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    Everything You Need To Know About Healing Your New Tattoo

    The hardest part may be over, but here's how to make sure your new ink heals to perfection.

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    So, you've got a new tattoo. Hooray, you did it!

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    Now it's time to make sure it heals well — after all, you didn't sit still in a chair while needles poked relentless at your skin just to wind up with a cruddy tattoo because you didn't care for it properly!

    Different artists may recommend different after-care instructions — and you may find that some products work better for you than others do. Here's a rundown of some of the best products for ensuring your tattoo heals quickly.

    Cait Opperman / BuzzFeed

    But remember: Always ask your artist for their advice first!

    1. First off, you're gonna want to wash your new ink with a mild antibacterial soap for a few weeks — ask any artist and they're likely to recommend Dial, which is pretty much a standard in the tattoo world.

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    Wash it with lukewarm water and make sure not to submerge it for at least a month (i.e., showers are fine, baths and swimming pools are not).

    Promising review: "Good for healing tattoos. This is the only stuff I use to wash my new tattoos. It contains fragrance according to the ingredients but it doesn't sting at all, it's actually really gentle. Highly recommend!" —Katelyn Whelan

    Get a 7.5 oz pump bottle and 52 oz refill from Amazon for $13.95.

    2. If you're very sensitive to even lightly scented products, though, you might want to try a totally fragrance-free soap, like this H2Ocean Blue Green Foam Soap.

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    The antibacterial soap is also vegan and paraben-free.

    Promising review: "Easy to use, does not sting, burn, very gentle to the sensitive tissue. This thing was a lifesaver for me after my tattoo. The product arrive just in time and lasted me probably 1.5 weeks with three times a day usage. I probably use more than others because of my half sleeve but I'm sure you can get more than two weeks out of this bottle with a smaller tattoo. Also, it meets TSA requirements! That alone is worth the five-star rating as I literally went on a plane to Disneyland a week after having my tattoo. Highly recommended, buy the bigger refill bottle as well." —Phigeta439

    Get the soap from Amazon for $6 or the full tattoo-care kit for $23.60.

    3. Depending on the size and intensity of the piece — and to prevent staining clothes or furniture — you may need to re-wrap your fresh tattoo for a few hours, so make sure to have some plastic wrap and waterproof medical tape on hand.

    David Bertozzi / BuzzFeed, amazon.com

    Just make sure to ask your artist for their advice first. I typically leave my new tattoo wrapped for no more than 12 hours or so, but some artists may advise wrapping it for the first few evenings just before bed. And don't be freaked out by lots of dried blood once you take the bandage off (like the photo of one of my tattoos the morning after getting inked, pictured left). It's totally normal. Blood means you are human. Hooray for not being a cyborg!

    Get the plastic wrap from Amazon for $3.99 and first-aid tape from Amazon for $2.93.

    4. Your artist will probably recommend using a thin layer of unscented ointment for the first few days, like Aquaphor.

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    Bonus: Aquaphor is also a renowned staple for dry or irritated skin, chapped lips, cracked cuticles, diaper rash, sunburn, and minor cuts and scrapes — so you'll benefit from having this in your medicine cabinet even long after your fresh tattoo has healed.

    Promising review: "I have used this for over 10 years and usually buy it in the tube. But this is double the size and much cheaper. It stays on all day and is perfect as your tattoo is healing." —Julie S. Roberts

    Get a 14 oz jar from Amazon for $11.29.

    5. Or you may opt for A+D ointment, which, in addition to the diaper-rash-treating abilities it's widely known for, is also an effective healing product for tattoos!

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    And, apparently, great for preventing flies from nipping at your dog? Talk about a multitasker.

    Promising review: "Works amaaaaaazing. I always used this for my tattoos and loved it. However, I was looking for something to put on my dog’s ear tips because he was being attacked by flies this summer. A friend said this worked great for her dog so I got it. My dogs ears haven’t been touched by a pesky fly since and his ears are cute and furry again!" —Ashley V.

    Get a 1 lb jar from from Amazon for $10.97.

    6. Hustle Butter Deluxe, a super-moisturizing, all-natural balm to help reduce swelling and irritation in the days following your new tattoo.

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    The past few times I've gotten tattooed, I've actually opted for this instead of the Aquaphor I've always used, and it's worked wonderfully! Some artists may also use this during the tattoo process as well, so you know it's legit. The balm is made with shea, mango, aloe butter, sunflower and rice bran oils; it's totally vegan and cruelty-free as well as free of parabens and petroleum. It's light, non-greasy, and keeps my skin from feeling irritated and itchy, plus it smells slightly coconutty, which I find extra delightful (but if you're coconut-averse, you may not).

