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After your session you will be given verbal aftercare instructions by your artist, it is imperative to the health & longevity of your tattoo that you follow these tattoos to the letter.


We have over a decade of experience in tattooing and aftercare.
We can only help you with your concerns if you get in touch. 

Your artist may provide complimentary touch-ups, these needs to be done within 2-3 months of your appointment.
There may be a £30+ setup fee for addressing healing issues caused by improper aftercare
or for a touch-up out with the 2-3 month period. 

Second Skin Aftercare

What is 'Second Skin'?
Second Skin is a transparent adhesive film, designed to protect and heal your new tattoo.
This film is waterproof, hypoallergenic, and permeable to skin perspiration.
This allows your skin to breathe whilst creating a barrier to all unwanted bacteria.


Directly following your tattoo session:
Your artist will clean and wrap your new tattoo and make sure the second skin covers the entirety of the tattoo. Leave the first film on for 24 hours. After that time, you can remove the film. Wash the tattoo thoroughly using warm water and unscented soap, and pat it dry. Once the tattoo is completely dry, you can place a new piece of second skin over the tattoo.

How to remove second skin safely:
Under warm running water, lift a corner of film and gently pull along the skin surface to avoid breaking. Take it slow and steady until the film has fully been removed.
The tattooed area should be mostly, if not fully healed, but the area will be quite dry.
Wash down the area with warm water and non-scented soap. Dry gently with some kitchen roll and use a fragrant-free moisturiser only when fully dry. 
It is normal for your tattoo to feel tender after removing the second-skin. 

How to reapply second skin:

  • Clean down the tattooed area with warm soapy water, using non-scented soap.

  • Gently dry the area with fresh kitchen roll, making sure the area is fully dry.

  • Cut film to desired length, making sure there is enough to cover the full tattooed area.

  • Peel off the protective paper layer and apply face down onto the skin, working from one side to the other, smoothing the film out to avoid air bubbles.

  • Gently smooth out the film, making sure the film has fully adhered to the skin, fully covering the tattoo, then peel back the arrowed top cover.
    If any area has been missed, repeat the process with a separate piece of film.
    The pieces can be overlapped if needs be.

  • This should then be left on for 4 days, but 7 at the very most.

What to expect:
The film may fill up with fluid, this is absolutely normal.
This is sometimes referred to as an "ink sack"

Click here to see a video of what we mean. 

All of the plasma, blood, and ink will leak directly into your bandage and pool up in certain areas. It will look dark and inky, and a bit unsightly. Although it looks gross and may be alarming to someone unfamiliar with this healing method, this is totally normal.


  • Don’t expose your healing tattoo to the sun.

  • Don’t put sunscreen on a healing tattoo, just cover it if you need to be out in the sun during the healing process.

  • Avoid sun beds until fully healed.

  • Don’t go swimming, don't go for baths, avoid hot tubs, etc.

  • Don’t submerge your healing tattoo in water as these can contain chlorine and bacteria that can cause numerous health issues.

  • Take some days off from the gym.

  • Rest and take it easy with your new tattoo is healing. 

  • Don’t use scented ointment, moisturisers or antiseptic creams.

  • Do not touch, peel, or fiddle with the edges of the second skin, do your best to ignore it and go about your days as normal.

