A Comprehensive Guide to Stick and Poke Tattoo Aftercare

A stick and poke tattoo can be created by a tattoo artist in a shop or they can be created at home. They are the original tattoo style, and they can create some unique designs that cannot be replicated with a tattoo gun.

The care that you give a new tattoo will determine how quickly the wound heals and can determine how long the ink last, and how good it appears. Stick and poke tattoo aftercare is not hard to do. You simply need to commit yourself to take fantastic care of your body so the body art is attractive and long-lasting.

Stick and Poke Tattoo Aftercare Tips

Bandage the Area

When you get a tattoo created by an artist, they cover the area with a bandage before they send you home. When you get a stick and poke you need to also cover the area as soon as the process is completed.

Bandage the tattoo area

The area that you have tattooed is an open wound when you are finished. You want to cover that wound in order to limit the wound has to germs and bacteria. Normally a tattoo artist applies an ointment that has antibacterial properties before they apply the bandage. The ointment serves two purposes. It helps protect against dangerous bacteria exposure and it stops the bandage material from adhering to the wound.

After the first 24 hours, you can usually remove the bandage and allow the wound to have exposure to air. Wearing the bandage longer than this can cause the wound to stay too moist and inhibit the formation of scabbing that acts as a protective barrier while the skin heals.

Keep the Area Clean

You have to clean the tattoo at least twice a day with an antibacterial soap. You need to use a gentle soap that has no strong perfumes or dyes.

When washing the tattoo, you need to gently apply the soap using your fingertips. DO NOT rub excessively. You are washing away germs and bacteria. You should not be scrubbing the tattoo.

  • Do not use a loofah
  • If you use a cloth make sure it is a soft one
  • Do not scrub the area
  • Take a shower instead of soaking in a tub
  • Do not use extremely hot water. Use warm or tepid water to clean the area.

When you rinse the soap from the tattoo you should wet a cloth and dab away the soap but do not immerse the area in water. You can trickle clean water over the spot and then dab the area dry.


Moisturize after tattooing

The skin needs to be kept moisturized but does not slather the lotion and ointment on. You want to put a thin layer of moisturizing lotion over the skin after you clean it.

If you apply heavy layers of moisturizer then you may keep the skin too moist and stop healing from progressing properly.

Wear Protective Clothing

When we go out in the sun, we normally use sunscreen or wear protective clothing. You should not be applying sunscreen to the tattoo until it has completely healed so wearing protective clothing is the best method of protecting yourself from getting sun exposure.

The clothing should be loose and never tight or restricting the area. Light-colored clothing allows more sunlight to get through them so choose darker clothing until you heal.

The clothing also stops a lot of germs and bacteria from coming into contact with the new wound.

Things to Avoid when you have a new Stick and Poke

There are things you should do to help the wound heal, but the things that you should avoid after getting the tattoo are just as important.

  • Do not go swimming, soak in a tub, or immerse the area in water for lengthy amounts of time.
  • Do not expose the new tattoo to excessive amounts of sunlight.
  • Protect the scab. Be sure that you do not scratch the scab that forms over the puncture sites. A scab is a quick protector the body creates when the skin is compromised to the point that germs and bacteria can freely enter. Think of the scabbing as a locked door that stops bacteria from gaining entry. If you scratch or pick the scabbing off then the door is unlocked and the bacteria has free access.
  • Do not scratch the area with your fingernails. If the tattoo is itching you can pat it with open fingers or the palm of your hand but resist scratching that could break the skin or knock the scabs off.

Read our latest post about stick and poke tattoo needles in detail.

Examine the Area Closely

You are responsible for your new tattoo and for preventing infection and complications. The main thing you need to do is closely examine the area each day looking for signs of complications. This will allow you to stop any potential infection or skin damage before it has time to become a real problem.

What to look for:

  • Excessive swelling that persists for more than a couple of days can be a cause for concern.
  • Extreme redness of the tattoo and the surrounding tissue. It is normal for the area to be slightly red for the first two to three days but each day the redness should get lighter. If your skin around the wound becomes angry red, or you see streaks of red radiating from the site seek professional advice.
  • Excessive oozing. The first day and possibly the second day leaking and oozing is pretty common. If the oozing continues for several days after that then you need to seek advice from a professional.
  • Raised bumps surrounding the area. The raised bumps on the adjacent skin can be signs of an allergic reaction.

A Final Note

Taking care of a tattoo is actually just a mixture of good hygiene and common sense. If you do run a fever, have a fever in the area of the tattoo, or have excessive redness or pain talk to your tattoo artist, or seek medical advice from your doctor.

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