Cannabis Science

How Long to Leave Saniderm on a Tattoo

woman with tattoos on her arms

One of the telltale signs that you got a new tattoo is the Saniderm that the tattoo artist puts on it. If you haven’t gotten your first tattoo yet and are just in research mode, Saniderm is a clear film placed over a tattoo. Saniderm protects your new tattoo from bacteria as well as promotes healing. Protecting your tattoo with a bandage initially is an important part of tattoo aftercare. However, you don’t need to keep your Saniderm on forever. You actually shouldn’t. You shouldn’t even have Saniderm on for the duration of the healing process. Let’s discuss how long to leave Saniderm on a tattoo.

Photo: Unsplash

How Long to Leave Saniderm on Tattoo

According to Saniderm, you should keep your first Saniderm tattoo bandage on for anywhere between 8 to 24 hours. 

After you get a new tattoo you may notice that it starts to release fluids or weep. This will be a great indicator of when you need to take off the Saniderm tattoo bandage. Your Saniderm will naturally start to weaken when your tattoo has been weeping for a while. 

If you notice that your tattoo is weeping a lot and your Saniderm is weak before the 8-hour mark, you can replace it with a new one.

However, according to Saniderm, regardless of how the tattoo bandage is holding up, replace it at the 24-hour mark. 

Your second bandage can stay on longer than the first one. Saniderm says you can keep it on for 3-6 days however 6 days is ideal. 

However, if you find that your tattoo is weeping a lot, looks irritated or the bandage is simply coming off, you can replace it with a third one. 

A good rule of thumb is that you shouldn’t keep Saniderm on for more than 7 days. 

When Do I Stop Applying Saniderm to Tattoo?

As we said before, you don’t keep the Saniderm tattoo wrap on forever. 

Saniderm says that once the flaking or scabbing phase of your tattoo healing has begun, it’s time to ditch the Saniderm. The flaking or scabbing phase should arrive around the second week of healing. 

Healthline, on the other hand, says once that you remove the original bandage, do not apply another one. They said that your tattoo needs to breathe and rebandaging could delay healing. In addition to a delay in healing, there could be scabbing. The delay in healing and the scabbing are due to the lack of oxygen and extra moisture.

Talk to your tattoo artist so you can both decide what’s best for your tattoo. 

Regardless of how long you leave it on, make sure to keep the area clean and moisturized afterward. A tattoo typically takes 2-3 weeks to heal. However, the skin under the tattoo needs about 4-6 months to heal.

As we always say, tattoo aftercare is so important for your tattoo to heal properly and limit the chance of infection. In addition to cleaning and moisturizing, protect your tattoo from the sun and limit products with alcohol. 

Where to Buy Saniderm Tattoo Bandage

The good news is you can get Saniderm in a variety of places. The first Saniderm wrap would be provided by your tattoo artist when they’re done with your tattoo. You can also get Saniderm bandages online, pharmacies and other stores. 

Can I Use Saran Wrap Instead of Saniderm?

Even though saran wrap may seem similar to Saniderm, it is not an appropriate alternative. 

Harv Angel, a tattooist, who was quoted in Pacific Daily News says not to use saran wrap. They said, “Saran wrap does not absorb the blood and other body fluids that come from a fresh tattoo.”

Angel continues, “You want the tattoo wrapped in a sterile bandage, something that’s absorbent. Saran wrap is a no-no.”

Saniderm also implies that saran wrap isn’t ideal. They said, “Unlike Saran Wrap, Saniderm is a medical-grade, breathable, waterproof tattoo bandage.”

It’s not that you have to use Saniderm, but your bandage must be sterile so that it doesn’t  get infected. 

Did Saniderm Ruin My Tattoo?

If you’re having second thoughts about using Saniderm wraps on your tattoo because you think it may ruin it, we’ll tell you that the opposite is true. 

Saniderm protects your tattoo from infection and helps it heal faster. 

Saniderm says, “…customers report that their tattoos retain more of the vibrant color of fresh ink after using Saniderm, compared to tattoos that have healed by other methods.”


There is conflicting information about how long to leave Saniderm on a tattoo. However, there’s consensus that your tattoo has to be bandaged when it’s new to avoid infection. The original tattoo bandage should be removed no later than one day. However, if you’re going to reapply, you may be able to leave it on for several days at a time as long as the tattoo isn’t weeping too much. It’s generally believed that when it gets to the scabbing phase, a Saniderm tattoo bandage won’t be necessary anymore. That would happen around week 2. Whether you choose to keep it wrapped for 24 hours or one week, make sure it’s what is best for you and your tattoo.


About Trevann

Trevann is Stoner Rotation’s Jamaica-based lead writer for the Science section of our cannabis blog. She graduated with honors receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of West Indies, Mona. For the last three years, she has covered some of the biggest questions around cannabis and health underpinned with research from supporting studies, medical journals and scholarly articles. Got something on your mind? You can reach her at [email protected].