(Beauty Report Card)

I’ve Finally Got My Tattoo Aftercare Routine Down Pat Thanks To These Products

With some expert help.

Annie Blay
Tattoo aftercare

I’ve always known I wanted a tattoo since I was a child — I found them so cool and mesmerizing aesthetically, and even more interesting that people could share bits of their stories and personalities through body art. I finally got my first one earlier this year, and in the midst of excitement and anticipation, I totally neglected to think about tattoo aftercare and how to treat my skin post needle. When you think about it, getting a tattoo is basically creating tiny little injuries on your skin, so how you recover deserves as much thought and intention as treating any other skin-related wound. Luckily my first tattoo healed well after following the basic instructions given to me by my artist — mainly to keep it dry, avoid very hot water on the area, and to use a petroleum-based ointment to moisturize.

I do eventually want another tattoo and want to be better-versed on what steps to take after my session to ensure a smooth healing journey. Luckily I had the opportunity to speak with renowned tattoo artist Mira Mariah, aka GirlKnewYork, who has tattooed the likes of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson. “Keep your tattoo bandages six to 12 hours after your appointment, clean with antibacterial soap and water, and apply a thin layer of Avène’s Cicalfate+ Hydrating Skin Recovery Emulsion generously the first time, and just a little bit frequently following that,” Mariah tells me. “Make sure to clean your tattoo twice a day and keep it moisturized and out of the sun!”

Annie Blay

With an improved wealth of knowledge on tattoo aftercare, here are all the products I’ll be leaning on to make sure my next one heals nicely and stays bright and crisp for years to come.

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PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50 2.4oz
According to Dr. Elizabeth Hale, a board-certified dermatologist and SVP of the Skin Cancer Foundation, "inks, in general, degrade over time, and ultraviolet exposure can accelerate the breakdown of pigment” which can cause tattoo to fade. Wearing SPF on the area of your new tattoo can help prevent blistering from exposure to sunlight. On older tattoos, wearing sunscreen can help your ink look fresher, longer.