Why Is Plastic Saran Wrap Put on New Tattoos?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on October 1, 2021
    Last Updated: February 18, 2022

When thinking of getting a tattoo, you just think of the design process and the actual inking procedure. However, there’s a lot more to it than that. A tattoo is an open wound that needs to be protected and cared for.

New tattoos need to be looked after while they heal and this process can take up to a couple of weeks. Your tattoo artist will be able to advise on how best to look after your tattoo during the healing process. They will also start you off with caring for your tattoo before leaving the tattoo studio.

They will wrap your tattoo for you to make sure that nothing touches it. Then the rest of the healing process is down to you. 

We’ll let you know what to wrap your tattoo with and if Saran wrap actually helps or hinders the healing process.

Does Saran Plastic Wrap Help To Heal Tattoos?

Saran wrap is used by many to wrap their tattoo once it’s completed. This gives an airtight covering that reduces the chances of infections as nothing can get to it. Saran wrap is see-through so that helps you to be able to see the tattoo and key an eye on how it’s healing. 

As you can see through the wrap, you are also able to show your tattoo off to friends as soon as it’s completed.

The Saran wrap needs to be changed regularly and the tattoo kept clean at all times. 

Why Is Saran Plastic Wrap Put on New Tattoos?

Your new tattoo is an open wound and as such, it needs to be looked after properly and cared for during the healing process. 

Some tattoo artists use Saran wrap to wrap the tattoo following completion as this doesn’t allow anything to get to the tattoo through the airtight covering. It also allows you to see the details of your tattoo and show it off to your friends.

If using Saran wrap to cover your tattoo you should make sure that the tattoo is kept clean and the wrap is changed regularly. Don’t use any fragranced soap to clean the tattooed area, just scent-free, antibacterial soap and water will work a treat.

The wrap should only be used for the first couple of nights. After this, your tattoo will need to be able to breathe following the initial healing stage.

What Is Saran Plastic Wrap?

Saran wrap is a thin plastic wrap that is normally used to preserve food, keeping it fresh. It’s also called cling film as it molds to the shape of what you are wrapping, making sure that all areas are covered. 

Saran wrap used to be made from PVC (Polyvinylidene Chloride), however, the company was made aware of environmental concerns about the amount of chlorine used in the packaging. This meant that in 2004 they started to use LDPE (Low-Density Polyethylene) instead. 

How Does It Help?

By using Saran wrap for the initial healing stage for your new tattoo, it keeps out any bacteria that may cause infection. It also helps you when sleeping or wearing clothing that covers the tattoo. 

You may knock or catch the tattoo on clothing or bedding so the Saran wrap will help to reduce the chances of this.

How Long Should You Use It For?

For a tattoo to heal correctly it will need to be able to breathe. It can’t do this while covered with Saran wrap so you should only use this for the first few nights. 

If you keep it covered for longer than this the tattoo won’t heal properly and you may get a buildup of blood or ink under the wrap. This can cause issues with your tattoo and can increase the chances of infection.

Other Options

Your tattoo will need to be covered on leaving the tattoo studio. While Saran wrap is used by lots of tattoo artists, there are alternatives.

You could just use a sterile bandage to wrap your tattoo. These allow air to get to your tattoo and are better for the environment than plastic wrap.

Alternatively, many tattoo artists are now using Saniderm bandages to wrap the new tattoo. These are breathable, medical bandages that will help your tattoo to heal. They also can be kept on the tattoo for longer and don’t need to be changed.


When getting a tattoo you will need to understand that it’s an open wound due to the multiple needles penetrating the skin. As such it needs to be cared for like any other wound.

Your tattoo artist will be happy to advise on aftercare and they will know the best process to follow, so don’t be afraid to ask their advice.

We hope that we’ve answered your question regarding Saran wrap. While it can be used on new tattoos, it should only be used for a short time and should be changed regularly.

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