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Irresponsible Tattoo Aftercare leads to Badly Healed Tattoos

Author | Sunny Bhanushali | Aliens Tattoo



This post is about tattoo aftercare. It is about the factors which may lead to bad healing of tattoo because of tattoo infection and how to avoid it. This post will guide you through the best practices of tattoo aftercare which are extremely necessary for good healthy healed tattoo. I recommend you to read it all, however you can also jump through sections as follows -

Whenever people see badly healed tattoos, the first thing they do is judge the tattoo artist as being bad or worse. There is no consideration of other factors that might be the cause of the bad tattoo. Very few understand the importance of the aftercare and that it contributes more than 70% for the quality of the tattoo healed.


Doesn’t matter how good was your fresh tattoo. The day when you got it, it might be looking amazing, fantastic, however, with irresponsible (or being unaware of its) aftercare that same tattoo can turn into disaster within weeks.

Bad Healed Tattoos



My name is Sunny Bhanushali and I am a tattoo artist. I am not trying to blame the clients ( the one who gets tattooed ), I am being unbiased and sharing my 12 years of experience of tattooing. I have written this post to help all of you who spend precious time, money and faith in getting your tattoo from good artists and ruin it because of unawareness of tattoo aftercare. I have written this post with understanding of great pain and suffering one goes through when his/her beautiful piece of art(tattoo) turns into trash within few weeks because something goes wrong while healing, of which you are completely unaware.

irresponsible tattoo aftercare

Check out this award winning tattoo from one of the very reputed tattoo studio in India, Aliens Tattoo.


This tattoo was done by Sunny Bhanushali (Me) at the Goa Tattoo Festival. Client sat like a rock for 2 days for this tattoo and the same fresh tattoo won Best of Large Colour Tattoo at the show. However, after the show, client didn’t follow the aftercare given by Tattoo artist, and in no time it got infected. She had to visit doctor to stop the spread of infection, had mild pus formation within 3 days. With the strong dose of antibiotics, the wound recovered, however while healing there was too much colour loss and the tattoo turned out to be a mess.


before after bad aftercare tattoo infection

Another example where tattoo artist is blindly blamed for bad work.


This tattoo was done by Allan Gois at one of the Indian Tattoo Conventions. This tattoo took 2 consecutive sessions to finish. The convention was near the beach, and the climate was hot, Client got little rash on tattoo by the end of the day, Next day the whole tattoo was swollen and red until he took few antibiotics to suppress the infection. It recovered well, however the tattoo lost its contrast and faded more than expected. The reason for infection was that client left the tattoo open all the time while he was moving around the city.


Good healed tattoos


Amazingly Healed Tattoo from the same studio?

The above badly healed tattoos can be fixed through retouching it again. However, it's hard to restore its original beauty. We keep track of all the tattoos done by us, try our best to make sure things are going well and tattoo care is followed. Check out some of these beautifully healed tattoos from the same studio. Slide through to see fresh and healed tattoos.

Tattoo Aftercare

What is Tattoo Aftercare and what do we recommend?

- As it reads, Tattoo aftercare is the process of care you need to take as soon as you get your tattoo. As far as my experience goes, after-care varies from country to country, city to city, it also depends on what kind of climate you live in, what's the weather like, humidity, hot/cold, etc. Your tattoo artist knows the best so it is important you listen to him/her carefully while he/she is explaining the tattoo aftercare process, probe him/her if you don’t understand it, but make sure you get it all right.

Following are the 2 different aftercare processes which I recommend, which are quite generic and works in all climatic condition most of the time.

  • (RECOMMENDED) Tattoo After Care - First one consist of the use of Dermalize, This is the best and most effective way of tattoo aftercare and works in all climatic conditions (excluding extreme ones).

    1. ​As soon as you get your tattoo done, wash it with cold water and put a thin layer of petroleum jelly or An’ D Ointment over it and let it be open for few minutes (at least 20 mins).

