Background: Tattoo aftercare instructions describe how to care for a new tattoo. Unfortunately, tattoo artists often base their advice on personal experience rather than best practices in medical wound management. The diversity of recommendations in these instructions is currently unknown. Objectives: Our review was performed to determine current recommendations in tattoo aftercare instructions in the United States. Methods: Using a Google search, a total of 700 aftercare instructions from all 50 states and Washington D.C. were collected and their contents analyzed. Results: Most instructions encouraged washing new tattoos with antibiotic soaps, including chlorhexidine, and 14.9% encouraged using topical antibiotics. Few instructed individuals to wash their hands before touching a healing tattoo. A total of 70 moisturizers were recommended. Of these, 22 were niche products made specifically for tattoo aftercare. Only a subset of instructions provided parameters about when to contact the tattooist (49.9%) and/or a physician (19.4%) should there be a complication in the healing process. Conclusion: The content and recommendations of the 700 instructions vary tremendously. Many lacked instructions on appropriate hygiene and when to seek medical care. As skin and wound care experts, there may be an opportunity for the dermatology community to partner with tattooists to create more useful evidence-based tattoo aftercare practices.

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