A tattoo is more than just a piece of art and a way to assert your personal style. It’s a medical procedure too, because the artist uses a needle to insert the ink underneath your skin.

Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections.

Caring for your tattoo can prevent those complications and ensure that the tattoo heals properly. Both you and your tattoo artist play equal roles in this process. Along with going to a licensed and reputable tattoo artist, you need to take care of your new tattoo at home.

Aftercare starts as soon as your tattoo is done. The artist should apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment over the tattoo and then cover the area in a bandage or plastic wrap, or use second skin to cover your tattoo. This covering prevents bacteria from getting into your skin. It also protects the tattoo from rubbing onto your clothes and getting irritated.

After a few hours, you can remove the covering if you are not using second skin. Then gently wash the tattoo with warm water and fragrance-free soap. Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth. Once the covering comes off, you’ll probably notice fluid oozing from the tattoo. This is blood, plasma (the clear part of blood), and some extra ink. It’s normal. Your skin will also be red and sore. It might feel slightly warm to the touch. Apply a small amount of fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer or tattoo balm to the tattoo. You can keep the covering off at this point to let your skin breathe.

While your tattoo heals, you should wear sun-protective clothing whenever you go outside. You should not cover your tattoo with sunblock until it’s fully healed, scratch or pick at the tattoo, wear tight clothing over the tattoo, go swimming or immerse your body in water.

How quickly you heal depends on the size of your tattoo and how intricate it is. Bigger tattoos will stay red and swollen longer because they cause more trauma to your skin.

You’ll probably notice some light scabbing over the tattoo. The scabs shouldn’t be as thick as the scabs you get when you cut yourself, but they’ll be raised. Don’t pick at the scabs — this can cause scarring.

By the end of your third month, the tattoo should look as bright and vivid as the artist intended and will be fully healed.


Usually the longer you leave the jagua gel on, the better and darker the stain will be. However, 3 hours is usually the longest it needs to take for the stain to mature. Take note that the longer you leave it on, the higher chance of smudging it too, as jagua gel can stain even when it’s dried (it just doesn’t smudge/run when dry). After 3 hours, you can wash the gel off using warm running water and rub everything off till there is no more residue on your skin (no baby wipes/wet tissue). It will look super faint at first but the eventual stain will darken over 24-48 hours. It is important to avoid lotion and sunblock for the first 2 days, as jagua needs to react with oxygen to mature its stain.

The key thing about making your jagua tattoo longer lasting is to not let that area of the skin exfoliate too much, as jagua stains till the 1st to 2nd epidermis of your skin. Thus the tattoo will last as long as your skin takes to exfoliate. 

After the stain has fully matured, do not touch the tattoo at all when your pores are open, i.e. on hot days, during a hot shower, when you’re working out.


Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason. It is normal to experience some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising during the initial stages of the healing process. Rinse or spray with piercing aftercare as needed. If your piercer suggests using soap, gently lather around the piercing and rinse as needed. Avoid using harsh soaps, or soaps with dyes, fragrances, or triclosan. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing. Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products because cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.

During healing, some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals. Once healed, the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate. A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.

General Faq

How long does a tattoo take?

Tattooing is not a quick process, nor should it be rushed as you will be living with the results permanently. An averagely complex piece of work about the size of the back of your hand, usually takes about two hours to complete. Larger or more complex pieces can take tens of hours, and will require several sittings to complete. With that said, every artist works differently, so you may enquire with your artist on their estimated timeline for your tattoo.

How old do I have to be to get tattooed?

You have to be at least 18 years old to get a tattoo. However if you are below the age of 18, we can tattoo you with your parent’s consent.

Can I use numbing cream?

 You can use numbing cream, but very few tattoo studios will recommend it for several reasons. It needs to be applied at least an hour before you sit for your tattoo and can only last for around thirty to forty-five minutes. Tattooing being an art-form and therefore not an exact science, means that sometimes there could be a period of waiting past your appointment time, while the tattooist finishes off a piece of work that took longer than expected. This makes it very difficult to time the application of the cream. If your tattoo is not finished before the cream wears off, this may mean that the rest of the tattoo process will hurt even more.

Numbing cream can also cause the skin to become a little puffy in some customers. This means that the tattooist needs to work harder to get the ink into the skin, which can cause additional trauma. This will obviously have some repercussions during the healing process and can create an undesirable amount of scabbing during that time.

However, we do still offer numbing cream if you are aware of the risks and would like to go ahead with the use of numbing cream.

Can tattoos be removed?

They can, completely and without scaring. The most common method is the cover-up. This involves working with your tattoo artist to come up with a design that will go over and ‘cover-up’ the old one. There are a few misconceptions regarding cover-ups, it is not as easy as just doing another tattoo over the top. The new tattoo will sit in the same layer of skin (the dermis), as the old one, so the cover-up needs to be darker than the existing tattoo in order to over-power it. This makes very old or faded tattoos easier to cover up than new bright ones. This also means that the new tattoo generally has to be a great deal bigger than the one to be covered up, so that the old design can be lost in the new one. Obviously this very much depends on the tattoo to be covered and the skill of your artist. We recommend that if you want to cover up a fairly dark or fresh tattoo with a lighter design, that you use laser removal to lighten the tattoo before coming in for a cover up, which will result in a better finish.

How do I decide on a design?