    Promising review: "Let me start off by saying I've been getting tattooed since 2009. I've always used the same setup: medical antibacterial soap and Aquaphor. Never varied from that and I've never had an issue. With this latest addition to my arm sleeve, I had a terrible reaction to the Aquaphor. I broke out into a rash with itchy and burning hives. And I was desperate for something to cover this fresh tattoo with. I got tattooed on a Sunday and by Tuesday I was freaking out. I saw good reviews on this and I went for it. Hustle Butter. Holy. Crap. It's better than I imagined. Within hours my tattoo was feeling and looking much better. I haven't lost any ink, save the inking that always happens a few days post-tattooing. It looks incredible. It keeps my arm moisturized without a greasy film or transfer onto my clothes, which the Aquaphor always caused. And, the rash was completely gone after just one day of using it. It also has brightened up older sections of my arm which are colored. I'll never use anything again. Hustle Butter, you've got a lifetime customer now." —April B.

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99+ (available in two sizes).

    7. A few days after getting inked, your skin will start to peel and you'll want to keep it moisturized all day long with an unscented, simple moisturizer, like Lubriderm Daily Moisture or Aveeno Daily Moisture lotion.

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    As tempting as it may be, DON'T SCRATCH AT YOUR NEW TATTOO! That shit will be itchy as hell, but if you want it to look beautiful once it's fully healed, just let it peel on its own, and make sure to keep it continuously moisturized with a fragrance-free lotion. This stage will be over soon enough!

    Promising review: "[Lubriderm is] my go-to when I’m healing tattoos. I hate unscented lotions, because they have a weird smell to me, but this one works so well! Especially when healing large pieces. This keeps your skin moisturized for quite awhile without a mess!" —LK

    Get a 24 oz pump bottle of Lubriderm from Amazon for $6.74 or get a travel-friendly three-pack of 3 oz. tubes for $10.20; get an 18 oz. pump bottle of Aveeno from Amazon for $5.50.

    8. If you want to go all the all-natural route, you could also consider using vitamin E oil to aid in the healing process.

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    Some may also choose to use coconut oil or tea tree oil, or a mixture of two oils to hydrate and protect tattooed skin.

    Promising review: "I’m using this [vitamin E oil] as well as coconut oil to help a tattoo heal. It’s working well! My skin is very soft so I’m spreading it to other parts of my body so the bottle is disappearing quickly but that’s because I’m being very generous with it. It’s thick so I use the dropper but I’m quick to have my hand next to the top of the bottle to prevent dropping or messiness. Will be ordering again soon!" —Icey87

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99

    9. You'll also want to think about protect any clothing (and bedding!) you care about from ink and blood stains during the first few days. Wearing black clothing made with a breathable fabric is a good idea, like this 100% cotton T-shirt and pair of joggers.

    amazon.com, amazon.com

    Promising review: "Perfect. Soft and breathable. Even properly fits my long torso. And a great price!" —Mandi

    Get the shirt from from Amazon for $3.65+ (available in women's sizes S-3XL and in 30 colors) or a six-pack from Amazon for $20.42+ (available in men's sizes S-4XL and in 24 colors); get the joggers from Amazon for $14.99 (available in women's sizes S-2XL and in four colors) or $8.18 (available in men's sizes S-2XL and in six colors).

    10. And a Tattoo Goo Aftercare Kit, to keep your tattoo in tip-top shape during and even long after it's healed.

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    Includes Tattoo Goo salve, deep-cleansing soap and quick-penetrating lotion for moisturizing throughout the healing process, as well as Tattoo Goo Renew Lotion with SPF 30+ (sunscreen is key to keeping colors from fading!) to help revive older tattoos and keep them looking vibrant.

    Promising review: "When I got my most recent tattoo the artist recommended Tattoo Goo if I could find it. This one has healed with brighter colors than my last one that I used A&D ointment on. The Tattoo Goo salve allowed it to breath while still keeping it well hydrated. If you aren't sure you want the bundle, at least get this. After the first few days I switched to lotion but still used the thicker salve at night. I also loved how the cleansing soap didn't foam and rinsed easily. I was skeptical that the Tattoo Renew could make my two-year-old tattoo look any brighter but there is a noticeable difference. If I were to change anything it would be to increase the SPF to 50 instead of 30. I also loved that I could easily fit this in a medium-sized purse since I was on the go a lot in the week since getting the tattoo done. It also took only a very small amount of each product. Tattoo healed remarkably well with a lot less itching with this set compared to my first." —Kristen Houston

    Get it from Amazon for $13.98 (or get just the Tattoo Goo salve from Amazon for $5.96).

    Now go on and take a good long gaze at your beautifully healed tattoo!

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    Some reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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