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How Long To Leave Tegaderm On Tattoos?

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How Long To Leave Tegaderm On Tattoo

Tegaderm is a clear, breathable adhesive dressing that is often used to cover new tattoos and protect them from microbes and other external contaminants.

However, how long you keep the Tegaderm on is crucial for the proper healing of your tattoo. 

If you remove it early it will dry out the tattoo and may scab prematurely or not heal properly, leaving it vulnerable to infections. If you keep the Tegaderm on for too long, you run the risk of suffocating your skin, leading to irritation.

So, how long should you leave Tegaderm on your tattoo without it causing any issues?

You should leave Tegaderm for at least 3 to 4 days. This allows your tattoo to heal properly without any issues.

In this mega guide, I’ll give you a breakdown of how long to leave Tegaderm on tattoos, how to remove and replace Tegaderm as well as what happens if you leave Tegaderm on for too long, and if you can overlap it.

How Long Can You Leave Tegaderm On A Tattoo?

The exact amount of time that Tegaderm should be left on a tattoo depends on the size and location of the tattoo.

But generally, you should leave Tegaderm for a minimum of 3 days – 4 days and a maximum of 7 days.

Related: How long can leave Saniderm on a tattoo?

The first few days after getting a tattoo are the most crucial for its healing. Your tattoo artist will clean your skin and apply a thin layer of ointment to keep it moisturized.

leave tegaderm for only 3 or 4 days

At this stage, the Tegaderm acts as a barrier between your tattoo and the outside world. It protects your tattoo from germs that could cause infection and helps to maintain the proper moisture level in the tattooed area.

After about 3 – 4 days the redness and any plasma leaking from that tattoo should have subsided. And you can then switch to regular aftercare. 

Note: Heat can weaken the adhesive and separate it from the skin so it’s important to avoid activities that could make you sweat or that keep the bandage in contact with water for a long time. This includes swimming, submerging in water like in a bathtub, and vigorous exercise.

How To Remove Tegaderm From Tattoo?

The Tegaderm should be removed carefully, otherwise it could irritate your skin. Follow these steps to remove your Tegaderm:
  • First, you need to wash your hands thoroughly with soap.
  • Now gently peel back the edge of the Tegaderm bandage, starting at one corner.
  • Slowly and carefully continue to peel back the bandage, making sure not to pull too hard.
  • After you remove the bandage, wash your tattoo with an unscented soap a couple of times to remove any adhesive residue.

The Tegaderm would come off a lot easier if you took a hot shower before removing it because heat weakens the adhesive.

If the Tegaderm is difficult to remove, you can try using a small amount of coconut oil to help loosen the adhesive.

Once the Tegaderm has been removed, wash the tattoo with a gentle, unscented antibacterial soap in warm water. Afterward, gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel and apply a thin layer of ointment or lotion.

Avoid using any products that contain petroleum, alcohol, fragrances, or other harsh chemicals, as these can irritate the tattoo and slow the healing process.

After removing Tegaderm, you can switch to a regular moisturizer to keep your tattoo looking vibrant and healthy.

Can You Leave Tegaderm On Too Long?

Tegaderm should be left on the tattoo for at least three days, but it can be left on for up to a week if necessary. Leaving it on for longer than that will cause issues.

If Tegaderm is left on a tattoo for too long, it can cause the tattoo to heal poorly and cause irritation.

The adhesive from the Tegaderm can cause the tattoo to stick to the dressing, which can pull on the skin and damage the tattoo when the Tegaderm is removed.

Can You Leave Tegaderm On Too Long

In addition, leaving the Tegaderm on for too long can cause the tattoo to become moist and warm, creating an ideal environment for bacterial growth. This can lead to an infection, which can cause the tattoo to become red, swollen, and painful.

We cover more about these in our can saniderm ruin a tattoo post. (Saniderm is pretty similar to tegaderm)

To avoid these potential complications, it is important to carefully follow the instructions to remove the Tegaderm on time. 

Can You Replace Tegaderm On the Tattoo?

If your Tegaderm is peeling away or is leaking, you can replace it. But make sure you reapply a new bandage within 30 minutes because if not, the tattoo will dry out and hinder healing.

However, if the scabbing process has begun, don’t wrap it again. Instead, switch to conventional tattoo aftercare with lotions.

Can You Overlap Tegaderm On A Tattoo?

Yes, it’s okay to overlap the Tegaderm but make sure to cover all parts of the tattoo.

Overlapping smaller bits makes it easier to remove and gives more mobility and adhesion. Plus, you can patch more bits if the Tegaderm starts to peel away.

Can You Overlap Tegaderm On A Tattoo

The only downside is that it’s going to hurt when you are removing the tegaderm as you need to remove each bit.


Tegaderm tattoo leaking – What now?

Weeping is a normal part of healing but if it is excessive, plasma will leak out of the tegaderm and affect its adhesiveness. If this happens you can try wiping the leakage, however the best way is to remove tegaderm and start your aftercare routine.

Sweat under tegaderm tattoo – Is it normal?

It is normal to sweat under tegaderm, as the skin will naturally produce sweat to regulate body temperature. However, excessive sweating can loosen tegaderm. If this happens, you use something like surgical tape to tape it or reapply a new bandage.

Can I put tegaderm on a week old tattoo?

You technically could, but it’s not going to do anything. Tegaderm should be put on right after you get a tattoo to protect it from germs and keep the skin moisturized. A tattoo would heal a lot in a week and have a very low chance of infection, so applying after is useless.


In conclusion, the amount of time that you leave the Tegaderm on your tattoo is crucial for its healing. You should leave it on for about 3 or 4 days.

That being said, keep in mind that everyone’s skin is different, and the healing process will be different. So if you notice any signs of infection, such as redness or swelling, talk to your artist.

If you are still unsure of how long to leave the Tegaderm on your tattoo, or if you have any concerns about the healing process, it is best to consult with your tattoo artist or a doctor.


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