Relic Tattoo : Aftercare

The Quick and Easy Basics:


-      * Remove the bandage within 3 – 4 hours.

-      * Do NOT re-bandage the tattoo

-      * Wash gently with warm water and liquid anti-bacterial soap: rinsing gently and thoroughly until the slick feeling is gone from the skin.

-      * Gently pat your tattoo dry. Do not rub.

-      *Wait 24 hours, apply a thin layer of fragrance-free lotion, if needed, to a DRY tattoo.

-      *For the next 2 weeks:

-  Wash 2 – 3 times a day

-  Lotion if tattoo feels dry and/or tight

DO NOT: Rub, pick, hot tub, sauna, swim or submerge tattoo in water. Stay out of sun for the first 3 months.


After your tattoo is healed use sunscreen! This will maintain your tattoo over the years.



-Your tattoo might “seep” for the first day or two. This is most noticeable the first night and may cause your sheets to stick to your tattoo. If this happens, don’t rip the sheet off. Spray your sheet with a spritz of water. This should help it slip right off without pulling out any ink. This is one reason why we suggest waiting 24 hours before applying any lotion or salves, so that the tattoo can dry completely. 

-Swelling is extremely common. Depending on the location of your tattoo (and how you treat it in the first day) swelling can last a good 72 hours.  If you notice swelling you can take Midol, as directed, and ice to help the swelling go down. Hands and feet tend to be the most common, but it could happen to any part of the body. (Please read below for more on hands and feet)  If excessive swelling lasts more then 72 hours, please see a physician.

-Redness. Your tattoo might be red for the first couple hours. You did irritate the skin for hours. In some people (usually fair skinned) redness can last 24 hours. If your tattoo has redness around it after 72 hours, please see a physician.

-Within the first week you will start to see your tattooed skin get dry and form a scab. Do not pick it! It will come off on its own, usually when being washed, when it is ready!  This is another good reason to wash your tattoo regularly. (Hygiene being the first reason)

-If your tattoo is dry, moisturize it! If it is not dry, do not moisturize it. Always wash your tattoo before re-applying your lotion or salve. The point of keeping your tattoo moist is to prevent the skin from cracking and pulling out ink. This is one those things that is a personal deal. Some tattoos are small enough that you may not need to moisturize it. But you should still keep it clean! Some tattoos are large and can require that you moisturize multiply times a day. Listen to your body. If it feels like the skin is being pulled, it needs moisture.

            *** A couple things to keep in mind:

You do not want to apply lotion or salve to tattoo that is still wet. Dry it completely. If you apply a lotion or salve make sure that it soaks into the tattoo quickly. Do not apply so much that the tattoo “scab” gets soft. This is very easy to let happen in areas where the skin creases; inside elbows, behind knees, edge of arm pits ect. If your tattoo is not absorbing the moisture, dab it until you have removed the excess moisture.

If I’m in a hurry I blow-dry it. True story.



The skin here is very thin. It gets swollen very easily. It can take a full month for these areas to heal. If you are planning on getting either of these areas tattooed you should plan to NOT use them for 72 hours after.  For the first 24 hours after the tattoo you should ice and elevate. If you got your feet tattooed; do not walk around, avoid socks and tight fitting shoes. If you got your hands tattooed; do not write excessively, wash dishes, wear gloves or let material rub on the new tattoo. If severe swelling last longer then 72 hours you should see a doctor.



People want to know exactly what products they should use. Please understand that what works for one person might not work for another. So this information is meant as a helpful guide, you need to do what works for you. If you know you have a sensitivity to cocoa-butter, do not use the products that contain cocoa-butter.



Stay away from fragrance when possible. It’s not going to destroy your tattoo, but it is a common irritant. We suggest liquid soap because bar soap can collect dirt, germs and bacteria on it. You’ve seen a bar of soap after someone with dirty hands uses it, it dries all dirty.  Again, this list is suggestions. If something on this list irritates your skin, please don’t continue to use it.


Neutrogena Ultra Gentle Cleanser. Great for sensitive skin and shouldn’t over dry the skin.

Soft Soap Antibacterial. Classic and easy to find.

Provon. A medicated lotion-soap that is aimed at piercing after-care, tends to be gentle.

Cetaphil. A gentle soap-free cleanser.

Dial. A good classic favorite.  But is known to be harsh and can irritate your tattoo.

Gentle Rain Antibacterial Soap. This is used as a pre-surgical and daily cleanser.



Again, avoid fragrance when possible. Before we go over the list of suggestions I must remind you how important it is to make sure you clean your tattoo before you apply moisturizer, that your tattoo is completely dry before you moisturize and do not over moisturize! This can be worse for your tattoo then not moisturizing it all. If your tattoo “scab” is looking gooey and you could almost rub it off then you have definitely over-moisturized. I have seen people heal beautifully with these suggestions and I have seen others react with rashes or burning from the same product. Please listen to your body and use common-sense.


Coconut Oil. Yup, like the kind you cook with. A natural anti-inflammatory  and it smells good. Be careful with this, it is very easy to want to re-apply and over do it.

Lubiderm Daily Moisture.  Easy to find and works great for many people. 

Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula with Vitamin E. Easy to find, affordable and you can use it in your every day life after your tattoo heals. Personally, I prefer the jar because it has almost half the ingredients as their other options. Plus I love the smell.

Painted Lady Natural Radiance Facial Serum. I love this stuff. Downside -This is a oil so it is possible to over-do it and you have to order it online. Upside – This is a great moisturizer for your face, especially if you have eczema or sensitive skin. (Like me)

Eucerin. Easy to find and affordable. It does have lanolin, which can irritate. Please stay away from their “Repair” line. It has AHA, which causes the skin to rejuvenate quickly and can push out your tattoo ink, plus it burns on open skin.

CeraVa Moisturizing Lotion. Easy to find and something you could use daily after your tattoo heals. Alcohol is high up on the ingredient list so it could sting or irritate.


Ointments: I know some people prefer them, ( I am guilty of using them at times too ) so I will include some. Please, please, please use them sparingly. That wonderful feeling they leave on your skin makes it very easy for dirt to stick to your new tattoo and makes it very easy for your “scab” to get soft and pull out ink. If you feel you must use them, make sure you pay extra attention to your tattoo. Oh yah, NO Neosporin or Vasaline. These two are the biggest culprits in irritation and ink loss.


Bacitracyin. Affordable and easy to find. If I am going to use an ointment, I use this. They have a “PLUS” version that has Lidocaine! (It numbs the painful tattoo for a little bit)

Aquaphor.  You can find it everywhere. What else can I say.


Specialty Products

I can’t really endorse one in particular. I do not like that there is no ingredient list. I  assume they work and don’t harm your tattoo, but I have not found one that speeds up the healing process.  If it’s not going to greatly benefit me, I prefer options that are easy to get and show me the full ingredients list.





As long as you follow these instructions your tattoo should heal beautifully. 



  Touch-ups are always free within 3 months, if you have taken proper care of your tattoo.