Before the application of healing ointments and creams comes the bandage or wrap on the tattoo. For these, the removal time differs, and we explained it all right here.
The tattooing process is amazing every single time, regardless of the pain on different body parts. But, this process is not all fun and games, and you should focus exclusively fully on the aftercare because once the artist has done his job, you now must take care of the tattoo.
The aftercare is crucial for proper and nice healing of the tattoo, and the immediate, short-term aftercare step is the wrapping or bandaging of the tattoo. The artist will insert some sort of protective layer over the tattoo, but you will have to remove it and continue the aftercare at home.
So, you probably want to know when is the right time to remove this protective layer?
How long should you keep your new tattoo wrapped?
There are two main types of protective layers for tattoos; a tattoo wrap, and a tattoo bandage.
The tattoo wrap is kept for no more than a few hours, or more precisely until you arrive home after the tattoo session. Once you arrive home, you should immediately remove the wrap, cleanse, and apply healing ointment. The wrap is not kept for longer, because its purpose is to just protect your clothes from leaking blood and ink and to protect the freshly traumatized skin from friction with the clothes.
The tattoo bandage, or also known as tattoo adhesive bandage is kept for a maximum of 4 days. This type of bandage is self-adhesive, and it is worn for 4 days to heal the tattoo initially. After those 4 days, it is removed by a peeling movement, and followed by ointment applications a few times daily.
Read also: The Best Tattoo Aftercare Bandage
What is a tattoo wrap?
A tattoo wrap is a material that we all know and has seen in everyday life – it is the commonly used kitchen transparent wrap seen in every household. This is the type of wrap that is removed immediately upon arriving home after the tattoo session.
Its only purpose is to prevent the messy leakage of lymph, ink residue, and blood – because the tattoo will most likely ooze these right after the session. This type of wrap is not intended to be kept for more than a few hours. When you remove it, you will notice how easy it is to do so – it will simply glide off the tattoo, and uncover a slimy, moist tattoo underneath. Next, just wash the tattoo, and apply the ointment.
What is a tattoo bandage?
The tattoo bandage, otherwise known as tattoo adhesive bandage is a special medical-approved grade bandage that is adhesive on one side, and matte on the other (the outer side). This bandage keeps the tattoo safe from pollutants, dirt, any germs or bacteria that could contact your skin, and so on. It is an upgraded type of healing for tattoos because it requires no ointment in the first 4 days while you wear it, and lets the tattoo heal by itself initially.
The ointment you apply after those first 4 days will be just routine applications to retain the nice nurturing of the ointment – the main healing is done under that bandage! What makes this bandage so amazing is that when you remove it, the crusty residue (copied on the inside of the bandage) comes off – the same residue that would otherwise dry, crack, and peel during the first days of not wearing such a bandage!
The tattoo bandage or adhesive bandage is a very practical, and upgraded, modern way to heal a tattoo. There are still some artists who avoid using it, and this is also ok, but with it, the healing is more practical.
When you use Saniderm medical-grade adhesive bandages you get more vibrant colors and darker blacks. Saniderm does this by locking in the moisture your body needs to heal quickly, reduce peeling, and eliminate dryness and scabbing on your tattoo.
For example, this is a– renowned, secure, proven to work as a wonder for effective healing of tattoos. The sensitivity will be lessened, the peeling almost to a minimum after the removal, the skin is healthy all through this wearing process, and the colors will stay intact and perfect once this is removed! And, if you are allergic to latex and similar components, no worries, this is latex-free. Another should be also waterproof and promotes fast and safe tattoo healing. It prevents any bacteria to penetrate beneath the layer, while it also allows for breathability in a specific way.
How to remove the wrap or the bandage from a tattoo?
The removal of the plain, basic tattoo wrap is as simple as it can be. You just need to wash your hands, and unwrap this household wrap – that is all. It will be moist, it will have fluids like ink residue and blood or lymph fluid, but it goes directly in the trash can after the removal.
How to remove the transparent adhesive?
When the first 4 days (counting the day when you got the tattoo) have passed, it is time to remove the adhesive bandage. The procedure is not complex, and there are just a few basic and simple things to keep in mind.
This adhesive wrap does not glide off – instead, it will feel like you slowly ‘peel off’ this transparent layer, and this peeling off itself is not the fastest thing in the world! Most artists recommend getting in the shower while you remove it, or simply have lukewarm water, not too rough a stream, flowing over the adhesive bandage while you peel it off.
The lukewarm water will soothe the skin and make it feel ‘moist’ and cozy during this one minute-procedure. Once you remove it, the whole adhesive should have the tattoo copied on the inside! This ‘copy’ of your tattoo is all the residue and slimy lymph that would otherwise mess up your clothes in the first few hours after the tattooing.
By now, the tattoo should be almost all healed, and you should keep up with the ointment for a few more days, 2-3 times per day, just a tiny dollop, to nurture the skin as regular skincare.
Can I re-wrap the tattoo again after the first removal?
No, no need for this. It is not necessary, even if the tattoo heals well with more re-wrapping, you just invest more effort into the wrapping sessions, and the outcome is the same, regardless of the wrapping. If anything, you just suffocate the tattoo and don’t let the skin breathe under that layer. Once the oozing of fluids, blood, and ink stop, you should just cleanse the tattoo 1-2 times per day (for example when you’re in the shower), and apply healing ointment cream.
The oozing is most intense in the first few hours after the session, and it could continue minimally up to the end of the first 24 hours, but by the next morning, there will be minimal oozing. So, let the skin breathe, cleanse it nicely and gently, and apply the cream regularly circa every 3 hours – that is all you need unless you wear a tattoo bandage, which in that case does not require any rewrappings or creams in the first 4 days. Even after you remove this bandage, no wrapping is needed.
Can I shower when I wear a tattoo bandage?
Of course! This is the best part about healing the tattoo with such a bandage. It is waterproof and heals the tattoo on its own, so you can freely hop in the shower whenever and as much as you want, as long as you don’t rub that area with sponges, or soap, or similar. Leave it be, and shower the rest of the body as usual.
What if I remove the tattoo bandage too early or too late?
As a rule of thumb, the bandage should not be removed earlier than at least 3 days, 4 is optimal, but always wait at least 72 hours before peeling it off. Much earlier than this could still pose a risk for germs touching the relatively open and sensitive pores, so please avoid this as much as you can.
Longer than 4 days is not necessary, because you will notice how the bandage starts to lift at the edges by day 4, and the tattoo will ‘signal’ by itself that it is time to remove this and enjoy a healed tattoo!
Pay good attention to the aftercare, because your artist won’t be there at home with you to signal you like an alarm about the right time for removing wraps, bandages, or applying creams. You can call him up and consult in case you forgot something, but all the effort at home is on you!
You need to remember; if you had a plain wrap applied, remove it in the first few hours at home, and continue with the creams. And, if you had a tattoo bandage, wait for full 3 to 4 days, peel it off gently under a lukewarm water stream (for more comfort), and continue with creams, but not too excessively – just as regular skincare sort of.
Do not forget the timeframes for these rules and good luck!
Read also: The Best Tattoo Gloves for Tattoo Artists