Tattoo after care is so important. You’ve spent all this time, money and pain on your new tattoo, so let’s focus on keeping it looking amazing. Plus of course a new tattoo is essentially an open wound, and needs to be taken care of to avoid an infection.

With quality products and correct maintenance, you can avoid any scarring, colour loss, or infection while your tattoo heals, and keep your tattoo looking like the work of art it was meant to be!

Tattoo after care starts immediately

After care starts as soon as your tattoo is done. Your artist will apply a thin layer of petroleum ointment over the tattoo, and then cover the area in a bandage or plastic wrap. This covering prevents bacteria from getting into your skin. It also protects the tattoo from rubbing on your clothes and getting irritated. 

This cover should be removed after about three to four hours. After you’ve removed the bandage, wash your tattoo in cold water using a specially formulated tattoo cleanser such as Dr Pickles Foaming Tattoo Wash. Use your hands (not a wash cloth) and gently remove all traces of blood so it doesn’t scab; but don’t re-bandage the tattoo. The air will now help it to heal.

Healing time

A tattoo will take up to 14 days to heal, and during this time it is crucial to keep it clean, dry and moisturised. There’s a few key do’s and don’ts when it comes to tattoo after care:


– cover your tattoo with sunblock until it’s fully healed

– scratch or pick at the tattoo

– pull off flaking skin – you risk pulling out ink also. Let the skin fall off naturally.

– wear tight clothing over the tattoo.

– go swimming or immerse your body in water (showers are fine)


– remove the bandage about 3 hours after your tattoo

– use a good quality tattoo balm, particularly one that’s made with natural ingredients

– moisturise with your tattoo balm 4-6 times per day 

– see a doctor if you have any concerns with the skin around your tattoo

Choose your products

It’s easy to fall into the trap of using cheap products on your tattoo – or none at all. But when you consider that body art is an investment for life, it’s worth using a quality after care balm.

Dr Pickles tattoo after care products are a combination of natural ingredients and are all vegan except for the Dr Pickles Original Formula which has a hint of bees wax inside. 

Made from fermented paw paw (Carica Papaya), coupled with hydrating D-Panthenol, Dr Pickles Original Formula Tattoo Balm is a moisture rich natural antiseptic that creates the perfect climate for a tattoo to heal and retain its original vibrancy. 

Dr Pickles products are available at all leading tattoo studios, in Woolworths Supermarkets Nationally and online at  –  In addition, the recommended tattoo after care products include a moisturising paw paw tattoo balm and foam wash (choice of peppermint or citrus and hemp oil infused).

Visit Dr Pickles website for more products, and tips on caring for your tattoo.