tattoo care first 48 hours
Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoo Care: The First 48 Hours (Important) - Sorry Mom

Tattoo aftercare is one of the most important stages of getting a tattoo, but it's crucial the first 48 hours. 

In this post we'll talk about the most important aspects of tattoo care the first 48 hours and answer some of the most asked questions we get from our customers.

Keep reading and get relevant information about taking care of your tattoo the first 2 days with practical examples.

Tattoo Care: The First 48 Hours 

7 Things You Should Know:

1- Keep it (very) clean

Keeping your newly tattooed skin free of bacteria is key to avoid potential infections and developing any health issue. Therefore, we recommend you follow a thorough cleaning routine.


Clean your tattoo 2-3 times a day or whenever you feel it's been compromised - excessive sweat, exposure to external agents, etc. Use antibacterial tattoo foam soap to avoid soaking your tattoo on water.

Tattoo Foam Soap

If you clean your tattoo with neutral soap, remember not to soak the tattoo in water for a prolonged time, and use lukewarm water.

Read also: How to Properly Clean Your Tattoo in 7 Steps

2- Avoid contact as much as possible

It's important to keep external objects and dirt away from your newly tattooed skin, especially when it's so fresh. Therefore, be extra careful and aware of potential "dangers": bumping into someone, your pets, rubbing against your clothes, etc.

TIP: Consider wearing baggy clothes the first days to avoid excessive rubbing.

3- Moisturize the area

Wet healing your tattoos with the right products has proven to accelerate the healing process, decrease the likelihood of infection and to reduce tattoo pain.

Considering these benefits, you should start moisturizing your tattoo early in the process - recommended after 24h - to ensure a proper healing from the start.

Tattoo Balm

Read also: How Often Should I Moisturize My Tattoo?

4- Don't scratch

Expect itching on your freshly done tattoo as a normal part of the process.

However, do your best not to scratch it, as it can cause scarring and even warp your tattoo.

Tattoo scratching

5- Avoid sunlight

Sunlight and tattoos don’t usually make a good combo; especially if we talk about fresh tattoos. Left unprotected, your tattoos can fade, and your skin will end up damaged.

What can you do?

Avoid exposing your tattooed skin to sunlight. If you have to go outdoors, cover your new tattoo with baggy clothes. 

REMEMBER: before using sunscreen, make sure your tattoo has completely healed first (at least 2 weeks).

Read more: Tattoos and Sun: All You Need to Know

6- Keep it covered and protected

The best - and most convenient - way to protect your new tattoo the first days of healing from foreign objects and germs is with a proper tattoo bandage.

Make sure you use breathable and regenerative tattoo film.

If not, cover your tattoo only the first 3-4 hours with the film given by the artist.

7- Don't soak your tattoo in water

Keeping your newly tattooed skin away from getting soaked makes a huge difference in the longevity and overall quality of your tattoo.

As a rule of thumb, you can shower 3-4 hours after getting your new tattoo.

You should take extra caution when in the shower, though— avoid getting the tattoo wet directly, and clean it gently and with neutral soap.

48 First Hours of Tattoo Care: Step by Step

Day 1

  • Once your artist is finished, you'll most likely get your tattoo wrapped. Keep the wrap for 3-4h.
  • Before going to sleep, clean the area with antibacterial soap or neutral soap.
  • Rebandage the area before going to sleep. You can use breathable tattoo film - recommended - or cling film.

tattoo bandage

Read also: Tattoo care - first night

Day 2

  • Remove the bandage and clean the area.
  • If you have regenerative film, rebandage the tattoo and let it on for the next 2-4 days. Remember to apply moisturizer before applying the wrap.
  • If you don't have tattoo film, don't rebandage, apply moisturizer and let your tattoo air-dry.
moisturizing tattoo

    Most Frequent Questions

    Should You Wash Your Tattoo the First Day You Get It?

    Yes. In fact, it is recommended to wash the area after removing the bandage your artist put on after finishing the tattoo. This way, you will reduce the chances of tattoo infection due to bacteria.

    REMEMBER: Avoid soaking the tattoo in water and the use of loofah sponges. Be gentle, use your hands only, the right tattoo soap and lukewarm water.

    How Long Should I Keep My Tattoo Covered After Getting It?

    Keep your tattoo wrapped for 2-4 hours after leaving the tattoo shop. If using protective tattoo film instead of cling film, keep the wrap on for 3-4 days. 

    If using regular plastic foil, remove it after the first night and don't use it again.

    Read more: How Long Should You Keep Your Tattoo Wrapped?

    How Do You Take Care of a Tattoo After 2 Days?

    After the first 48 hours and up till 2 weeks, the aftercare routine will be based on two main aspects: keeping the area clean and moisturized. 

    Take a look at our tattoo aftercare instructions to learn the proper way to take care of your tattoo.

    Bottom Line

    Taking care of your tattoo the first 48 hours can seem daunting and overwhelming at first, but if you can sit through the pain of a tattoo, this is an easy one for you.

    Our best recommendation? Follow your tattoo artist’s instructions diligently, and don’t skip on washing, moisturizing, and protect the area from foreign objects.

    We hope this guide was helpful. We wish you a good one and a happy aftercare process!