Saniderm: What Is It And How Does It Help Your Tattoos?

If you have tattoos, you're most likely familiar with the tattoo artist wrapping up your new ink at the end of the appointment to protect your skin. Artists have traditionally used plastic cling wrap, but in recent years, the Saniderm bandage has become an increasingly popular alternative for aftercare. Saniderm is a clear, medical-grade adhesive placed over a fresh tattoo to aid in the healing process. It's both waterproof and breathable, acting almost like a "second skin" barrier to keep away bacteria and dirt. Unlike plastic cling wrap that needs to be changed several times, Saniderm can be worn for multiple days, and you'll only need to change the bandage once.

At the end of a tattoo appointment, your tattoo artist will typically give you two Saniderm bandages. The first is applied immediately after the tattoo is finished, and it's recommended to leave it on for 8-24 hours, according to Saniderm. Some artists will advise to leave it on for more than a day, depending on what they think is best for the tattoo. After this time is up, it's time to reapply a new one, which can be worn for up to six days. Saniderm is a helpful aftercare option to get you through the healing process and keep your tattoos looking their best. But how exactly?

How does Saniderm work?

A fresh tattoo is an open wound that needs time to heal. Saniderm is made to help with that initial stage of healing when you're most at risk for complications and infections. As the bandage is designed to be both protective and breathable, your tattoo will be covered from bacteria while also still being exposed to enough oxygen. It can be worn for several days at a time without having to worry, and you can even shower with it, according to Saniderm

After the first 24 hours you have the bandage on, it may start to fill up with excess ink and plasma and create an "ink sack." This is completely normal and no cause for concern. It's actually a part of the tattoo healing process, according to Saved Tattoo, as your body sends plasma (the clear liquid portion of our blood) to the surface of the skin to help the wound heal itself. The buildup can easily be cleaned once it's time to change your bandage.

Is Saniderm the most ideal for aftercare?

Whether or not you want to use Saniderm depends on your preferences. Sometimes, different artists will give you different instructions based on the size and location of your tattoo. What sets Saniderm apart from simple plastic wrap is that you don't need to keep changing the dressing or applying lotions multiple times a day. You can keep your tattoo wrapped up safely and not have to worry about it while it's healing. 

Though it's rare, people have reported skin irritation and allergic reactions from Saniderm. If you know your skin is sensitive to adhesive materials, your artist can do a Saniderm patch test by using a small test strip on a clean area of skin to see how you react. According to Saniderm, glycerin-based products, fragranced body products, and products with high alcohol content may cause cross-reactions that can irritate the skin and hinder the tattoo healing process. It's best to avoid these products while wearing your Saniderm. 

Removing the bandage may also be painful since the skin is recovering. It helps to remove it under running water, as seen in this TikTok video. Whether you just got a first-time tattoo or added another to your collection, ask your tattoo artist about using Saniderm to help your new ink heal.