  • The Stages of Healing
    Days 1 to 3: Inflammation It is normal for a tattoo to be red, swollen, and tender for the first 48 to 72 hours. There may also be some oozing of blood, ink or plasma during this time period. These symptoms should improve significantly each day. Prolonged symptoms should be evaluated by your tattoo artist first. Set Sail Tattoo Studio have over a decade of acquired knowledge in healing tattoos and from experience, pharmacies & doctors jump to worst case scenarios. However, in exception circumstances and we are concerned, we may suggest a visit to the GP. Days 4 to 14: Visible Recovery As the healing process continues, the top layer of skin peels, flakes, scabs, and itches—similar to the response the body makes as it recovers from a sunburn. This is a normal, healthy recovery process. Avoid scratching, rubbing, picking at scabs, and physically removing peeling skin. Doing these things WILL only cause more injury and prolong the recovery period. We are able to tell if a tattoo scab has been "helped off". Ignoring aftercare only causes yourself the client extra pain and trouble, we can only help so much but can't do it for you. Days 14 to 30: Inisible Recovery The visible signs noted above have typically resolved by the third week post-procedure. However, the tattoo will may remain 'dull and dark until approximately one month after the tattooing procedure. At the one-month mark, the tattoo may have taken on its permanent vibrant color. Remodeling of the skin underneath the tattoo will continue for three to six months when tattoos are fully healed.
  • How Long Do Tattoos Take To Heal?
    In general, it takes approximately one month from the time of tattooing for a tattoo to take on its permanent form in a young, healthy individual. Drinking, smoking, exercise, diet and general health can delay/prolong the healing of a tattoo. Tattoos are considered fully healed around 3 months. However, there are some factors that can influence healing time. For one, tattoos with more saturated color areas may take slightly longer to heal. Saturated pigment(ink) requires more needle pricks to deposit ink than finer tattoos. This may create a larger inflammatory response, potentially requiring a longer recovery phase. If you have diabetes or other health conditions or are on medication your experience may be different to the norm. It's worth considering this before getting the tattoo and if you have concerns, please check with your GP before booking in.
  • Aftercare Tips
    All tattooers have slightly different post-care instructions but the core of the routine is the same: The body is capable of healing the wound as long as we don’t get in its way. Improvement should occur daily, and that lack of daily improvement may be a sign of delayed wound and in very rare occasions, infection. After the end of your session, your artist will apply a breathable bandage- this will be in the form of either cling film or "second skin" Since tattoos create an opening in the skin that allows bacteria entry. These bandages are meant to protect the open area from infection while allowing it to breathe. We recommend keeping cling film on for up to 2 hours but no longer than 4. When you remove the cling film, wash the skin with a gentle, unperfumed soap such as Dove or Simple Soap and luke-warm water. Allow the tattoo to lather, but never submerge the tattoo in water. After the tattoo has been fully washed and dry the tattoo with fresh kitchen roll/paper towel. Do not use a fabric towel, kitchen roll, wipes as these are irritants and may break to pieces. Never rub the tattoo dry, use small dabbing motions. You may need to use multiple sheets of paper towel to achieve full dryness. Allow the tattoo to air dry and when you are satisfied that it is completely dry, you can apply your moisturiser: We recommend Bepanthen, Nappy Care ointment. A tiny bit of Bepanthen goes a very long way and you should never slather your tattoo with it, you're looking to achieve a light breathable, protective layer of the cream. It should not be entirely white and you should be able to see your tattoo clearly however it will be shiny and/or oily looking. Bepanthen can be sticky and attracts pet hairs, fluff, etc. Be wary of this and wear loose fitting clothes and make sure that your bed sheets are fresh and aren't sticking to the tattoo.
  • How to Know If Your Tattoo Isn’t Healing Properly
    There are a few tell-tale signs that your tattoo isn't healing properly. Namely, if you're experiencing any redness, puffiness, or itching beyond a few days, consult with your physician. Also, if you notice any fluid or pus oozing from the tattoo, this may be a sign of infection. Even if you get tattooed by a licensed & reputable tattoo artist and follow the aftercare, your skin can react in weird and unexpected ways. Some reactions happen immediately. Others take weeks or years to appear. If you’re having a reaction, here’s what may be happening and what you can do. Infection An infection in a new tattoo: (Not done at Set Sail Tattoo Studio) When it’s likely to appear: Immediately after getting a tattoo Days or months after getting tattooed Signs of an infection: After getting a tattoo, it’s normal to see some redness and swelling. Your skin will feel sore, and you may see clear or slightly yellowed fluid oozing from your new tattoo. As your skin heals, it can itch and flake. Scabs may form. All of this can be part of your normal healing process. If an infection develops, your skin reacts a bit differently. You may notice one or more of the following: Redness: It becomes darker or spreads instead of