    2. Clean it again with mild soap, let it dry for a few minutes and apply Dermalize.

    3. Keep the Dermalize on for 5 to 7 Days.

    4. Remove it carefully. If you find it hard to remove the wrap then please consult your tattoo artist and get it removed by him/her.

    5. Wash it with mild soap and let it be open without applying anything for a few hours.

    6. Apply Aliens Tattoo Ointment or any good moisturizer cream once or twice a day (more than twice a day if your skin is dry) for 4-6 days.

    7. If your tattoo feels mild itchiness, do not scratch, gently pat on the itchy area till the itching subsides.

    8. Keep away from swimming pool, sunlight and beach water for the first 4 weeks ( also read Life Time After Care)

    9. No exercise or gym activity for the first 2 weeks, avoid sweating as much as you can.

    10. Eat good food, add more protein in your meal. Avoid food which may cause stomach/digestion issues. Green veggies are the best for good healing of tattoos.

    11. Keep yourself hydrated, it keeps your skin moist and healthy.

    12. Avoid alcohol and stay away from recreational drugs for at least 3 days, first 3 days are very crucial for better healing.

    13. Considering the climate of Mumbai, India and the lifestyle of Indians we recommend anti-biotic medicine twice a day for 5 days with the consultation of your doctor.

    14. If you feel that your tattoo is infected, consult your tattoo artist and a doctor. (See how you can identify the infection on your tattoo)

//Dermalize - It is a thin self-adhesive film that provides a moist healing environment during the initial, and most critical, healing stage of a tattoo wound. It is the new solution that replaces the alimentary cling film which has been improperly used in the tattoo aftercare so far. It protects the new tattoo from friction and provides a WATERPROOF, ANTIBACTERIAL-BARRIER that prevents pathogens and external contaminants from entering the wound. The film is BREATHABLE, letting oxygen in and allowing excess moisture vapor to be released from the wound. It’s light to wear, FLEXIBLE and stretchable which allows it to be placed anywhere on the body and stay on,up to several days. Reduced scabbing, reduced risk of infection, no rubbing clothes or other external factors that will damage the tattoo. Read More about Dermalize

//Aliens Tattoo Cream - It is homemade ointment-based tattoo aftercare cream by Aliens, one of the best tattoo aftercare solution you will ever find. It is chemical free, fragrance-free, antibacterial cream specially made to keep your skin moist and healthy allowing your tattoo to heal faster. With our more than 12 years of experience in tattooing, we have tried and tested tons of aftercare product before coming up with Aliens Tattoo Cream. You can only get it from our Aliens Tatto Studio as it is an exclusive product. Contact us to buy it now

  • (GENERIC AFTERCARE) - This one is widely used tattoo aftercare and the oldest one.

    1. Right after you get a tattoo, cover it in a thin layer of petroleum jelly or A n’ D Ointment and put a loose bandage over it. Let the bandage on while you are heading back home.

    2. Remove the bandage after 6 to 8 hours. Gently wash the tattoo with antimicrobial mild soap and water and pat dry.

    3. Apply a layer of antibacterial ointment or Aliens Cream twice or thrice a day for 2 weeks, don’t put on another bandage (none after the first one)

    4. Don’t let it dry, keep it moist but not too much. Your skin needs air to heal faster, excessive use of ointment may block it and may slow down the healing process which will increase chances of infection.

    5. Do not peel or scratch the tattoo scabs, let them come off on its own. Removing them forcefully will cause color loss in that area.

    6. Always clean your tattoo with cold water, do not use hot water as it may damage the new fresh soft skin and cause improper healing of the tattoo. (for first 6 weeks)

    7. Keep away from swimming pool, sunlight and beach water for the first 4 weeks (Read Life Time After Care)

    8. No exercise or gym activity for the first 2 weeks, avoid sweating as much as you can.

    9. Eat good food, more protein and green veggies is better for healthy healing of your tattoo.

    10. If you feel that your tattoo is infected, consult your tattoo artist and a doctor. (See how you can identify the infection on your tattoo and important head points to avoid it)


Aliens Cream



Is there a Life Time Care needed to maintain good quality of your tattoo?

