is fairly simple, but not without its caveats.

There are two common ways to heal with this.

1. Remove the layer of second-skin your artist gives you after 24 hours and replace with another second-skin with a thin layer of InkLuck under your new bandage and remove 3-5 days later (an aftercare product can help prevent sticking when you go to remove this layer later on and assist your skin relieving the symptoms of the trauma from your new tattoo).

2. Leave the initial bandage on for around 5 days (again, definitely ask your artist) and once removed follow up with a nice moisturizer - like InkLuck!

Do I re-bandage my tattoo at night?


Short answer is, if you want to. Most aftercare methods leave this question unanswered, here's a bit of info*!

To Re-Bandage

If you do opt to re-bandage every night, do it only until you feel comfortable leaving it unwrapped (usually 5-7 days). Leaving it bandaged overnight while it is in the first stage of healing will reduce the dryness you experience as the aftercare product rubs off in the middle of the night, and ultimately lead to far less scabbing on your new tattoo.

If you are going to cover it, we recommend a layer of InkLuck, a gauze wrap (not bandage roll - gauze will allow more breathability and not stick nearly as much to your new healing tattoo), followed by a very thin foam prewrap to secure the gauze in place overnight.

Not To Re-Bandage

The argument for leaving your tattoo uncovered while you sleep pretty much lies in the fact that you can trap bacteria in your new tattoo if you cover it again, but truthfully you can just as easily contaminate your tattoo in bed sheets!

Most sources will also advise not to rebandage at night because your tattoo needs to breathe, however, there are plenty of options available to bandage your tattoo and still allow it to breathe. 

How long should I wait to swim or go to the beach?


*Very Important* 

You should wait at least 2-3 weeks (if it scabbed, wait until a few days after they are gone) before swimming or getting exposed to sun for any extra length of time. The sun can damage your new tattoos very quickly and cause fading and pain. You also shouldn’t use sunscreen on your fresh tattoos until that 3-4 week mark as well.
You don't want to create unnecessary sogginess in your tattoo, which will lead to scabs and ink loss. No more scabbing and less sensitivity? You’re good to go!