Key Advice

The aftercare following a tattoo is
important to promote good healing
and prevent the risk of infection.

For the first week or so it is normal
for the area to be red and tender.

As with all body art, infection is a
risk. To reduce those risks take
advice from your tattooist
regarding the aftercare.

The risk of infection can be greatly
reduced by good general hygiene

• Hand washing before touching
the tattoo.
• Keeping the tattooed area
covered with cling film in
areas prone to rubbing on
clothes, especially if you must
be active during the day.

Signs of infection

If appropriate aftercare is not
followed infection may occur.

The signs of infection are:

• Swelling and redness that
increases around the wound.
• A severe burning and
throbbing sensation round the
• Increased tenderness and
increasingly painful to touch.
• An unusual discharge
(yellow or green)
with an offensive smell.

Speak to your tattooist or seek
medical attention immediately if
you suffer from any of the above
or if there are signs of an allergic
reaction to any of the products.

Tattoo aftercare

Good practice is to cover the tattooed area with non stick plastic film or non-stick gauze
which is then secured with hypo-allergenic tape.

When you get home….

Take the plastic film off (try and leave it on for at least 4 hours).

Wash gently with lukewarm soapy water and dry with a clean towel or paper towl by
applying pressure rather than rubbing or dabbing.

Let the tattoo air dry and then apply a thin coat of tattoo aftercare.
Continue this process 3 to 5 times a day until the tattoo has healed (about 10-14 days).

Any cream that you apply must be used from an appropriate pot/tube at home and you
should wash your hands before application. Tattoo aftercare can be bought here at
It’s Only Forever.
(Please ask your artist for details)

Antibiotic creams should not be used except if infection has occured and under
supervision of your doctor.

After 2 to 3 days a light scab may appear, do not pick or scratch this as it will affect the
outcome of your tattoo.

For the first few weeks….

NO swimming or soaking – showering is fine but no bathing.

NO tanning – and keep your tattoo out of the sun. After two weeks, if you do decide to
tan, you should wear an SPF 50 product.

DO NOT pick or scratch your tattoo as this can cause permanent damage to your tattoo.

DO NOT let other people touch your healing tattoo.

Hand Washing

Hand washing is the single most important method of reducing infection.
Hands must be washed prior to touching the affected area, therefore reducing the risk of

Wash your hands in warm water and liquid soap, always dry your hands thoroughly.
This should remove most germs and prevent them being transferred to the affected area.