What Are the Best Tips for Tattoo Removal Aftercare?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Hot tubs and pools should be avoided for at least 48 hours following the removal of a tattoo to prevent infection.
Hot tubs and pools should be avoided for at least 48 hours following the removal of a tattoo to prevent infection.

After getting a tattoo removed, it is important to practice good tattoo removal aftercare. Any reputable doctor who performs tattoo removal services will provide patients with written and oral aftercare instructions. Typically, the major considerations in tattoo removal aftercare are reducing patient discomfort, protecting the affected area from irritation or infection, and providing further protection to the area against sun exposure for the next several months. Anyone who undergoes the removal procedure should also be aware of symptoms that may indicate complications that need medical attention. The symptoms include bleeding, oozing, and high discomfort levels.

Wearing sunscreen when outdoors is important after tattoo removal.
Wearing sunscreen when outdoors is important after tattoo removal.

While laser tattoo removal is typically considered to be a safe and low-risk procedure, it does result in a significant burn on the place where the tattoo was removed. Initially, patients will need to practice good tattoo removal aftercare in order to manage the pain from the burn and to encourage its healing. To deal with discomfort, a patient may wish to take an over-the-counter painkiller as recommended by her doctor, though some doctors caution against taking aspirin. Patients may also be instructed to apply an antibiotic ointment regularly to the affected area and may also be offered the option of holding cool compresses against the site in order to reduce pain.

The skin where a tattoo was remove can become burned afterwards.
The skin where a tattoo was remove can become burned afterwards.

Other tips for tattoo removal aftercare include protecting the site from irritation. Patients are typically asked to not apply any substances, including creams or cosmetics, to the area for at least 48 hours after the procedure unless, of course, their doctor has instructed them to do so. While it is acceptable to shower during the recovery period, patients should avoid submerging the affected area in bathtubs, swimming pools, or hot tubs, as this can result in infection. Blistering is normal following a laser tattoo removal, and it is important to not pick at or disturb any blisters or scabs that form on the tattoo site.

Some patients are told to apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area following tattoo removal.
Some patients are told to apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area following tattoo removal.

Following tattoo removal, skin can be very sensitive to the sun. It is important to protect this area from the sun's rays for several months after the procedure in order to reduce the risk of sunburn and sun damage. This typically means keeping the area covered by clothing as much as possible and wearing a high SPF sunscreen while outdoors. In addition, patients should make sure that they continually reapply the sunscreen if they are outside for significant periods of time as part of their tattoo removal aftercare regimen.

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Discussion Comments

anon348586

I like how you say to avoid baths and hot tubs after a tattoo removal procedure, since this can cause infection. It's good to use a cool compress on the site as well.

serenesurface

Ice can be too much, but a clean, wet washcloth is very good for burning and swelling after microdermabrasion tattoo removal. After surgical tattoo removal, the first layer of skin is basically removed and burns like crazy.

stoneMason

@ZipLine-- Yes, you can use aloe vera gel. I did too after my tattoo removal. Just make sure that it's pure aloe vera gel.

Tattoo removal with laser takes courage. It's very painful. Are you taking oral pain relievers? I was taking pain relievers the whole time during my treatment. I used to wash the tattoo with fragrance free soap and then alternate between antibiotic cream and aloe vera gel.

ZipLine

Can I apply aloe vera gel after a tattoo removal?

I had mine removed two days ago with laser and I have been following my doctor's directions. I keep the area clean and apply antibiotic ointment to it. But my skin feels very hot and painful and the ointment is not helping with that.

I know that aloe vera gel is used on burns too cool the skin, so I thought it would be good after a tattoo removal a well. Has anyone tried it? Is it safe during laser tattoo removal aftercare?

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    • Hot tubs and pools should be avoided for at least 48 hours following the removal of a tattoo to prevent infection.
      By: emf_images
      Hot tubs and pools should be avoided for at least 48 hours following the removal of a tattoo to prevent infection.
    • Wearing sunscreen when outdoors is important after tattoo removal.
      By: Maridav
      Wearing sunscreen when outdoors is important after tattoo removal.
    • The skin where a tattoo was remove can become burned afterwards.
      By: Wissmann Design
      The skin where a tattoo was remove can become burned afterwards.
    • Some patients are told to apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area following tattoo removal.
      By: agephotography
      Some patients are told to apply antibiotic ointment to the affected area following tattoo removal.
    • The location of where the tattoo was will dictate the aftercare regimen.
      By: shime
      The location of where the tattoo was will dictate the aftercare regimen.
    • One should avoid direct sun exposure for several months following tattoo removal.
      By: Liv Friis-larsen
      One should avoid direct sun exposure for several months following tattoo removal.