What To Put On a New Tattoo: The Ultimate Guide

What To Put On a New Tattoo: The Ultimate Guide

Jul 08, 2022 | Bridget Reed

Frankly, there’s a lot of garbage in the tattoo aftercare market. And there are a lot of catchy buzzwords and fascinating ingredients that make making a decision harder than running a marathon. 

You are probably exhausted from tattoo care options, and we are here to cure that option-induced headache. Get ready to give your brain some respite from the constant influx of maybe-true-maybe-not info. 

Your new tattoo is a healing wound, so you want to tread carefully when deciding what products to put on it. HUSH will walk you through all the best tattoo products you may need to use and what you should be looking out for in each of them. 

Between washing, drying, moisturizing, bandaging, protecting, and making your art look its best—there are a lot of decisions to make in the healing process. Let’s find some solid options.

What Should I Use To Wash My Tattoo?

It’s the first day of your new piece—hell yeah! Cleanse your new tattoo with warm water and fragrance-free, antibacterial soap. Bonus points for soap with soothing botanicals to ease the discomfort you will be feeling. 

Remember, wash very gently and resist the urge to scrub—your tattoo is scabbing, and those scabs and flakes are important! They are protecting the tender bits underneath. So get a tattoo cleanser that does the hard work and doesn’t leave you feeling like you need to scrub.

Because you have a new tattoo healing, you want to be careful with what you use. Your new tattoo is doubling as an open wound right now! Fun! So that means what goes in it needs to heal and not hurt. 

What Should I Use To Dry My Tattoo?

Don’t go messing up a job well done by drying your freshly cleansed tattoo with a day-old, musty-ass towel. What you dry your tattoo with matters just as much as what you use to clean it. Use a fresh, clean, chemical-free paper towel. 

If we are going reusable, get a thoroughly washed and sanitized old t-shirt or thin towel. Something that bacteria isn’t hiding in and that isn’t scratchy or abrasive.

What Should I Use To Moisturize My Tattoo?


Keeping your healing tattoo moisturized is going to help it heal correctly. But use caution! Over-moisturizing or moisturizing with the wrong product is a costly mistake.

Moisturize your healing tattoo with a hydrating and natural tattoo ointment. HUSH makes a great CBD healing balm that works on new and old tattoos. Our balm uses natural botanicals like shea butter, aloe vera, and rosemary to soothe the ouch. 

Make sure you only apply a thin layer of moisturizer, or you risk suffocating your new tattoo. Also, stay away from products with petroleum jelly because even using a thin layer of this chemical could also block your pores from receiving the oxygen they need.

Once your tattoo has closed up, you can transition from a healing ointment to a regular, daily lotion that you use on the rest of your skin. But don’t go walk-of-shaming back to any old lotion.

What you use to moisturize your skin plays a part in its health now and later in life. Skin health determines tattoo health.

What Should I Use To Bandage My Tattoo?

Your tattoo artist will likely send you home with a bandage or plastic wrap over your tattoo. Once you take that off, we don’t want you to re-bandage your tattoo. Kind of like over-moisturizing, re-bandaging runs the risk of suffocating your tattoo or trapping bad bacteria in and letting it breed! No thanks!

So air your new tattoo out with the protection of a moisturizer rather than a bandage. If you need to bandage your new tattoo, for whatever reason, use a sanitized, medical-grade bandage, and don’t leave it on longer than necessary. 

When you remove the bandage, gently clean your tattoo to make sure to remove any icky bacteria that might have gotten trapped when you had the bandage moment.

What Should I Use To Protect My Tattoo?

You want your tattoo to heal nice and bright, right? Ok, if that’s the case, your new tattoo should stay completely hidden from all UV rays for the first two weeks of its life. After about two weeks, your tattoo will start to close up, but the job doesn’t stop there. 

Once your tattoo wound is closed, you can start using sunscreen on it. Don’t get all wily with your sunscreen choice, though. What your sunblock is made of matters just as much as your daily moisturizer for tattoo ink. 

You want a sunscreen with 30+ SPF and ingredients that aren’t harmful to your skin. Once your tattoo heals, you should cover it with a thin layer of sunscreen anytime it’s exposed to the sun. The same way dermatologists recommend doing for your face.

The sun is one of your top foes if you want your tattoo to stay vibrant. UV rays will cause your tattoo to fade. What's the point when you paid for that art to last you past your grave? So protect yourself with solid sunscreen.

What Should I Use To Make My Tattoo Look Good?


Tattoo balms are no joke. A tattoo balm is specially made to keep tattoos looking as vibrant as the day you get them. 

The CBD Healing Balm we talked about earlier isn’t just for immediate aftercare—it doubles as a forever tattoo balm. You can continue to use it after your tattoo has transitioned to a closed wound. 

Most tattoos take up to three or four months to completely heal, so use a balm for the duration. And you can always revisit aging tattoos with our healing balm to keep them hydrated and bright. 

Doubling down on skin care when you have tattoos is imperative. Tattoos are like a magnifier for whether your skincare game has been on point. 


Wash gently with fragrance-free, antibacterial soap. Dry with a fresh paper towel or something equivalently clean.

Follow the drying with a thin layer of natural moisturizer that doesn’t clog your pores and will soothe and protect as its side hustle.

Don’t rebandage, but if you must, use a trusted bandage that doesn’t leave you questioning if you were better off uncovered.

Keep that body art out of the sun until it's two weeks old. Even when it’s ready to see the sun, you still need to add a protective layer of SPF 30+ sunscreen because, repeat after us, UV rays fade tattoos quicker than old age!

And for the cherry on top, add a bit of a tattoo balm to give your tattoo what it needs to continue glowing to the grave.



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Aftercare Instructions in the Tattoo Community: An Opportunity to Educate on Sun Protection and Increase Skin Cancer Awareness | PMC

A systematic review and meta-analysis on the use of prophylactic topical antibiotics for the prevention of uncomplicated wound infections | PM

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