Tattoo Aftercare: Second Skin

Posted: Wednesday June 28, 2023

The protective adhesive film on your tattoo is a revolutionary product in the tattooing world. It helps protect the new tattoo, and in most cases, makes your aftercare much easier! It is commonly referred to as ‘Second Skin’, ‘Saniderm’ and ‘Dermalize’. In this blog, we’ll refer to it as ‘Second skin’, as this is often used as a generic term for the aftercare.

So what is Second skin? And why has my artist given it to me?

Second skin is a transparent, breathable adhesive that covers your tattoo and creates a protective barrier. This barrier helps protect your tattoo from bacteria and from drying out during the healing process. Your tattoo artist will provide you with second skin if they think your tattoo will benefit from it, but it is not always required.

Second skin aftercare is super comfy, moves with your body and should not cause any discomfort.

What am I allowed to do whilst it’s on?

Once your artist has applied your second skin aftercare, you should keep it on for no more than 5 days. You can shower as normal but you should still avoid bathing or swimming with your second skin on.

Why haven’t I been given second skin as my aftercare?

Whilst many tattoos may benefit from having second skin, there are some cases where second skin will not be offered. This is most likely based on the size of your tattoo. If your new tattoo is very big, it may be too large to be covered with second skin. Similarly, if your new tattoo is pretty small or linework, you may not need second skin aftercare as smaller/less detailed tattoos heal much easier anyway!

Help – I’m having a reaction! 

The adhesive side of the second skin is hypo-allergenic. But, sometimes, your skin can still be a little too sensitive and react to it. But, don’t worry! This is normal and may happen (as it does with lots of other medical adhesives). If your skin reacts to the second skin aftercare, it does not mean that your tattoo is infected or in any danger. It simply means your skin does not like the adhesive being stuck to it so much. This is more likely to happen if you have had allergies to plasters in the past. If this happens to you, just remove it and follow the other aftercare instructions.

During the warmer months, second skin may encourage patches of heat rash, which is something to be aware of if you’re prone to heat rashes. If you have any concerns about second skin, make sure to raise them with your tattoo artist before they apply it.

How do I remove it?

Firstly, make sure you’re removing your second skin aftercare under running water – never try to peel it off dry. Next, grab the corner of the second skin and slowly start pulling it across the skin. You should not try and pull the second skin off like a plaster – don’t pull up directly away from the skin, instead, pull your skin tight and slowly pull the second skin back across the skin.

Once you have removed the second skin, you might see that there is still some residue stickiness where it used to be. This can be super stubborn to get off, but will eventually come off with some soap, water and gentle rubbing. Do not try scrubbing any residue off as it may cause irritation.

What is the big sack of ink under my second skin?

As with any form of wound, the skin immediately tries to heal itself by pushing out plasma. The ‘gunk’ that you may find in your second skin is a mix of plasma, blood and excess ink from your tattoo. Because you have an adhesive film over the top, the ‘gunk’ doesn’t have anywhere else to go, so creates a little sack. It is nothing to worry about and is normal!

If this happens, you do not need to remove the second skin. If you’re worried about how much ink has collected, you can take a clean toothpick, pop a tiny hole in the sack and just drain the liquid out!

It is peeling off at the corners, what should I do?

Sometimes clothes and bed sheets can cause friction causing your second skin to lose its stickiness, especially around the edges. If this happens, you can use some small nail scissors to carefully remove the non-sticky part of the adhesive. If any of the tattoo becomes exposed, remove all of the second skin and follow the other aftercare advice.


Of course, we are only an email, call or DM away, so get in touch with any post-tattoo questions. Also, feel free to tag us on our social media accounts to show off your new tat!

Sound good?  You can book your appointment with us via email ( ), WhatsApp/call
(0161 222 8433) , Instagram or Facebook.

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