*Click here for a downloadable .pdf of these instructions.*

Our skin is naturally and easily capable of coping with the stress of tattooing, and will heal quickly and beautifully with very little help. The steps below will guide you through the healing process; however, feel free to contact us anytime with questions or concerns.


Leave the wrapping/bandage on your new tattoo for at least the first hour (and no more than four hours--do not leave the wrapping on overnight). When you are somewhere clean and comfortable: unwrap and gently (but thoroughly) wash your fresh tattoo with clean hands, warm water and a mild, unscented soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's etc).  After washing, pat it dry with a clean cotton or paper towel and LEAVE IT ALONE.

DO NOT re-bandage your tattoo; DO NOT apply any ointment.  This will allow your new tattoo the chance to breathe and will give the surrounding skin the opportunity to normalize.


The first morning, wash your fresh tattoo with clean hands, warm water and a mild, unscented soap. Pat it dry with a paper towel and allow the skin to air dry for 15-20 minutes (this is especially important).  Apply a VERY thin film of Aquaphor -- rub it in and wipe off any excess.  Repeat this treatment with the Aquaphor in the evening and the following morning.  This means 3 (three) applications of Aquaphor -- 3 times, NOT for 3 days.  

For the next few days, continue washing your tattoo with clean hands and mild soap twice a day. Pat dry with a clean cotton or paper towel and LEAVE IT ALONE.


After a few days, the tattoo will begin to feel tight and dry.  Apply a mild, unscented lotion (Curel, Lubriderm, etc.) after your twice daily cleaning. Use a very small amount and rub it in. Continue to use lotion until your skin feels normal again.  After several days, your skin will begin to peel--like a sunburn; this will reveal a bright, fresh layer underneath.

That's it. Wash it, use a small amount of lotion, and LEAVE IT ALONE.

Some additional tips:

  • For the first two weeks: NO sun-bathing, tub-soaking, swimming or long showers.
  • NO scratching, picking or poking--it is healing, leave it alone.
  • Wear loose, light-weight clothing for a few days.
  • After 2 or 3 days, the skin will begin to peel away. This can go on for a few days; do not try to hurry the process by picking or scrubbing. Let the skin and any scabbing fall away naturally or during gentle washing/lotion application.
  • It is normal for some fluids (ink, plasma, etc.) to come to the surface in the first couple of days. Don't sleep on your best sheets; don't wear your favorite clothing.
  • It will get itchy, this is normal--it is healing, leave it alone.
  • Always pat the tattoo dry and then let it air-dry for at least 15 minutes after washing and before applying any lotion.
  • Keep the lotion to a minimum. Your newly tattooed skin should be flexible, not moist.
  • Some scabbing may occur, some swelling may occur (esp. on lower legs and lower arms--these areas may also take a little longer to heal). Again, this is normal--it is healing, leave it alone.
  • Try to maintain a decent diet (eat some veggies!) and get a daily multivitamin during the healing process; keeping your immune system charged with expedite your healing time.

Please do not hesitate to call the studio or email with any questions or concerns.

503.307.2874                                                  studio@thejademermaid.com