Foot tatoos
Tattoo Aftercare

Foot Tattoo Care: 8 Things You Need to Know - Sorry Mom


There is often a lot of time and energy spent on planning a tattoo. First thing’s first, you need to know what you are getting, then finding an artist or a shop.

If you are considering a tattoo, the foot is a great place to start, but you have to be sure to practice the proper foot tattoo aftercare.

Most people think they are finished once they get out of the shop; however, tattoo aftercare is just as important as planning the tattoo itself. 

To make it easy and clear, we have created a comprehensive list of everything you need to know about foot tattoo aftercare. This is the most crucial part of the entire process as it ensures that the tattoo heals properly, maintains its good looks, and it's safe from infection.

Foot tattoo world map

8 Things You Need to Know About Foot Tattoo Care

#1 Keep it to One Tattoo at a Time

You may have this incredible vision of having two matching or corresponding tattoos on each foot. Don’t worry you will get there, but it is better to start with just one. Foot tattoos can result in some minor pain and swelling after completion.

Walking around can become quite difficult with two fresh wounds on your feet. 

Moving around on your feet the following couple of days after getting a new tattoo can be a bit tricky, so it is best to have one "good" foot for support.

To keep things manageable, stick to one piece at a time – go back for the second foot after the first is no longer experiencing any pain or swelling.

#2 Footwear and Timing

Foot tattoos are especially tricky when it comes to choosing a time of the year to have it done.

The colder months may seem more convenient because you are spending more time inside and have less exposure to the sun, however, there aren’t many reasonable footwear options -especially if you live somewhere that experiences wet or damp winters, wearing a low-coverage shoe is not going to be realistic-.

Warmer, drier months are a better-suited time to schedule your tattoo.

You will have the opportunity to wear shoes with less coverage such as flip flops and open flats. This will ensure that your tattoo heals properly without any unnecessary friction.

#3 Manage Any Swelling

It is unrealistic to expect to stay off your foot entirely in the days following your session, but it is important to try and limit the amount of time you are keeping your freshly tattooed foot under pressure. 

Swelling is a natural part of the healing process and should be managed as best as possible.

This includes keeping stress and weight off of your foot whenever possible and keeping it elevated to help reduce the swelling. 

#4 Keeping Your New Tattoo Clean

Keeping the site with your fresh ink clean is one of the most important steps in the aftercare process.

This keeps your foot clear from infection, or any other abnormalities. 

As recommended in other posts, when the time comes to wash your tattoo, do it gently with your hands.

Find a good tattoo soap or a mild, fragrance-free soap to use for the first few days. Gently wash your tattoo in slow, circular motions, and don’t be alarmed if you find that your tattoo is a bit slimy.

Tattoo cleaning routine

Sometimes, during the healing process, tattoos can get a bit of plasma on the surface. You will want to make sure that you wash this off completely, as it can scab and cause painfulness or itching.

Read also: How often should I wash my new tattoo?

#5 Keep Your New Tattoo Moisturized

Keeping your foot tattoo moisturized is an important part of the aftercare process.

In the first days of the healing process, use a tattoo moisturizer. 

REMEMBER: Your skin still needs to breathe, so apply a very thin layer. 


When your skin is well moisturized it is more protected from infection as it is less likely to crack.

Keep in mind that you want your skin smooth, therefore is really good practice to use lotion after the 2 first weeks to keep your tattoo moisturized.

#6 The Sun is Not Your Tattoo’s Friend

The beach or pool is no place for a new tattoo, especially one on your foot.

REMEMBER: Avoid the sun and the use of sunscreen until your tattoo is healed.

New tattoos will fade quickly if not carefully protected from the sun. 

After that, make sure to keep it covered when possible, and when it is not possible to use a good quality sunscreen with high SPF to preserve its color and vibrance.

Read more about tattoos and sun here.

#7 Keep Out of the Water

Another reason the beach or pool is no place for your new tattoo, the water.

While showers are okay, submerging your new ink in water for an extended period of time compromises the integrity of the ink on a fresh piece.

Plunging your brand-new tattoo in a chemically treated pool or saltwater will not only irritate the healing ink, but it will also put you at risk for infection as water can carry many bacteria and microbes that enter through the skin and open wounds.

Keep your showers quick and stay off the beach.

#8 Know When to Be Concerned

An important part of your aftercare process is knowing your own body and being on the lookout for any infections or allergic reactions.

While most tattoos are completed without any issues or concerns, poor aftercare or unfortunate circumstances can lead to unwanted outcomes.

If your tattoo becomes abnormally swollen, you notice any pus or lesions, or you begin to experience a fever or hot and cold flashes then it is time to call your doctor.

Not all infected tattoos end in disaster.

Many infected tattoos - if treated early - can be touched up after they heal without lasting, undesired results.This is why taking your aftercare seriously is so incredibly important to the tattooing process.

When done right, you will have a work of art that you get to wear with pride forever.

What to Expect When Getting a Foot Tattoo  

- Foot Tattoos are Unique

Foot tattoos are a great place for a tattoo, especially for someone’s first piece, because it provides the freedom to show it off or conceal it, if necessary.

This is a popular spot for those getting their first tattoo, but it is important to understand why this is a tricky location and how proper aftercare can ensure a great result.

While choosing the foot as a spot for a tattoo seems pretty straight forward, there are quite a few variations of placement.

The top of the foot is best for larger designs, while the sides and ankles are best for smaller, more simplistic pieces.

- Don’t Assume it Will be Unbearably Painful

It is pretty common for people to think that the foot is one of the most painful places to get a tattoo; however, this depends on an individual’s pain tolerance, placement, size of the tattoo, and shading.

Most people agree that the pain is only present while the needle is against the skin, and usually goes away as soon as it is pulled up.

- Considering The Art

Something else that is important to remember regarding foot tattoos is that tiny, incredibly detailed pieces aren’t always the best design for the foot.

Because the skin is thin, and the opportunity for friction is high, the integrity and quality of a foot tattoo are dependent upon how well-suited the piece is for the location.

Now that the planning and expectations have been outlined, it is time to dive into the most important part of getting a foot tattoo – aftercare.

Bottom Line

Don’t let the aftercare discourage you from getting a foot tattoo.

When the healing process is finished, it’s going to look incredible and you are going to be very happy with your decision. 

Taking the proper aftercare steps and maintaining the cleanliness and integrity of your healing ink will ensure that everything ends up looking like a beautiful work of art in the end. 

Just remember to focus on keeping your new tattoo clean, moisturized, and properly protected, and you will be good to go.