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Keep your Tattoo Clean

Your tattoo is vulnerable to picking up infections for the first day or so. But at the same time, we want to be wary of over-cleaning fresh ink. Not only because of friction and moisture (covered below) but because you can create irritation.


Limit the majority of rinsing your fine-line tattoo to the first few days as directed.

Fine-line tattoos are much smaller 'wounds' and usually close up by day two of healing. Unless it comes in contact with something that could trigger infection or appears to be irritated, you don't need to fuss over cleaning your tattoo too much. Rinsing before you reapply aftercare should be enough.


Ensure that the clothes you wear and the surfaces your tattoo touches are clean and irritant-free while your tattoo is still an 'open wound.' (People love touching tattoos! They just do! So try to keep your friends and family from getting handsy.)


Very importantly; Make sure that you wash your own hands thoroughly before applying moisturizer to your tattoo.




Keep your Tattoo Hydrated

Fine-Line Tattoos

If you have unknown allergies or sensitivities, make sure your aftercare product choice is free of those allergens.

What to Apply:


Our recommendation for keeping fine line tattoo projects hydrated during healing is to pick yourself up a jar of coconut oil, specifically unsweetened, virgin, organic coconut oil. If you have a jar at home that you want to use, make sure that the jar in question has only been exposed to clean hands, spoons, etc. If you can't guarantee whether your home jar has come in contact with something that may irritate your tattoo, opt for a new jar.

Coconut oil is our choice for a couple of reasons;

It aids in the healing process, and the faster we lock in that ink, the better.

It is naturally antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral.

It's natural, pure and simple.

It's nice and oily, so we don't have to reapply it too often (the less we touch the tattoo, the better) but thin enough to allow your skin to breathe.

Tried and True, clients on top of keeping their tattoos hydrated with coconut oil often skip the flaking stage altogether.

*Disclaimer: If you have never used coconut oil on your skin before, give it a spot test on the soft skin of your inner elbow. If your skin reacts, opt for a hypoallergenic ointment.


Some alternatives that can work as well are:

Unscented Lotions (Hypoallergenic for those with sensitive skin)

Tattoo Goo, Redemption and other standard tattoo shop aftercare products (Available at Shopper's Drug-mart etc.)


*Avoid: Petroleum Jelly, Vaseline, Scented lotions, even Aloe and other plant-based healing aids if you don't know your skin is compatible.


When and How to Apply:


Everybody is different, and not everyone's skin is as dry or well hydrated. Our recommendation is to get in the habit of checking on your tattoo.

Start by checking it every half hour to 1 hour (or whenever you think of it) to see if your tattoo is starting to look at all dry.

If so, wash your hands, then gently apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the area. Massage in the oil very gently as not to disturb any flakes/scabs. You want to use just enough oil to keep your skin from getting dry as opposed to laying a thick layer of oil that may choke your skin when it should be breathing.

Once you are habitually checking on your tattoo, you will be able to gauge how frequently your tattoo needs hydrating. It will likely require more moisture after the first few days.

You can stop moisturizing once your skin has gone back to its natural texture. If you wish to keep hydrating your skin for a few days after that point, I'm sure your skin will be grateful.




Keep your Flakes/Scabs


Like any wound that we want to heal without leaving scarred or damaged skin, we need the scabs/flakes to stay put until they are ready to come off on their own accord.

Do not pick! Avoid friction on the area altogether to limit flake disruption. Depending on the location of your tattoo, this may mean wearing loose-fitted (clean) clothes of a soft or smooth material.



For example, someone who has a new rib piece would want to avoid bra straps. A fresh calf piece means no high socks, and someone with a fresh hip piece may even avoid underwear if possible. That may mean wearing a long, high-waisted skirt of a soft material. Or at the least, make sure the underwear they wear is soft and loose. However, where the waistband of the underwear meets the tattoo will very possibly end up needing a touch-up.



AVOID: Friction/Activity/Itching


Most scabs and cuts start to get a bit itchy as they heal. Try not to absent-mindedly scratch that itch that happens to be where your new tattoo is. We don't want to lose any scabs/flakes or irritate the skin any further. If it's itchy, slap it! It looks ridiculous, but it works. Itchiness may also be a sign that your tattoo is getting a bit on the dry side.

As mentioned above, we need those scabs/flakes to stick around. That means no rough clothing, no rough-housing, no repetitive motions around/over the area.

Additionally, make sure you apply your moisturizer to your tattoo gently to limit rubbing anything the wrong way.

(If kept well moisturized and all guidelines followed, fine-line tattoos can often skip the 'flaky' stage altogether. That is ideal since fine-line work sits much more shallow in your skin, and with less ink to spare, you could lose some ink if flakes rub off. With fine-line tattoos, we must choose between working shallow in the skin and possibly needing a tiny touch-up depending on healing or having a thicker-than-desired line. Healing-related touch-ups are free, so we consider this a fair trade.)




AVOID: Direct sunlight/Heat


Heat/UV exposure can cause the already irritated skin to become more painful, inflamed, and possibly cause skin damage. (Think sunburn on fresh road-rash. Not ideal.) That means no sun-tanning/tanning beds (not without a cover over your tattoo and ensuring the skin stays cool), hot yoga, saunas, heat lamps etc.

