The “when” of washing your new tattoo is a little like the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There's too much, too little, and just the right amount of time.
After that initial wash — the baptismal wash, if you will — you’ll need a good wound washing regimen for your tattoo. Why? To keep it clean!
Your tattoo is a wound needing some help to keep bacteria and other irritants out. Washing will come in handy and is an important part of the aftercare routine. We will tell you what to wash with, how to wash, and when to wash. You just have to do the actual washing. Fair enough?
What Should I Wash My New Tattoo With?
First things first, let's get the material sorted. What do you need to cleanse your new tattoo properly?
You need to get your soap sorted. At the bare minimum, you should be using a fragrance-free, antibacterial soap. If you want to go the extra mile, you should look at our CBD Foam Soap.
The CBD and natural botanicals in the formula make it chef’s kiss for new tattoos. The CBD helps soothe your irritated wound. Extracts of aloe vera, calendula, chamomile, green tea, and comfrey provide moisturizing and soothing properties to aid healing.
Then there’s the whole cleansing aspect of our soap. It cleanses all the excess tattoo ink, skin, and surface bacteria from your skin. Also, it’s foamy, so it’s more fun than regular soap.
If you can shell out for some super soap, then just make sure you get an antibacterial soap without fragrance or other weird ingredients that could irritate your open wound. Easy.
How Do I Wash My New Tattoo?
Washing your new tattoo isn’t like washing your hands. You need to give it some TLC (tender loving care).
First, get that water lukewarm — no hot or cold water. You don’t want to shock your wound.
Wash your hands first. Get all the bacteria off your hands so you can use them to wash your tattoo.
Gently wet the tattooed area. Let the water wash away all that it can before adding soap.
Grab your antibacterial, fragrance-free, naturally healing CBD Foam Soap and lather up. You want to be gentle — small circles over the tattoo with very little pressure. You don’t want to scrub away any baby blood clots or irritated skin. That could just lead to crappy healing. Be gentle!
Clean again with water.
Grab a clean paper towel and gently pat the area dry. Do. Not. Rub.
Apply a healing cream. Instead of bandaging your tattoo again to protect it, try our CBD Healing Balm for protection and moisturization.
When you moisturize — make sure you apply a perfectly thin layer of moisturizer — Goldilocks style. Too little will result in your wound drying out. Too much will suffocate your wound.
What About Day One?
When do you first wash your tattoo after leaving the studio? Your tattoo might be oozing in whatever bandage you left the studio with.
The oozing is normal, so don’t feel like you need to wash the tattoo immediately. The oozing right after the tattoo session induces some of the most beneficial healing that’s going to happen to your tattoo.
The blood plasma leaking out of your wound is stimulating the hell out of your wound. It’s helping jump-start new skin growth and blood clotting to protect the open wound. It’s a (messy) win-win.
Let that plasma do its job for a while. The rule of thumb for baptizing your new tattoo with its first wash is five hours. Wait at least five hours to give your tattoo that first wash. Waiting it out will give the bleeding and oozing some time to subside.
It will also be important to consider what kind of bandage your artist wrapped used. If it’s plastic wrap, you’ll want to remove the bandage and wash it once you get home (after that five hours). If it’s something like a Tegaderm or Saniderm, you can leave the bandage one for up to 24 hours so long as it doesn’t leak. Take it off once it starts leaking, if that’s the case.
Tegaderm and Saniderm are specifically for tattoos. They are porous, so the tattoo gets the air it needs while the bandage is on. But they are not too porous, so they keep all the oozing inside. They are great for that first day of healing because they allow the blood plasma to do its job for longer than plastic wrap would.
What About the Rest of the Healing Stage?
How often should you wash your tattoo during the healing stage? There’s too much and too little. You want to wash your tattoo when you brush your teeth.
Wash your tattoo in the morning after waking up and in the evening before going to bed. Be gentle. Use clean water, good soap (our soap is pretty great), and a clean paper towel. And moisturize after.
You should also wash your tattoo whenever it gets dirty. If you wore clothes over your tattoo, wash it. If you went and worked up a nice sweat, wash it. If you went on the metro and rubbed up against some hand poles, wash it.
You get the picture. When necessary, give it an extra wash.
It’s important to uphold the washing schedule. Washing your wound will help clear off whatever yuck it’s collected throughout the day or while you were thrashing around in your sleep.
If you don’t wash your tattoo, it could trap bacteria or particles inside the wound and disrupt the healing process resulting in infection, scarring, or general irritation until you get that stuff out! Give your new tattoo some bath time — self-care FTW.
Are you ready to wash that tattoo juuuuust right, like Goldilocks' favorite bowl of porridge? Do kids even hear the story of Goldilocks anymore?
Wash your tattoo with a super special, awesome CBD Foam Soap for the best cleansing results. If you can’t spring for the good stuff, ensure your soap is antibacterial and fragrance-free.
Know how to wash your wound right. Clean, luke-warm water to start the rinse. Then use your clean hands to lather the tattooed area with soap and water gently.
Do not scrub the forming scabs and blood clots. Those can stay. Then rinse again and pat dry with a clean paper towel. And never forget your thin layer of moisturizer.
After you leave the studio, wait five hours before washing your tattoo. Let the excess ink ooze out, and let those blood clots form.
After that, you can wash every morning and every evening. So about twice daily (plus a wash whenever you feel like your tattoo has been in a dirty situation). Easy peasy.
Platelet Rich Plasma: New Insights for Cutaneous Wound Healing Management | PMC
Wound Irrigation - StatPearls | NCBI Bookshelf
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Wound cleansing, topical antiseptics and wound healing | PMC