Wrapping the tattoo is a specific thing, but should you do it before sleeping? When and how? Let us clarify all about tattoo wrapping before sleeping.
After you get a new tattoo, it is normal to manifest a strange behavior and be even too worried overall. You start questioning what is the right thing to do and enable better healing?
Or you wonder; should I wrap a tattoo at night before bed?
We can try to answer every possible confusion about new tattoos, their aftercare when it comes to breathability or wrapping them, and similar issues on your mind. It is better to ask and find out than to make a mistake and hinder good tattoo healing.
Should I Wrap My New Tattoo Before Bed?
The concise answer is no.
The tattoo must breathe, and any sort of removable wrapping that easily glides off will suffocate the skin and keep the moisture locked in the tattoo, which is not good for the healing and slows it down. Such moisture-locking will also prevent healthy scabs to form before the final healing.
If there has to be some sort of wrapping, to avoid stains on linens or clothes, the only acceptable ones are the transparent medical-approved films that are also accepted and used as official tattoo aftercare.
Read also: Best Tattoo Aftercare Bandage
What happens if I wrap the tattoo with regular kitchen plastic wrap
This type of wrapping will only suffocate the skin and is not intended to be worn for more than a few hours. This means that the artist, once done with the session, will put ointment on the fresh tattoo and wrap it with such a foil (in most cases).
When you arrive home, you remove it, cleanse/shower, and let the tattoo breathe.
Keeping this foil will not be sustainable anyways. By the time you go to bed that night, there will be a lot of residues, natural debris, lymph fluids, and remains of gooey blood that will moisten the foil wrap and glide it off, whether you want this or not.
Even if you re-wrap in the same way with a clean, new section of kitchen wrap plastic foil, it will only harm the tattoo. The skin won’t be able to breathe the first night, which is crucial especially since the skin is traumatized, swollen, red and warm.
Should I wrap my tattoo every night in the first few days?
No. If your tattoo is not wrapped with a tattoo bandage, there is nothing you should do, even in that case too. Once you arrive home after the session, remove the plastic wrap, shower and cleanse, apply the ointment the artist recommended, and wear loose clothes. And, rest.
Can I re-wrap my tattoo with bandage film?
No. The whole point of the tattoo bandages is to protect the tattoo from pollutants, heal it with the specific layer on the inside of this bandage, and still let it breathe healthily. These bandages are intended to be worn for not more than 4 days. After this time, you will gently remove the foil and there won’t even be the need for frequent applications of ointment.
Lift the edges, but the area under lukewarm water to avoid the feeling of ‘peeling a layer, and that is all.
How to avoid stains on the linens or clothes before going to bed?
If we talk about the gooey liquids, there is no magical way to avoid this, at least not in the first 48 hours of the tattoo session. Within 2 days, the oozing of residue and lymph stops, and only then the tattoo starts to slowly settle and stop oozing. During this time, you only apply ointment and do not wipe off bodily liquids.
But, if we talk about avoiding ointment stains, sadly, there is no way to do this. You may avoid stains, but this means not applying ointment, which is by default a big no. Would you value clean linens and clothes more than the healing of a tattoo? The clothes and linens will go in the laundry anyway, but can you repair a badly healed tattoo in the future? Not unless with a cover-up or touch-up.
Can I use the tattoo wrap in meetings or other events
In this case, it would be perhaps acceptable if it’s an extreme case or situation, but in all honesty, wrapping AFTER the session, by yourself – not a good idea!
In such cases, before you put on clothes, apply the thinnest, most discrete, and minimal layer of the ointment. Such a thin layer won’t stain the clothes, will ‘last’ for a few hours tops, or in other words, enough to last until you get the first chance to change clothes and apply more ointment. Just try not to leave the tattoo fully and completely dry under the formal clothes! Both the clothes and the tattoo will do just fine, even with just a minimal thin ointment layer.
If not wrapping the tattoo before bed can I use ointment during the night?
This is a valid question and makes sense to ask it because the wrapping is out of the question, but this would mean the ointment copies on the bed linens or sleeping outfits.
So, the answer is – no need for ointment at night during sleep, perhaps it is not even possible either. Noone would set alarms every 2-3 hours to wake up and apply ointment, nor should they.
It is enough to give your best efforts at good tattoo aftercare while you are awake.
Is it possible that tattoo wraps or bandages cause a skin reaction?
No. They are intended for short-term or medium-term wearing over the tattoo, and especially the bandage film is created for promoting healing that is not messy at the same time.
Can I at least apply a tattoo wrap before exercise?
No wrap before exercise, and while at it, no exercise at all! Within the first week or two tops, exercise is out of the question. This period depends on how fast your skin regenerates after any kind of superficial trauma, but give or take, between 7 and 10 days is the window of tattoo rest.
After 7 to 10 days, you can notice if the skin is already scabbed fully or not. You will know when it’s time to work out again.
Does the tattoo itch and peel? Are there still more scabs to be formed? If you answered yes to both, postpone any exercises or similar (tanning, swimming, etc.)
I did not wrap my tattoo before bed and woke up with my clothes stuck to the crusty dried residue
This is common, in fact, almost everyone goes through this on the first night of the fresh tattoo. With a wrap, the tattoo doesn’t breathe, but without it, the lymph oozing during the night makes it tough in the morning to take off the clothes there.
If the clothes are too stuck with the dried lymph, you worry, understandably, that pulling the clothes will damage the tattoo, remove its initial crust and hurt a lot. Don’t be. Instead, go in the shower, run lukewarm water over that clothed area (yes, you have to), and only then remove the piece of clothing. The clothes will dry, no worries. This is better than ripping off the first delicate scabs and damaging the tattoo.
To conclude, you should not wrap the tattoo before sleeping! Let it breathe, the traumatized skin needs proper gentle cleansing and application of healing ointments, nothing else.
No wraps, no suffocation of the skin, no exercises or vacations for at least 1-2 weeks before you slowly incorporate the normal daily habits and activities.
If you have a tattoo bandage, that is another story, and it is ok for 4 days tops.
At night the tattoo might stain your clothes or bed linens, but this is way more favorable than improper tattoo healing and bumpy, moist skin that won’t scab as much!