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Fresh ink: How to wash a new tattoo

You probably didn’t have to worry about washing your first few hand-drawn ‘tattoos’. They might have included the name of your crush. Or the secret club you had with your mates. Or a worryingly bad sketch of the male anatomy (alright, that last one might have been drawn on you, rather than your own artistic choice).

But now you’ve taken the plunge and you’ve got your first ink. Sitting and being stabbed with ink-filled needles for a couple of hours is tough, so you’re going to want to make sure that your tattoo is worth the effort. Here’s what to do when washing a new tattoo to keep it looking more da Vinci than Davina.

How to clean a new tattoo

You’re going to want to show off the first (or the latest addition) tattoo that you’ve got. But wait. The hard work is yet to come. Would you declare yourself the champion of a hot wings challenge after a taste of the sauce? No – this is just the start.

Cleaning a new tattoo is a million times easier if you listen to your tattoo artist. You should trust them – they had the chance to draw a permanent version of that male anatomy sketch and they didn’t, so…

Every tattooist has a different method of how to clean a fresh tattoo, and they should give you advice on cleaning a new tattoo too. The immediate after care usually involves:

  • Using an antibacterial gel or liquid to clean the area. It might sting ­– but you were fine with the needles so hold tight.
  • Wrapping the area with some sort of plastic or bandage. If this is tough, remember that the secret to Mona Lisa’s smile still hasn’t been revealed. So, keeping your work of art covered that bit longer shouldn’t be a shock.
  • Telling you not to wear clothing that’s tight on the tattooed area. Save it for another day to avoid irritating the fresh ink.
  • Avoid direct sunlight on the area. Your skin will be extra sensitive and too sore for sun lotion –– keep it in the shade or keep it covered.
  • Avoid swimming. Allow for your tattoo to fully heal before taking a dip.

All tattoo artists will have different ideas for how long to keep it wrapped for, so follow their advice and then get ready for the next stage: washing a new tattoo.

top tip for showering

Cleaning a new tattoo is a million times easier if you listen to your tattoo artist. You should trust them – they had the chance to draw a permanent version of that male anatomy sketch and they didn’t, so…

How to wash a new tattoo

Knowing how to wash your tattoo after you’ve taken the wrap off is the best way to keep it looking its best. You use protection for the most important things in life (phone screens, for example) and your tatt is no different. Washing your tattoo is important for the healing process. It’s worth asking:

  • How often should you wash a new tattoo? Give it a wash after you’ve taken the wrapping off. And make sure you use clean hands and clean towels. Use alcohol-free soap and warm water. Follow the advice from your tattoo artist, but generally speaking, you should wash your tattoo and use a lotion/ointment on it at least twice a day, to keep it clean and hydrated.
  • Should I use a bath or shower? Try not to submerge your tattoo in water for at least a month after you’ve had it. Even if it is a tattoo of an anchor.
  • How should I dry it? Use a fresh towel and gently pat it.
  • Do I need to keep it hydrated? Use just enough moisturising lotion/ointment to cover it but not so much that it can’t breathe and heal.

Knowing how to clean a new tattoo means you’ll have an extra bit of your personality proudly on display, and that’s pretty cool. Once it’s fully healed, you can wash it as normal with products like Lynx Ink Shower Gel, which cleans and moisturises as well as helps keep your tattoos looking bright for long-term care. Time to start marvelling at how you sat still for hours while being jabbed with tiny needles (also pretty cool, nice one).