Yes, It is as important as your initial aftercare. If you want to maintain a good contrast, sharpness and vibrance of tattoo you got to take good care of your tattoo for life. You have to nurture your tattoo to keep it healthy and nice. Following are the most important Life Time Tattoo Care points to remember

  • Keep it away from sun as much as you can, direct sunlight on your tattoo will fade it away, it will make it look muddy and low on contrast.

  • Use good Sunscreen to protect it from sun. (SPF 45 or higher is best)

  • Avoid Sea water or Chlorine water (swimming pool) as much as you can. If you are into swimming and travelling then you got to use Waterproof Sunscreen or DermaSwim Pro or any similar product.

  • Use good moisturiser (scent and chemical free) on your tattoo at least few days a week. We recommend Aliens Tattoo Cream

  • Too much increase or decrease in size of your tattooed area (either through muscle building or loosing weight) could distort the tattoo and may also shift its original position. So avoid getting tattooed if you are planning to bring extreme body size changes.

  • Always stay hydrated, drink enough water to keep your skin moist. As doctors say, the more water you drink, the better your skin gets. Healthy skin keeps your tattoo healthy.

How to diagnose tattoo infection at early stage?

Early symptoms of tattoo infection are redness, pain and lot of irritation over the tattoo. After the tattoo you will have a bandage on, however you may feel lot of irritation and development of redness due to bacterial activity, in this case please remove the bandage, wash it with cold water and consult your tattoo artist or a doctor asap.

You may see development of redness after 2 - 3 days, you may also see blisters or boils around the tattoo and feel progressively increasing irritation, in this case please remove the bandage, wash it with cold water and consult your tattoo artist or a doctor asap.

You skin needs air to heal, too much use of petroleum jelly / or any aftercare product can suffocate skin and may lead to infection.

Tattooed skin is like any open wound (like scratch wound), too much dust around, or too much water can let bacteria to enter the wound and multiply fast. Follow proper instructions given by your tattoo artist. Consult him/her if you feel that you missed out on something.

If your tattoo is not Dermalized, it needs to be open all the time once the first bandage of off. Avoid your tattoo’s direct contact with bedsheets or pilows or your home/office upholstery, this is the very common reason for infection. For Eg: You may get your tattoo on wrist area, and while sleeping your tattoo might be touching to your bedsheets all night (you being unaware of it), then try to wear full sleeve cotton T-Shirt or something :)

diagnose infection
Life Time Care

Important points to remember before and after getting a tattoo?

  • Avoid alcohol a day before tattoo, stay hydrated as much as you can before getting a tattoo.

  • Eat simple food, make sure your eat healthy and your stomach is full. Avoid food which may cause unease later.

  • Keep drinking juices and water, have snacks at regular intervals while getting a tattoo (if your tattoo is big and will take more than 4 hours)

  • Do not consume recreational drugs before or after getting a tattoo.

  • You will experience much lesser pain if you stay hydrated and eaten well (not hungry)

  • If you are suffering from any disease, please consult your doctor before getting a tattoo.

  • Getting a tattoo from good tattoo artist is very important, check out this post - How to find the right tattoo artist for your tattoo

  • Tattoo takes approx 90 days to heal completely from inside out, however, it looks freshly healed within first 2 weeks, don’t confuse yourself with that outcome as your tattoo, it will still undergo through lot of healing changes.

  • Tattoo may develop transparent white patches within 7 days of healing, don’t panic, think it as a baby skin, its very new and fresh and it's still healing.

  •  Tattoo can never look as dark as it looked on the day one, you will see at last 20 percent faded colours once it is coldly healed. Reason for this is, when you get it done, the ink is filled in on all the layers of skin, however while healing, only the third layer will hold the pigment and rest will replace itself with new cells. Newly formed layers are not completely transparent, and thats why you see difference between fresh and healed tattoo.

Important points to remembe
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