Art on Skin: The Ultimate Tattoo Aftercare Guide

tattoo aftercare guide

Getting a new tattoo can be an exciting experience - a chance to express yourself in a unique and permanent way. However, the journey doesn't end when you leave the tattoo studio. Proper aftercare is crucial to ensure your new ink heals well and retains its beauty for years to come. This guide will walk you through the essential steps of tattoo aftercare, helping you get your money’s worth and protect your skin in the long run.

Immediate Aftercare: The First 48 Hours

The first two days after getting a tattoo are the most critical for its healing. Here’s how to have a successful start.

Keep it Covered

Your artist will cover your fresh tattoo with a bandage or plastic wrap. This protects it from bacteria and prevents it from rubbing against your clothing. Leave the covering on for the first few hours, as advised by your tattoo artist, before gently removing it to clean the area.

Clean Gently

After removing the cover, it's time for the first clean. Wash your hands and then wash your tattoo using a YAYO tattoo soap. This is a liquid soap and shower gel with activated charcoal to remove any potential nasties you may have picked up. Pat the area dry with a clean paper towel or let it air dry.

Apply a Thin Layer of Aftercare Product

Once the tattoo is dry, apply a thin layer of your favourite YAYO tattoo butter to your new tattoo. These products are designed to moisturise and protect your tattoo without clogging pores. Avoid heavy applications; a little goes a long way. Whenever the previous layer has fully soaked in, leaving your tattoo dry to the touch, you can apply another layer. remember to apply another thin layer whenever the previous layer has soaked in fully.

Repeat the cleaning and aftercare steps daily for a period of 2 to 4 weeks, or until you and your artist are happy that your new tattoo is healed.

Ongoing Care: The First Few Weeks

As your tattoo begins to heal, you'll notice peeling and possibly some scabbing. This is normal. Here’s how to care for it during this time.

Keep Moisturising

Continue to apply a thin layer of YAYO tattoo butter to your tattoo 2-3 times a day. This keeps the area hydrated, which is essential for proper healing. If your tattoo feels particularly dry or tight, you can lightly moisturise more frequently.

Avoid Water and Sun

Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight and refrain from soaking it in water. This means no swimming pools, hot tubs, or long baths. Showers are fine, but try to keep them brief and avoid direct water pressure on the new tattoo.

Resist the Itch

As your tattoo heals, it will itch. It's very important not to scratch or pick at it. Scratching can cause damage to the tattoo and may introduce bacteria, leading to infection. If it itches, gently pat the area or apply more YAYO tattoo butter.

How can you use YAYO Guard to protect your tattoo

YAYO Guard is a protective product which is waterproof but permeable on the inside to allow your skin to naturally perspire. Before applying YAYO Guard, ensure you have thoroughly washed your hands and are using clean surgical gloves. 

Application Instructions 

  1. Allow your tattoo to bleed for around 5 to 10 minutes. This is your body trying to clean the wound naturally from within. Your blood is full of white blood cells to aid the reduction of infection. 
  1. Gently wash your new tattoo with YAYO soap (be sure to include an area up to 4cm around the tattoo) followed by cleaning the area with YAYO Pitch to further reduce the risk of infection. Pat the area dry with a clean, absorbent, single use towel. At this stage you may apply a thin layer of your preferred YAYO aftercare to the tattoo to speed up healing of the epidermis (optional). Ensure that you only apply this to the tattoo; the skin area around the tattoo will be needed for the hypoallergenic adhesive to bond to. 
  1. Apply the film with the protective side facing down towards the tattoo (do this by peeling off the protective paper layer). Press down the edges on to the skin, ensuring that you leave at least a 2.5cm (0.98inch) margin around the tattoo then peel away the back cover. 
  1. Wear YAYO Guard for up to 5 days depending on how much your tattoo weeps. Follow the removal instructions below.

Removal and residue 

Keeping the skin cool (i.e. at a normal body temperature, rather than removing in the shower or hot bath) gently peel each corner of the film layer back towards the centre ensuring that you remain parallel to the skin surface. The adhesive may be difficult to remove, but whatever you do do NOT rip off the guard. Patience is key here. 

If you happen to be left with adhesive residue on your tattoo after removal, don't panic. This happens a lot when the product is left on the skin for too long or removed in an environment which is the same temperature as your body or higher. What happens is when the adhesive is warmed above body temperature it can separate from the polyurethane backing and remain on your skin. 

If this happens we recommend baby oil for removal of the residue as it has proved to be very effective. If you're finding this doesn't work we have been advised by some customers that the use of alcohol wipes have also been effective. However, if in doubt, it is always recommendable to refer to your artist or a medical professional.

Long-Term Care: Preserving Your Tattoo

After your tattoo has fully healed, you'll want to keep it looking sharp and vibrant for as long as possible.

Sun Protection

Exposure to UV rays can cause your tattoo to fade or be damaged over time. When going out in the sun, cover your tattoo or use a high-SPF suncream to protect it. Reapply suncream regularly if you’re spending a lot of time outdoors.

Stay Moisturised

Healthy skin means a good-looking tattoo. Keep your skin moisturised daily to maintain the vibrancy of your tattoo design. Choose a YAYO tattoo butter that’s right for your skin type and apply it to your tattooed area regularly.

Healthy Habits

Your skin is a reflection of your overall health. Eating a balanced diet, staying hydrated, and not smoking can all contribute to keeping your skin—and your tattoo—in top condition.

When to See a Doctor

While infections are rare when proper aftercare is followed, they can happen. If you notice any signs of infection, such as excessive redness, swelling, foul odour, or pus, contact a healthcare provider immediately. Better safe than sorry.

Final Thoughts

A tattoo is more than just a design; it's a story that you choose to wear on your skin. By following these aftercare instructions, you ensure that your story remains as vibrant and detailed as the day it was applied. Remember, taking care of your tattoo is a small price to pay for a masterpiece that you’ll carry with you for life.

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