( If you are out in the heat, your tattoo does become irritated or if you would just like to cool it down and help circulation/healing. You can periodically ice your tattoo during the early stages. Just make sure your ice or cold pack is wrapped in something clean and gentle on the skin.)




AVOID: Chemical Irritants/Allergens


Throughout your healing process, your skin may be very sensitive, and certain chemicals could irritate it and hinder healing, as well as damage the ink itself.

Be wary of what you put on your skin or put your body in until your tattoo is fully healed.

x No Chlorine (i.e. Swimming pools, hot tubs, water parks/slides, etc.) until your tattooed skin is 100% back to normal.

x Keep your tattoo away from household cleaning products, scented lotions/soaps, deodorizers, spray tan, etc. Even Sunscreen until your tattoo is fully healed. Just keep your tattoo out of the sun or covered. (If you come in contact with these, gently rinse the product off immediately and keep an eye on any irritation that may follow)

If you know your sensitivities and allergies, make sure that nothing in your tattoo regimen will irritate you or your tattoo.




AVOID: Laser/Skin/Hair Treatments


(i.e. laser hair removal, laser dermal procedures) These procedures often irritate the skin and expose it to excess heat. Additionally, laser hair removal uses a laser that reacts to darker pigments in the skin and could therefore target the ink itself. Ensure you go to a reputable source for your treatments and avoid the area surrounding your tattoo until it is healed. This should be common knowledge for them. Never allow a laser technician to go over your tattooed skin unless you want your tattoo removed the hard way.

This one should go without mention; no waxing, shaving, electrolysis, plucking, etc., until your tattoo is fully healed. Leave the area be!




AVOID: Excess Moisture/Dryness



As mentioned above, we need the scabs/flakes to stay put until they are ready to come off on their own accord.

This means we need to keep your tattoo in the 'Goldilocks' zone: not too dry, not too moist.

We want to make sure that we allow the skin to breathe but keep everything well enough moisturized that we (in the case of fine-line tattoos) don't develop scabs or flakes at all! Or that the scabs that form are well enough moisturized to remain flexible as your skin moves and remain adhered to your skin as long as it needs to. If these scabs dry out, they can crack and begin to detach. This is why we moisturize our fresh tattoos whenever they start to look like they are getting a tad thirsty/dried out.

The flip side is giving our tattoo too much moisture. Using too much moisturizer, baths, long showers, saunas, steam rooms, hot yoga and sweaty gym sessions should all be avoided. If the tattoo is left moist too long, the scabs/flakes will become soggy and separate from the skin. If left choked in moisture for too long, a tattoo can become irritated and potentially become infected.

If this means skipping the gym, yoga, and baths/long showers until your tattoo is healed, do it! If need be, swap intensive sweaty exercises for ones that allow you to stay dry. Pat yourself dry with a clean towel regularly if need be.


* If your tattoo has been trapped in a moist wrap/clothes/environment:

Give it a gentle rinse to avoid any bacteria (perhaps with gentle, unscented soap)

Pat it dry gently with a clean towel and allow the skin to breathe until it is back to its normal state.

If your tattoo appears to be irritated, apply a thin layer of Polysporin and avoid any other damp situations. Allow time for the skin to breathe in-between applications. Keep an eye out for signs of infection.


* Showering with a Fresh Tattoo:

In the shower, keep water off the tattoo if you can (hold the tattooed limb up away from the water). If you have an unavoidable tattoo, just make sure your shower is quick and at a moderate temperature to keep the healing tattoo from getting soggy.

Gently pat dry after washing with a clean towel. Allow the skin to breathe and dry for a bit before applying aftercare. (But do not wait so long that the skin begins to look parched)




Infections, Allergic Reactions & Irritation:


As explained above, there are many ways your lovely new tattoo can get off track on its way to being fully healed. 

If you aren't careful or end up in an unavoidable situation, it's up to you to get on top of damage prevention and damage control.

If you have any questions about the state of your tattoo, don't hesitate to contact us. For a prompt response in more severe cases, make sure you consult a physician quickly. Please don't wait for our response since we are unfortunately not always available, and response time can be lengthy.

Signs of Irritation:

If your tattoo is particularly sore past the first few days

Your tattoo is producing heat past the first 24 hours

The area is raised or 'sweating' at all.


If the irritation is mild, you can follow these steps based on the probable cause:

Irritation due to excess moisture/dampness:

Remove any wrapping, clothing, or other materials that may have trapped moisture in the area.

Rinse the tattoo with an unscented or hypoallergenic soap to remove any bacteria build-up.


If your tattoo appears to be reacting to your aftercare product:

Immediately clean your tattoo of the product and stop using the product altogether.


If your irritated tattoo does not show signs of improvement, shows signs of infection or an allergic reaction:

See your local physician immediately for care instructions specific to your needs. The faster your skin is treated, the better for both your tattoo and your general well-being.




That's all for now, enjoy your new ink!

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