The Complete Guide to Blackout Tattoo Aftercare

Blackout Tattoo Aftercare

Blackout tattoos have exploded in popularity in recent years as people embrace the bold, artistic aesthetic of covering large areas of skin completely in dark ink. But for all their striking visual impact, blackout tattoos require diligent aftercare during healing to avoid complications and look their absolute best.

So what is the proper way to care for a fresh blackout tattoo? The key steps include gently cleaning the tattoo 1-2 times daily, patting dry, applying unscented moisturizer, letting scabs naturally fall off, and avoiding picking or scratching during initial healing. Proper aftercare keeps the tattoo clean and hydrated during the sensitive healing phase.

In this comprehensive guide, we will cover everything you need to know about blackout tattoo aftercare. You’ll learn key techniques for cleaning and moisturizing, what to expect as your tattoo heals, signs of infection to watch for, how to care for it between sessions, results you can expect with proper aftercare, and more. Let’s get started!

Step-by-Step Cleaning and Moisturizing Instructions

Meticulous cleaning and moisturizing is critical for new blackout tattoo aftercare. Follow these steps:

  • Gently wash the tattoo 1-2 times daily using mild antibacterial soap and warm water. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
  • Rinse thoroughly, then gently pat dry with clean paper towels. Do not rub the tattoo.
  • Apply a thin layer of fragrance-free moisturizer 1-2 times daily after cleaning. Unscented lotion works well.
  • Allow any scabs or dead skin to naturally slough off during cleaning sessions. Never peel or pick them off.

Pro Tip: Wear loose, breathable clothing over the tattoo instead of using bandages which could stick.

What to Expect During the Healing Process

During the 2-3 week initial healing process, you may notice:

  • Scabbing/Peeling – A layer of scabbing is normal and will begin falling off after 2-3 weeks. Never pick at scabs before then.
  • Itchiness – As skin regenerates, mild itching and dryness are common. Do not scratch and keep moisturized.
  • Fading – The deep black will lighten slightly as healing progresses. Your artist can touch up if needed.
  • Shiny Appearance – The tattoo may look glossy at first. This will fade as healing continues. Don’t try to peel this surface layer off.
  • Slight Thickening of Skin – This is due to trauma from the tattooing. Properly moisturize to minimize hardening or scaling.

Signs of Infection to Watch For

While rare with proper aftercare, contact your doctor ASAP if you notice:

  • Redness, swelling, warmth beyond the tattoo site
  • Excessive discharge/oozing, foul odor
  • Fever or flu-like symptoms
  • Raised texture around the tattoo

Infections must be treated by a doctor before any further tattooing.

Caring for Peeling and Itching

It’s normal to experience some peeling skin and itching as your blackout tattoo heals. Manage these issues with:

  • Peeling – Let skin flakes naturally fall off during gentle washing sessions. Never peel off scabs or hanging skin before ready.
  • Itching – Apply moisturizer for relief. Avoid scratching the tattoo. Slap the area gently instead.

Aftercare Between Sessions for Large Pieces

For blackout tattoos completed over multiple sessions, wait 2-4 weeks between appointments for proper healing. Make sure:

  • All scabbing and peeling has fully completed before the next session.
  • The skin has recovered well from the last session before moving forward.
  • Discuss timing of future sessions with your artist based on healing progress.

Results You Can Expect with Proper Aftercare

By closely following the recommended aftercare regimen, you can expect your blackout tattoo to heal beautifully. However, keep these points in mind:

  • Some fading over time is inevitable. Moisturize consistently to help minimize early fading.
  • Avoid sun exposure which can fade dark tattoo ink. Use sunscreen once fully healed.
  • Occasional touch ups may be needed every few years depending on your skin and the tattoo design.
  • Follow your artist’s long-term care instructions for best results.


We hope this guide provided you with a comprehensive overview of how to properly care for a new blackout tattoo during the multi-week healing process. The keys points to remember are:

  • Gently cleanse and moisturize the tattoo multiple times daily.
  • Let peeling and scabbing happen naturally without picking.
  • Watch closely for signs of infection and see a doctor if concerned.
  • Wait until fully healed before attempting further sessions.
  • Expect some fading over time and schedule touch-ups accordingly.

With the right tattoo aftercare regimen, your striking blackout tattoo will heal beautifully and make a lasting impression for years to come!

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