While stick and poke tattoos and machine ones differ in technique and style, they are both as permanent as one another and both involve an open wound by the end of the process. With this in mind, DIY tattoos require the same level of aftercare if you want to achieve the best results possible and avoid infection or problems you may have with your tattoo.

If you have received a tattoo from a professional artist before, you probably have a good idea of what you need to do to keep your tattoo looking fresh. If not, here are some basic stick and poke aftercare rules to keep in mind if you want to avoid infections.

Clean Your Stick and Poke Tattoo With Glycerin Soap

As mentioned above, a stick and poke tattoo creates an open wound that you must protect from bacteria during the healing process. To do this, you should cleanse it with non-chemical-based and unscented soap to minimize the risk of it getting irritated. Glycerin soap is gentle on the skin and hypoallergenic so you shouldn’t experience any discomfort using it.

Don’t Scrub Your Tattoo

You wouldn’t scrub a cut or injury, right? Well, the same goes for tattoos. Always use your hand to clean your tattoo. Using a brush, cloth, or any other material to scrub the tattoo will pull out some of the ink, leaving you in need of a touch up later on. Scrubbing it will also hurt a lot!

Once you’ve cleaned your new ink, pat it dry gently with a paper towel. Again, avoid using any form of cloth as these may contain harmful bacteria that could lead to an infection.

Apply a LIGHT Layer of Ointment to Your Tattoo

During the healing process, your tattoo is likely to peel slightly. For it to heal as best as possible, you want to minimize the peeling by using moisturizer. Similarly to your soap, avoid chemical-based and scented products. These will block your pores and won’t give your new tattoo the space to breathe.

Hustle Butter is a natural and organic alternative that can be used as a lubricant when you are tattooing. It’s also great to use as an aftercare ointment. It promotes healing as soon as it comes into contact with your skin and minimizes swelling and redness. Only apply a very thin layer to the skin to avoid clogging your pores.

Cover Your Tattoo With Protective Film

Once you’ve cleaned your tattoo and applied a thin layer of ointment, you should cover it with a protective film. Keep the protective bandage on for approximately 2 to 3 hours to protect it from bacteria. You can use cling film on your tattoo or alternatively, there are precut sheets of protective tattoo film now available to purchase online.

Don’t Pick!

It is completely normal for a scab to appear on your new stick and poke. It’s also possible for it to become itchy. But, whatever you do, fight the urge to pick it at all costs. Removing the layers of skin too early could lead to faded lines and in severe cases, scarring. Every time you get an inch, apply a very thin layer of your stick and poke aftercare balm to the area. This should subside some of the discomfort.

Continue Your Aftercare After Your Tattoo Has Healed

Even if your tattoo heals within just a few days, you should keep up your stick and poke aftercare routine for at least a week after getting your new ink. A DIY tattoo is permanent so you want to keep it looking as good as possible. Continue applying the aftercare balm at least once a day for seven days. Once the week is over and your tattoo looks completely healed, maintain good skin hygiene as well as a good skincare routine, using high-quality and preferably natural products.

Avoid Swimming and Direct Exposure to the Sun

Once the first week has passed and you’re happy with how your tattoo looks, you must still wait two to three weeks before going swimming. This includes all forms of bathing such as taking a bath, going in a jacuzzi, and any other activity that involves you submerging your body in water. You should also cover your tattoo with a high SPF sunscreen whenever there is a chance of it being exposed to the sun. Long periods of direct sunlight on any tattoo can fade the ink.

Do you want to try tattooing yourself at home? If so, check out our stick and poke tattoo kits. Each kit includes a set of professional needles, some tattoo ink and cups, as well as all of the sanitization and aftercare products you need to achieve the best results possible!

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