lightening and diminishing Pain: It continues or worsens instead of subsiding Rash of itchy, red, and painful bumps develop within the tattoo Fever Chills and shivering Pus in the tattoo Open sore(s) in the tattoo Take action: If you have any signs or symptoms above, reach out to us for the advice. ______________________________________________________________________________________ 2. Rash: Sun allergy If you develop an itchy rash on your inked skin when outdoors, you may have a sun allergy. When it’s likely to appear: After getting a tattoo, some people develop a sun allergy on their tattooed skin. This reaction can happen every time the sun’s rays hit your tattoo. It is EXTREMELY important to keep your fresh and healing tattoos out of the sun. Signs of a sun allergy: This allergy can appear within minutes of the sun hitting your tattoo or hours later. You may have a sun allergy on your tattooed skin if you notice any of the following: Swelling and redness around a tattoo Itchy rash of tiny bumps Blisters or hives You can prevent a rash by protecting your skin from the sun. To protect your tattoo and your skin, dermatologists recommend that you: Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outside. To get the protection you need, use a sunscreen that offers SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum protection, and water resistance. You should apply sunscreen to all skin that will be exposed while you're outdoors. Cover your tattoo with clothing before going outdoors. To test how well the clothing will protect your skin, hold the clothing up to a bright light. If you cannot see light through the fabric, the clothing offers good sun protection. Dermatologists still recommend applying sunscreen to all skin that will be bare while you’re outside. Seek shade. Staying in the shade is a simple way to reduce sun exposure. Do NOT expose a healing tattoo to direct sunlight or sunbeds. ____________________________________________________________________________________ 3. Skin Complaints Getting a tattoo can trigger some conditions, such as psoriasis or eczema, to appear in or around the tattoo. Set Sail Tattoo Studio will not tattoo an area otherwise affected my any skin complaints as this will only be worsened by the tattoo. We would need to wait until this was entirely clear before tattooing you in that area or we can tattoo you somewhere that isn't affected. When it’s likely to appear: If you carry the genes for psoriasis, getting a tattoo can trigger a psoriasis flare or cause psoriasis to appear for the first time. Other skin diseases or conditions can also appear within or around a tattoo. If a skin condition like that appears, you’ll likely see signs of the condition within 10 to 20 days of getting the tattoo. The disease can also appear as early as three days after getting tattooed. Sometimes, it shows up years later. Skin cancer can also form within a tattoo and as always it's important to get checked in anything with your skin changes. We don't tattooed over moles, large freckles or birth marks for this reason. Signs of skin disease: Around the tattoo, you may see signs of one of the following skin conditions: Psoriasis Eczema Vitiligo Lichen planus Keloid Sarcoidosis Scars Skin cancer Take action: If you have a tendency to scar or have ever had a scar that grew bigger than the wound causing it (a keloid), rethink getting a tattoo. Scarring can ruin the appearance of your tattoo. If you’ve already developed a scar or signs of a skin disease, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist. A dermatologist can minimize the look of a scar, diagnose a skin disease, and develop a treatment plan for a skin disease. Find a dermatologist.
  • Helpful Links & More Information
    - What To Expect When You Get a Tattoo - Everything You Need to Know About the Healing Stages of Tattoos - What to Do About Itchy, Raised Tattoos, According to a Dermatologist - Infected Tattoo Stages: Signs of Infection from Tattoos and After Tattoo Removal - Tattoo Healing Process, Day by Day (Video) From 2 Minutes & 20 Seconds In.
  • What Does An Infection Tattoo Look Like?
    They look like this, this and like this. They may also look like this, sometimes like this or possibly like this. The most common symptom of a tattoo infection is a rash or red, bumpy skin around the area of the tattoo. In some cases, your skin may just be irritated because of the needle, especially if you have sensitive skin. If this is the case, your symptoms should fade after a few days. See your doctor if you experience one or more of the following: fever waves of heat and cold abnormal shivering swelling of the tattooed area (that goes beyond normal swelling) pus coming out of the area red lesions around the area red streaking from the area areas of hard, raised tissue If you are here on this page, it's likely because you're experiencing a rough heal rather than an infection. A rough heal consists of heavy or wet scabbing. This can happen if your tattoo takes a hit, or you have to peel clothing or bed sheets from the tattoo. It may also happen by not following the aftercare provided or removing the second skin incorrectly. All of these will remove or damage a protective layer of your tattoo away and extra care will need to be taken. Your tattoo artist has plenty of experience in helping you through this, seek help from them first before consulting with a doctor or pharmacy. Medical professionals will heal the "open wound" and this might be too abrassive for your tattoo and leave you with an unslightly mess.

Helpful Information

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