"Onion Skin" Care Instructions

You just made it back from the tattoo studio. Your new ink is wrapped securely and, while your skin is definitely tender, the overall experience has been a positive one. Over the next few days, you take special care to wash your new tattoo and apply a protective balm.

As much as you’ve thought about getting a tattoo though, nothing could prepare you for the dreaded “onion skin” stage. Why? It’s so itchy. And while it’s tempting to scratch, rub, or even just pat your skin to relieve the itch, it’s only going to prolong the healing process and potentially damage your fresh artwork.

If you’re familiar with this stage of the healing process and looking for better coping tips or you want to be as prepared as possible for your first tattoo, Aftershock Skin Care has the tattoo aftercare products and advice you need to soothe your irritated skin while it recovers. Continue reading for more information or shop our tattoo aftercare products now.

Don’t Itch

This is the cardinal rule of healing during the “onion skin” phase. Don’t use your fingers, a pencil, a back scratcher, your chair, or any other scratching tools to itch your tattoo. It can cause scabs, peeling, and delayed healing. Not to mention, it can also cause your tattoo to heal unevenly. Keep your hands busy and don’t touch.

Cover Up, Buttercup

This isn’t just for people with a tattoo of Princess Buttercup adorning their skin — this is for everyone with “onion skin.” While you may want to keep your tattoo uncovered to let it breathe, this can actually expose it to irritants that will trigger a burning sensation.

Instead, wear clothing that covers your tattoo for the first few days after having it done. Make sure the clothing is soft and fits well so it doesn’t cause any friction to irritate your skin. This tip is also really helpful to prevent your peeling skin from shedding all over the place. Gross.

Pretend You’re a Vampire (and Stay Out of the Sun)

Please don’t go around biting people — that’s not what this tip means. Instead, limit your sun exposure as if your life depended on it. If your fresh tattoo is exposed to the sun, it will feel like a really bad sunburn. It will also burn quickly because your tattoo is still an open wound.

Keep your tattoo covered if you do have to be outside, but limit your time outdoors. We also recommend rescheduling any plans for outdoor activities as well. A layer of fabric may prevent your tattoo from getting burned, but even the increased temperature of the outdoors can irritate a new tattoo.

Stop Using Common Scents

Have you noticed that your tattoo aftercare products are all unscented? There’s a good reason for that. Topical products are often scented using chemicals — chemicals that will irritate and burn your tender, healing skin.

Not only do these chemicals irritate your skin, but they can also dry it out. Your new tattoo needs as much hydration as possible so it can heal properly, so this is the last thing you want. Perfumes, colognes, scented soaps, and fragrant lotions are all off the table for a few weeks.

Seriously, Do NOT Itch

We mean it. No touchy. Pick up a new hobby like knitting, mastering a Rubik’s cube, or basket-weaving (as long as it’s not underwater). Sort through your mail, do some laundry, just stay busy with other things to keep your mind and your hands off of your tattoo.

If the itch is really bothersome, try applying a cool compress. This will help soothe any irritation and inflammation that’s causing your skin to feel itchy.

Use Products Formulated for "Onion Skin"

While using a gentle soap and a mild moisturizer in the morning and evening will help keep your tattoo clean and hydrated, there’s a lot that can happen during those several hours in between. If you’re looking for a solution to calm your itchy skin throughout the day without having to reach for an ice pack, try the Hydrating Spray with Pro-Vitamin B5 from Aftershock Skin Care.

This tattoo aftercare product is formulated to soothe irritation, inflammation, and itchiness associated with “onion skin” in the days following your tattoo application. The hydrating spray also has a light and natural lemon scent that refreshes your skin. And don’t worry — this isn’t an artificial fragrance so it won’t cause any additional irritation.

Purchase your bottle of hydrating spray from Aftershock Skin Care and take it with you wherever you go so you’re always ready to deliver hydrating relief to your healing skin. Don’t forget to check out our Tattoo Aftercare Instructions and Ongoing Tattoo Care pages for more tips and tattoo aftercare products that will keep your skin comfortable and your tattoo vibrant.