How to Prepare for and Take Care of a Tattoo

How to Prepare for and Take Care of a Tattoo

Dec 1st 2021

Take Care of a Tattoo

Getting a tattoo is a major decision, one not to be taken lightly. But if you are here, you likely already know that. However, deciding what to get and where to get it is only the beginning of the process. Once you have settled on a tattoo artist, design, and the part of your body, it is time to understand the basics of how to prepare for your tattoo and the how to take great care of it.

How do I prepare before getting a tattoo?

If you want to make the most of your tattoo experience and give your tattoo artist the best possible canvas to work on, you have to make sure that you are taking great care of your skin. Here are a few of the most important tips to help ensure that your skin is tattoo ready before your session:

Moisturize ahead of time:

Regardless of your skin type, you want to ensure that your skin is properly hydrated ahead of time because bumpy flaky skin may not tattoo evenly or cause premature fading. According to the Mayo Clinic “The moisturizers that are best for you depend on many factors, including your skin type, your age and whether you have specific conditions, such as acne.” They provide  tips for choosing the best moisturizer and how to apply it to ensure your skin is well hydrated. Just make sure not to moisturize on the day of your tattoo appointment. Your skin should be clean and free of makeup, lotions, creams, or perfumes on the day of your appointment.

Stay hydrated:

Being dehydrated can lead to skin issues like dry or saggy skin. Studies show that for people who are not currently drinking enough water,  “increasing water intake had a positive effect on skin appearance and helped maintain skin hydration levels.” So start hydrating well weeks before your appointment and make it a new healthy habit so that your skin continues to reap the benefits long after your tattoo appointment. Staying hydrated will also aid in the healing and recovery process. So make sure to bring your water bottle with you!

Eat something:

Make sure that you have a healthy balanced meal before your tattoo appointment to give you the energy that you need to make it through your session. If your session is a longer one, make sure to bring a snack like fruit or trail mix to keep up your blood sugar and energy levels throughout the session. It will also help prevent dizziness that may be caused by either nerves or hunger. The entire experience will be more pleasant if your stomach isn’t growling the entire time.


Nicks and razor burn are going to be a no-no when you are getting your tattoo. If the area where you will be getting your tattoo is not one that you normally shave, it may take a few days or weeks of trying to get the area and yourself accustomed to shaving. While you should be cleanly shaven, don’t try it for the first time the night before! If you are not used to shaving or can’t reach the area, ask for help. A friend or family member may be able to help or you can always ask your artist for assistance. Just let them know ahead of time that you will need help shaving so that they are setting aside enough time to help.

Get comfy:

Make sure you wear loose, comfortable clothing that provides easy access to the area being tattooed. Not only will your artist be thankful, but the more comfortable you are, the more pleasant the entire experience will be! Also, make sure that you aren’t wearing your favorite outfit! While most artists do their best to keep your clothing free of ink, blood, or other fluids, tattooing can be unavoidable messy. It’s better to be safe than sorry and wear something you won’t miss if the stains won’t come out.

Avoid drugs and alcohol:

Responsible tattoo artists will not work on someone who is intoxicated. Not only does it impair your ability to properly consent and follow instructions, but it can be outright dangerous. Alcohol acts as a blood thinner and can increase bleeding and hamper healing. If you are taking any prescription medication or over-the-counter medications containing aspirin, you should consult your doctor before stopping medication or getting a tattoo.

How can I make sure my tattoo heals well and keep my tattoo from fading?

Just as important as making sure that you prepare for a tattoo is ensuring that you take proper care of your tattoo once you have it. These are some of our top tips to ensure your tattoo stays in tip-top shape long after your session:

Follow instructions:

The artist will give you detailed instructions on what to do in the days and weeks following your tattoo session. Following these instructions is the absolute best thing you can do to ensure your tattoo heals properly and looks great for years to come. The instructions may vary slightly based on your skin and the tattoo location. Pay special attention to when you are supposed to unwrap it, wash and dry it, and when to apply aftercare.

Stay sun safe:

You won’t be able to dab sunscreen on your newly tattooed skin, so it is important to stay out of the sun the first few days with a brand new tattoo. If you can’t avoid the sun altogether, make sure the tattooed area is covered with SPF protective clothing. Once your tattoo is healed, limiting sun exposure is still important to prevent fading. When you are out in the sun, make sure to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30+ and reapply often.

Avoid, picking, scratching, rubbing, or shaving:

Basically, aside from washing it, patting it dry, and applying aftercare, leave your tattoo alone. Not only can picking and scratching pull out the ink and damage the look of the tattoo, but it can also lead to infection. Even if you have a great artist and do all the right things, you should still know the signs of an  infected tattoo. Following instructions, and keeping your hands off of your tattoo can reduce the risk of infection and ensure that your tattoo looks great when it heals.

Don’t soak in water, especially hot water:

Not only will soaking in hot water hurt but soaking or submerging a tattoo in water can interfere with healing and lead to infection. So avoid swimming, lounging in the pool, or soaking in a hot tub or bath.

Keep skin hydrated:

If you started drinking more water to get hydrated before your tattoo, keep up the good work! Drinking water can help with the healing process and keep your skin looking great. Make sure you keep your skin moist with high-quality tattoo aftercare. Check out the next section for an awesome recommendation.

What can I use to keep my tattoo and skin hydrated?

We make choosing the right aftercare for your tattoo easy!  Quantum Tattoo Aftercare is soothing, helps promote healing, and has antiseptic and moisturizing properties. Plus, it is hand-made in small batches using only the best organic ingredients! This tattoo aftercare balm is safe for artists to use as soon as they complete a tattoo and great for continued use to promote the healing and longevity of your tattoo.