At Fineline, we focus on designing custom work to your specifications.Our tattoos are generated bespoke for the client to ensure you only get the best in custom designs, unique to you. We suggest that you bring your tattoo artist any reference material that you think is relevant, as it will help both of you understand each other much easier. You don’t have to have exact images, even if your examples simply have the same ‘feel’ as what you are trying to convey it will help your tattoo artist understand your needs. Your tattoo artist should advise you as to placement, and how the tattoo is likely to be viewed, for example; a small piece that would work well on the wrist, might not work as well placed on the thigh. They should also discuss how well your tattoo will stand the test of time. You can generate some amazingly complex and delicate tattoos, but tattoo ink spreads and thins under the skin over time, so your dainty tattoo might look great on the day, but may look fuzzy and unrecognisable after just a couple of years. A slightly bolder design could look great for ten years or more. The choice is always the customer’s, but it should always be an informed choice.

Should I have a drink before my tattoo to steady my nerves?

No. This is not advisable for several very real reasons, other than the obvious difficulties of tattooing a drunk person, and the fact that any good tattooist will refuse to tattoo you if you have. The main reason is that alcohol thins your blood considerably. In turn this causes excessive bleeding while you are having the tattoo, which not only makes it difficult for the tattoo artist, but will have the effect of ‘washing out’ ink as it is being put in. This makes the process much longer, and can produce poor results.

Alcohol can have an effect for several days, so it is also not a good idea to have a tattoo after a night drinking, even if you have not consumed anything on the day.

What should I do on the day of my tattoo?

There are several things you can do to make your experience easier and more enjoyable.

Firstly, try and make sure you have had something to eat and drink about an hour before your tattoo. During the tattoo, your body behaves in a way very similar to going into shock, as it generates endorphins to deal with the attack on the skin. This can cause a drop in blood sugar, resulting in light-headedness, and sometimes nausea or fainting. Having a meal and consuming natural sugars, such as orange juice can help to prevent this. If you feel faint during your tattoo, let your artist know immediately, and they will help you through it. Don’t be ashamed of telling them, if you have chosen your studio wisely, they will be totally sympathetic to your needs and help you through the experience with dignity. Often a tattoo studio will offer you sweets to help keep your sugar up during the tattoo.

Secondly, think about what you are going to wear. You know where you are likely to get your tattoo, so make sure you dress so that you can expose this general area while at the same time maintaining your dignity. Have these conversations with your studio and they should be able to tell you what they can put in place to make you feel comfortable.

Don’t wear your Sunday best. While tattoo ink will generally not stain clothes, and your artist will do everything they can to keep your clothing clean, there is always the possibility of getting ink on your clothes so dark clothing is favourable. Tattoo ink is very concentrated, and will go a very long way, so it’s always best to bear this in mind when choosing the day’s wardrobe. If you do need to remove tattoo ink from your clothing, you will need to do so on a very hot wash.

Other things you may want to consider bringing might include an earphones, or other distractions like a book or smart phone etc. Some people like to chat to the tattooist, others like stony silence, others prefer a distraction like the things mentioned above.

Is it safe?

Any puncture to the skin carries risk of infection. If you have chosen your tattoo studio wisely, then the chances of catching anything are similar to a visit to the dentist. A good artist should be able explain the procedure and demonstrate what will happen without making you feel like you’re asking too many questions. Our artists only use sterile, single-use, disposable needles and equipment so you can rest assured we put a premium on safety.

Apart from blood-borne infection, which will be avoided by using sterile, single use needles, you won’t catch an infection like they are discussing from a studio, as what they are talking about is an infection caused by bacteria. You don’t catch bacteria, it builds up over time. That only means one thing, poor aftercare.

That applies for tattooing, piercing and laser removal, the only way bacteria will infect you is if you’re not keeping the wound clean. For further information on how to look after your new tattoo or piercing, check out the next section on aftercare.

How do I care for my tattoo?

For more information, check our aftercare page which goes into detail on how to take care of your piercings, tattoos, and jagua tattoos.

At Fineline, we offer second skin wrapping at an additional cost, which will be removed the day after then replaced with a new sheet. You can then remove this second layer after 7 days. Second skin is waterproof, allowing you to partake in activities such as swimming or exercise immediately after getting tattooed, which is recommended especially if you are a highly active person. 

We also sell balm tattoo aftercare and tattoo sunscreen at our studio.

Can i get a tattoo over a scar/stretch mark, etc?

It depends on several factors such as the size, type, and age of the scar.  If you wish to minimize or draw attention away from it, one option to consider instead is to incorporate a design around your scar. 

Who should not get a tattoo?

It is not advisable to get a tattoo if your immune system is compromised in any way; if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding; if you have severe allergies; if you have a communicable disease; if you are taking certain medications such as blood thinners, or if you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Is a tattoo really permanent?

Tattoos are permanent, but the ink can fade away with time in areas that are often exposed to the sun or if not properly cared for, or on areas where the skin is very thin and meets a lot of friction, like your fingers. If you want to test one out before committing to a permanent tattoo, check out our temporary jagua option. 

Do you do temporary or henna tattoos?

We offer jagua tattoos, which is similar to henna tattooing. Jagua ink is an organic ink that is made from fruit called the Jagua fruit, or namely Genipa Americana. When applied to the skin, the gel deposits a blue-black stain on your skin that can last 1-3 weeks. For more information, check our aftercare page which goes into detail on how to take care of your piercings, tattoos, and jagua tattoos.

How do deposits work

We will collect a S$50 deposit fee to secure an appointment with our artists and to design custom tattoos. All deposits are non-refundable and will be forfeited if the appointment is cancelled or if you do not show up. You may reschedule only ONCE with at least 48HOURS notice before the appointment date. The deposit is NON TRANSFERABLE and can only be used for the agreed upon design. The deposit will be applied to the cost of the tattoo on the last appointment when the tattoo is completed.

If you have any other questions that we haven’t answered here, please feel free to contact us.