Tattoo Tips

posted: 05/03/12
Select a Tattoo Tip:All About Aftercare

Ever wish you could have a consult with Miami Ink's leading lady?  Since we can't all hop on a plane and head South, we thought we'd bring Kat's expertise to you.


When caring for a new tattoo, avoid washing the area with soaps or lotions that contain lots of ingredients, especially fragrance.  Fragrance can irritate your skin or even cause you to have a more serious reaction. The least amount of chemicals you put on your tattoo, the better. Once the tattoo has healed, however, you can pretty much put anything on it!

Tattoo-care instructions vary from artist to artist. However, the bottom line is that if your tattoo is done correctly, very minimal aftercare is needed. Most aftercare instructions are designed to speed up the healing process. 

I usually recommend the following measures:

  • Remove your bandage, after an hour or so. Once the bandage is removed, gently hand-wash your tattoo with warm water and antibacterial soap.
  • Apply very thin coats of Aquaphor for the first five days. (You can find this fragrance-free ointment in the lotion section of any drug store.) You can apply the ointment two to three times a day. However, never oversaturate the tattoo.
  • Once the tattoo starts peeling lightly, you can switch to a non-fragrant white lotion.
  • Avoid the sun for first two weeks.
  • Avoid submerging your tattoo in any type of water for the first two weeks.
  • No picking or scratching at your tattoo.
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Tattoo by Ami James

The best type of tattoo for tanned or dark skin is one with the least amount of color. Most colors won't show up as bright on darker skin. 

Also, if you have a color tattoo and tan a lot, the color will most likely fade or dull out.  Red is the color that shows up best on tanned or dark skin. 

People with darker complexions should avoid tattoos with blue, purple and yellow.

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Tattoo by Chris Nuñez

In my opinion, your arm is the least painful place to get tattooed. However, pain tolerance varies from person to person.  I have noticed places that bend, such as elbows, wrists, the back of knees and armpits, are very sensitive.

It is also more painful to get a tattoo anywhere on your torso, including your stomach, ribs, and back, because the nerves branch off from your spine.

Overall, getting a tattoo ANYWHERE on your body hurts, but it hurts to get one in some places more than others.


Tattoos tend to hold up best over time in places on the body that don't get as much sun.  The sun is pretty much your worst enemy when it comes to your tattoos, and your skin in general.  It causes wrinkles, sun spots and will darken your tattoos.  The areas of your body that don't get as much exposure will most likely age better.

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