It’s coming up to a year since I got my first tattoo. Since then, I must have caught the bug - because I now have five of them. However, one thing I’m still as careful as I was the first time around is aftercare. I had this fear of it getting infected or scabbing over and just generally looking awful if I didn’t take proper care of it, so I was extra cautious with making sure I looked after my new ink. I did a fair bit of research in preparation, and one thing I found helpful was the below infographic, was just gives you a few of the basics (bonus: there’s even some tips for piercings too!). A friend of mine is about to get her first tattoo, and she got me thinking, what are the basic aftercare tips you should know about to keep your new ink looking its best? Here are the steps below that I’ve been following religiously ever since I got my first tattoo. 1: Fancy Products and Chemicals Avoid them! Creams and shower gels packed with chemicals and that are heavily scented are likely to cause irritation at the best of times, so you don’t want to pair that with a fresh new tat for sure. When it comes to chemicals, this also extends to swimming in chlorine too - something to bear in mind if your fitness regime involves a regular dip in the pool. 2: Regular Cleaning While soaking a new tattoo isn’t recommended, regular cleaning is still a must. I was advised by my tattoo artist to clean mine around 3 times a day. Best practice is to wash your tattoo with warm water (again, avoid using fancy soaps) and to thoroughly pat dry. Depending on the size/location of your tattoo, your artist may recommend you clean it more or less often. For example, one of mine is on my ankle, and I had it done over the summer. Because it was exposed more than my others, I was told to be wary of getting it exposed to dirt etc and to give it a clean after going out with it on show. 3: Respect the Clingfilm Don’t remove the clingfilm any earlier than your tattoo artist advises. It’s there for a reason! Again, depending on the size and location of your tattoo, the advice on how long you have to keep it on will vary. You may be told to re-cover it after you’ve cleaned it, or you may be told to let it breathe. Either way, follow your artists’ advice to make sure your new tat heals nicely! 4: Aftercare Creams & Lotions There’s so many different products out there that you can use to heal your new ink, so it can be difficult to decide what to go for. Your tattoo artist may have a go-to product that they’ll advise you to use, or they may have a whole bank of suggestions. I was advised to try Hustle Butter, which is designed specifically for tattoos and helps to moisturise and heal the skin. I can confirm it does the job rather nicely! 5: Clean Hands It’s a given, but making sure that you wash your hands before touching or cleaning your tattoo will ensure it stays free of any nasties that will hinder its healing or cause infection.