When Can I Scrub My Tattoo? – A Guide to Caring for Your Tattoo

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Are you considering getting a tattoo, but wondering “when can I scrub my tattoo”? It’s important to understand the healing process before you put ink on your skin. This article will answer your most pressing questions about when you can and should scrub your tattoo. We’ll provide you with the information you need to ensure that your new ink heals properly and looks its best.




Tattoo: A form of body art, created by introducing ink into the dermis layer of the skin to change its pigment.

Scrubbing: The action of vigorously rubbing a surface with a brush or pad and soap or detergent to clean it.

Healing Process: The process by which the body repairs itself after being injured. This process involves the production of new cells, which replace the damaged cells. In the case of a tattoo, the healing process involves the formation of a scab over the tattoo, which gradually peels away to reveal the artwork beneath.

Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoo Aftercare

What to Avoid

Scrubbing your tattoo for the first few months is a big no-no. Doing so can cause severe damage to the ink and can lead to infection and fading. Avoid soaking your tattoo in water for long periods of time, as this can also cause fading. Refrain from picking or scratching at the tattoo, as this can also damage the ink.

What to Do

Clean the tattoo regularly with lukewarm water and a mild, fragrance-free soap and pat, rather than rub, it dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Apply a thin layer of ointment or moisturizer to the tattoo and massage it in gently. Be sure to use a product that is specifically designed for tattoos and free of fragrances and dyes.

How Long Should You Wait to Scrub Your Tattoo?

How Long Should You Wait To Scrub Your Tattoo?

It is important to wait the appropriate amount of time before scrubbing your tattoo to ensure the healing process is not disrupted. Generally speaking, it is recommended to wait at least two weeks before scrubbing your tattoo. During this initial healing period, it is important to keep your tattoo clean and hydrated to prevent infection and ensure the ink remains intact.

The two-week timeframe is a general guideline, and the exact amount of time you should wait will depend on the size and depth of the tattoo, as well as the individual’s healing process. If the tattoo is small and shallow, you may be able to start scrubbing sooner. However, if the tattoo is large and deep, it may take longer to heal and you will need to wait longer before scrubbing.

It is important to be gentle when scrubbing your tattoo, as it is still in the healing process. Use a clean, soft cloth and a mild, fragrance-free soap to gently scrub the tattoo. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials. Once you have scrubbed the tattoo, rinse the area with lukewarm water and pat it dry with a clean towel.

Once the tattoo has healed completely, it is important to continue to keep it clean and moisturized. This will help to prevent infection as well as help to keep the colors vibrant. Regularly clean and moisturize your tattoo as part of your daily skin care routine.

Remember: Wait at least two weeks before scrubbing your tattoo and always be gentle when cleaning the area.

What Should You Scrub With?

What Should You Scrub With?

When scrubbing your tattoo, you should use either a mild, unscented soap or a dedicated tattoo wash. These soaps and washes are designed to be gentle on your skin and contain minimal chemicals and fragrances. When selecting a soap, it is important to confirm that it does not contain any harsh ingredients, such as alcohol, fragrance, or preservatives, which can damage the tattoo and irritate the skin. Additionally, avoid scrubbing with a washcloth as this can cause damage to the tattoo.

To ensure that you are cleaning your tattoo effectively and properly, it is important to always use clean tools for scrubbing. This includes using a new, disposable cloth or paper towel for each scrubbing session and using a fresh pair of disposable gloves when washing your hands.

The following table outlines some products you can use to scrub your tattoo:

Product Description
Mild, unscented soap A mild, unscented soap that is gentle on the skin and contains minimal chemicals and fragrances.
Dedicated tattoo wash A specially formulated wash designed to be gentle on the skin and contain minimal chemicals and fragrances.
Clean tools Disposable cloth or paper towel and fresh pair of disposable gloves for each scrubbing session.

What If I Have an Unusual Tattoo?

What If I Have An Unusual Tattoo?

  • Unusual Tattoo Designs: Unusual tattoo designs can come in many forms, from abstract artwork to geometric shapes and symbols. Some people opt for a unique tattoo design to commemorate a special event or person, while others may just want something different to express their individual style.
  • Tattoo Care: Tattoos that are unique and complex will require extra special care and attention. The tattoo artist will likely need to use a wider variety of inks, colors, and techniques to create the desired design. As a result, it’s important to follow the artist’s instructions for aftercare.
  • Protection: Unusual tattoos may require extra protection from the sun to prevent fading, so it’s important to apply sunscreen regularly. Additionally, the tattoo may need to be covered up with clothing when in direct sunlight.
  • When to Scrub: Most unusual tattoos should be scrubbed in the shower after 48 hours of healing. Scrubbing too soon may cause the tattoo to become irritated, so it’s important to let the design heal before scrubbing.

What Should I Do If My Tattoo Becomes Infected?

