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Can You Take Saniderm Off Early?

photo of woman s face covered with plastic

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Saniderm is a plastic covering for healing tattoos. How long you should leave saniderm on is highly contested amongst different artists. If you trust your artist, you will always want to listen to their aftercare advise because they know your tattoo best. Your artist may recommend replacing your saniderm with new saniderm after a few hours or they may recommend leaving your saniderm on for several days.

If the saniderm was placed perfectly and is in an area that doesn’t move too much, there should be no issues. However, saniderm placed in areas with too much movement (near the elbow or knee for example) will start to come off and may be hard for you to keep in place very long. And if the saniderm wasn’t placed correctly, you can start to accumulate sweat and lymph under the plastic, in which case you will need to remove it.

Saniderm is simply a tool that can be used to aid the healing of your tattoo. If you need to remove it early, it won’t hurt the tattoo – you just won’t have the additional help.

How Soon Can You Remove Saniderm?

At the very least, you should keep saniderm in place for at least 8 hours. Different artists will recommend leaving saniderm on for different amounts of time. In general, 24 hours is a good amount of time to leave it on and you can replace it with a new sheet if desired.

There are a number of reasons why you may need to remove the saniderm early. Some people have issues with saniderm because they might have an irritation to the adhesive. If saniderm gives you any additional irritation, you’ll want to remove it. Other people may have naturally more fluid build up than others. If you begin to notice a fair amount of fluid trapped under your saniderm, you’ll need to remove it.

What To Do if Saniderm Starts Peeling and Coming Off

It’s natural for the adhesion to wear off on saniderm – especially if your artist recommended leaving it on for a prolonged time. If it’s just the edges peeling up on your saniderm, you can ignore it and just try to be as gentle as possible to the remaining saniderm. But if the saniderm begins to lift up in the middle, it’s time to just remove it. If you want the tattoo to remain covered, you can apply more saniderm yourself. You can ask your artist for extra saniderm if you know you have issues with fluid build up or have had issued with saniderm staying in place before.


While it’s best to listen to your artists after care advice, there are times when it’s simply not possible. But don’t worry: nothing terrible will happen if you need to remove your saniderm before you were told. Saniderm is simply a tool for easily healing your tattoo – it’s not absolutely needed and you can safely remove it at any time. If your saniderm begins peeling up on its own or becomes full of fluid, you’ll need to remove it. If desired, you can replace it with a fresh sheet of saniderm so your tattoo will remain covered.