Top 5 Tips for Using Tattoo Aftercare Bandages | Painful Pleasures Community

Top 5 Tips for Using Tattoo Aftercare Bandages

The tattoo aftercare bandage is increasingly popular for tattoo recovery. Check out 5 tips for using them to get vibrant healed results!
by Danny Tress Last Updated: May 26, 2022

The tattoo aftercare bandage is becoming more and more popular by the year. Artists and clients alike count on bandages like Saniderm and Recovery Derm Shield for the best tattoo recovery.

These bandages are lightweight, breathable, and flexible, unlike standard cling wrap. Consequently, they deliver much-needed oxygen to your work, so it heals vibrantly.

Plus, the application is simple.

Applying a Tattoo Aftercare Bandage

Hand wearing black glove peeling the adhesive off a Recovery Derm Shield aftercare bandage

  1. First, thoroughly clean and pat dry the tattoo site. Additionally, make sure there’s no soap or residue on the skin. Products like green soap can be inflammatory when it meets the adhesive on an aftercare bandage, which can cause a red, rash-like reaction around the tattoo. This reaction also leads clients to believe they’re allergic to certain bandages. Using alcohol to clean the tattoo site before bandage application is a great way to ensure that no residue gets left behind.
  2. Cut the bandage to cover the tattooed area. Be sure to leave a 2-inch margin from the edge of the tattoo. This margin ensures the bandage is securely adhered for long-term wear and allows for slight peeling at the edge of the bandage. We recommend products like Recovery Derm Shield and Saniderm, which make it easy to cut your bandage to size.
  3. Peel off the paper backing of your aftercare bandage. This reveals the adhesive side.
  4. Gently press the bandage onto the tattoo site. Smooth the freshly laid bandage to avoid creases or air bubbles.

ProTip: When cutting your tattoo aftercare bandage, try to make rounded corners. This allows for better adhesion to the skin.

Tips for Tattoo Bandage Recovery

 We recommend the following tips to heal optimally with a tattoo aftercare bandage. After all, you want your tattoos to shine!

TIP 1: Replace Bandages As Needed

Two hands wearing tattoo gloves holding a freshly cut sheet of Recovery Derm Shield tattoo aftercare bandage

There’s going to be a lot of build-up of plasma and blood in the first bandage, thanks to the normal tattoo weeping process. So, you’ll want to replace the first bandage within 24 hours. 

Follow all the same instructions under “Applying a Tattoo Aftercare Bandage” for your second application. The second bandage can stay on for three to six days, unless you notice any of the following: severe irritation, fluid buildup, a large ink sack, or excessive peeling at the corners of your bandage. 

If you notice an ink sack, fluid, or too much peeling, it’s safe to put on a third bandage at any point. However, if you notice severe irritation like hives, breakouts, or other skin disruptions, it could be an allergic reaction to the adhesive. At this point, remove the bandage immediately. Then, gently wash the inflamed site with unscented Dove soap or a safe tattoo wash. Finish your recovery process with a quality tattoo balm like Recovery Tattoo Salve. 

Additional ProTip: We also recommend replacing your bandage if you notice any breakage or leaking. Even the tiniest rift in your bandage means your tattoo is no longer protected from the elements! So, always have backup bandages on-hand for as-needed replacements. 

TIP 2: Limit Interaction with Water and Sunshine

Submerging your bandaged tattoo in water is a big no-no. Sure, the bandage is waterproof, but too much water can be overwhelming.  

Completely submerging your tattoo in water can ruin the adhesion of the tattoo aftercare bandage. As a result, it can either peel or come off entirely. Consequently, we recommend avoiding swimming, soaking in the bathtub, or prolonged showers. Obviously, showering and staying clean is fine – but we strongly suggest keeping the bandage dry as much as humanly possible.  

Additionally, (as with any healing tattoo), you’ll want to avoid sunshine… but there’s one exception. Recovery offers a black Derm Shield option, so you can safely wear their bandage in the sun. The obscure black covering protects your new ink from UV rays. Stock up on Recovery Derm Shield in black for all your summer tattooing and enjoy the sunshine. 

TIP 3: Air Bubbles… Pop ‘Em

Two hands wearing tattoo gloves smoothing air bubbles on a freshly applied Recovery Derm Shield tattoo aftercare bandage

Ok, we don’t literally mean pop them; but definitely pay attention to them. Air bubbles aren’t horrible per se. But if you leave an air bubble alone for too long, it could get bigger and ruin the adhesion of your bandage. 

Getting rid of air bubbles is simple, and there are a few ways to do it: 

  1. First, simply try pushing out the air bubble. Apply gentle pressure with your fingers and see if you can’t get rid of it without any damage to the bandage. 
  1. If that doesn’t work, make a tiny cut and release the captured air. But don’t leave the cut alone. Remember: a rift in your tattoo bandage means the tattoo is no longer fully protected. So, after making the cut, put another small piece of tattoo aftercare bandage over the hole. Bandage overlap is perfectly acceptable and safe! 

TIP 4: Wipe Sweat Away

We strongly recommend that frequent exercisers pay attention to how much you’re sweating during and after a workout. And even if you don’t exercise a ton, weather can influence how much we sweat on the daily. 

Sweat can weaken your tattoo bandage adhesion. Too much sweat can also lead to excessive fluid build-up under the bandage, which could disrupt the healing process (and maybe cause irritation). 

If it’s only a small amount, easily wash off the sweat by taking a short shower. If the sweat is excessive and you notice the bandage is starting to peel, remove the bandage and replace it with a fresh one.

TIP 5: Remove Your Tattoo Aftercare Bandage in the Shower

Hand wearing a tattoo glove slowly removing tattoo aftercare bandage from skin, revealing a tattoo of a butterfly

We mentioned before that too much water can ruin adhesion and make your bandage fall off more easily. 

There’s only one instance where that’s a good thing: when you’re removing your bandage, either for a replacement or for good. 

Do it for the same reason you’d remove a band-aid in the shower. Taking your bandage off in the shower not only makes the process easier – it makes it way less painful, too. The steady flow of warm water softens the adhesion, so it doesn’t hurt as much peeling off your skin.  

Sometimes, adhesion can become very intense, and shower water just won’t cut it. In that case, we recommend applying gentle lubrication around the edge of your bandage. Some products that work well are olive oil or baby oil. These oils will wear away at the stickiness of your bandage more than water. Consequently, it’s easier to remove. 

Stock Up on Your Favorite Tattoo Aftercare Bandage

We recommend always having a healthy supply of tattoo aftercare bandages. You can count on quality healed results so long as you’re using the right products (and tips) for a healthy recovery.

Roll of Recovery Derm Shield tattoo aftercare bandage in full black packaging with Recovery logo on the front. The image appears over an orange backdrop.

The best tattoo aftercare bandage for you is all based on personal preference. You can find plenty of artist reviews online, like Harlan Kantner’s review of Recovery Derm Shield on our Instagram. Many people consider Recovery Derm Shield to be the best tattoo aftercare while others prefer Saniderm. You can find all our top-rated aftercare bandages on our Web store. Plus, you’ll find plenty of other quality aftercare supplies, including balms, washes, and salves for safe, healthy tattoo recovery. 

Box of Saniderm tattoo aftercare bandages over top an orange background 

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