What Should I Do If My Tattoo Becomes Infected?

  • Be prepared to take action. It’s important to identify an infection in its early stages and take the necessary steps to treat it. If your tattoo becomes red and swollen, itches, oozes pus, or feels hot to the touch, you may have an infection.
  • See a doctor. A doctor can confirm if your tattoo is infected and prescribe antibiotics as needed. If you don’t have a regular doctor, you can find one online or through a local clinic.
  • Clean the area. Clean the infected area twice a day with warm, soapy water and a gentle cleanser. Don’t use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, as they can irritate the skin.
  • Apply an antibiotic ointment. Your doctor may recommend an antibiotic ointment to help reduce infection. Apply the ointment several times a day for a few days, or until the infection clears up.
  • Keep the area dry. Make sure to keep the area dry and open to the air. Don’t cover the infected area with clothing or a bandage.
  • Don’t scrub the area. Scrubbing the area can irritate the skin and make the infection worse. Instead, gently clean the area with warm, soapy water.

What If I Don’t Like My Tattoo?

If you don’t like the tattoo you got, you are not alone. Many people get tattoos that they later regret. Unfortunately, the best way to remove a tattoo is to have it professionally lasered off. This can be expensive and time consuming, so it is important to take the time to find an artist whose style you like before getting inked.

Tattoo Cover-Ups

If you don’t want to go through the laser removal process, you can opt for a tattoo cover-up. This involves having an artist draw a new design over your existing tattoo, essentially masking the original design. It is important to choose an experienced artist who is familiar with tattoo cover-ups, as they can be quite challenging.

Tattoo Removal Creams

Tattoo removal creams are also available, but they are not as effective as laser removal or cover-ups. These creams work by breaking down the ink molecules, but they can take months to work and may not be effective on darker, more saturated tattoos.

Consult a Professional

If you don’t like your tattoo, it is best to consult a professional for advice. They can discuss your options and help you decide the best course of action.

Option Pros Cons
Laser Removal Quick and effective Expensive and time consuming
Tattoo Cover-Up Can be used to create a new design Requires experienced artist
Tattoo Removal Creams Inexpensive May not be effective on darker tattoos

No matter what you decide, make sure you research your options thoroughly and consult with a professional before making a decision.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Should I Wait to Scrub My Tattoo?

It is important to wait at least two weeks before scrubbing your new tattoo. During this time, you should be taking extra care of your new tattoo by:

  • Keeping it covered with a loose bandage for at least the first 24 hours.
  • Applying an ointment or moisturizer several times throughout the day.
  • Keeping the area clean and dry.
  • Avoiding direct sunlight and swimming.
  • Avoiding activities that will cause excessive sweating.

After two weeks, you can start to gently scrub the tattoo with a mild soap. You should be very gentle, as scrubbing too hard can damage the skin and weaken the colors of your tattoo. After washing, use a very light moisturizer to protect the skin.

What Type of Soap Should I Use?

It is important to use a mild, fragrance-free, and dye-free soap. You should also make sure that the soap is designed for sensitive skin, as regular soaps might contain harsh ingredients that can irritate your tattooed skin. Some of the best soaps for tattoo care are:

  • Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser
  • Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Cleanser
  • Eucerin Ultra Sensitive Cleansing Gel
  • CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser

These soaps are designed to be gentle on your skin and are free of many of the harsh chemicals that can potentially irritate your tattoo.

Are there any risks associated with scrubbing my tattoo?

Yes, there are risks associated with scrubbing a tattoo. Excessive scrubbing can lead to irritation, infection, and even fading of the tattoo ink. It is important to be gentle when scrubbing a tattoo and to use a mild soap and lukewarm water. It is also important to avoid scrubbing the tattoo too frequently, as this could cause damage to the skin and the tattoo design.

Will the Process of Scrubbing My Tattoo Affect How it Looks?

Scrubbing your tattoo too aggressively can cause the ink to fade and blur, so it is important to be gentle when scrubbing your tattoo. If you are too rough, it can also lead to infection. Gentle scrubbing with a soft cloth and a mild cleanser is all that is needed to keep your tattoo looking as fresh as possible.

How often should I scrub my tattoo?

Once a day is the general rule when it comes to cleaning and scrubbing your tattoo. You should use a mild, fragrance-free soap and warm water to gently scrub your tattoo in a circular motion. Make sure to rinse off all soap thoroughly. Do not use a loofah or any other abrasive material, as this can damage the skin and affect the healing of your tattoo.


It is important to follow the aftercare instructions given by your artist for the best results and to ensure your tattoo’s longevity. Scrubbing a tattoo before the healing process is complete can lead to infection and can cause the tattoo to heal poorly. Generally, it is recommended to wait at least 2 weeks before scrubbing your new tattoo. Pay attention to the healing process and when it is complete, you can start using a mild soap and warm water to scrub your tattoo.


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