Getting a tattoo is a big decision, and while the payoff may be excellent, you have to be sure you know how to take care of your fresh ink. There are certain steps you need to take depending on the type and size of artwork you got. Proper maintenance and care are necessary for a beautiful, long-lasting tattoo. So, in this article, we’ll go over some essential tips and tricks for proper tattoo care.
What to Do Before You Leave the Parlor
Before your artist even starts to ink you, they will clean their equipment and be sure to take their time and make sure the entire design is correctly outlined. Once they are done and they cover the area with a bandage or some type of wrap, you’ll need to be sure to listen to their advice on how to care for your tattoo properly. Make sure to ask them any questions you might have so that you’re 100% sure of how best to take care of it. Here are a few steps you should take before you leave the parlor:
• Ask your artist what kind of aftercare product is best for your tattoo
• Make sure to get their advice on how to keep your new artwork protected
• Clean all remaining ink from your skin
• Ask the artist to demonstrate how to apply the aftercare product
• Be sure to keep gauze, cotton balls and other necessary items with you
Instructions From the Artist for Aftercare
Once you’re ready to leave the parlor, it’s time to properly care for your new tattoo. As previously mentioned, make sure to pay attention to all the advice your artist gives you. Here are a few other ways to keep your new ink looking great:
• Remove the protective bandage or wrap within 2-4 hours of getting your tattoo.
• Clean your skin with mild soap (preferably without fragrance) and warm water 2-3 times a day.
• Apply a thin layer of ointment or cream to your tattoo 2-3 times a day.
• Wear loose clothing.
• Avoid soaking your tattoo in water.
• Keep your new tattoo out of direct sunlight.
• Stay away from swimming pools, saunas and hot tubs.
Things to Avoid During the Healing Process
Your tattoo is an open wound and needs to be treated as such. During the healing process, you should avoid certain activities and behaviors. This includes:
• Touching, scratching, and picking your tattoo.
• Wearing tight clothing, as this can lead to discomfort and/or infection.
• Excessive sun exposure, as this will cause fading and/or burning of your tattoo.
• Smoking or drinking alcohol, as doing so can slow down the healing process.
• Sweaty workouts and exercise – this can lead to friction and cause discomfort or infection.
• Swimming or soaking in water – this can lead to infection and fading of the tattoo.
Signs of Healing: What to Look For
Your tattoo should begin to heal in around 2-3 weeks. During this time, you may notice some skin peeling, redness, or scabbing. This is totally normal, however you should take notice of any changes as they may indicate an infection or other problem. If your tattoo is scabbing or peeling, don’t pick at it or pull the scabs off. You should also watch out for these other signs of healing:
• New skin forming over the tattoo
• Fading of the pigment
• Reduced redness or inflammation
• Reduced itchiness and general discomfort
How Long Does a Tattoo Take to Heal?
The healing process for a tattoo can take anywhere from 2-4 weeks, depending on the type and size of artwork you got. During this time, it’s important to keep your new tattoo away from anything that can cause irritation, such as germs, sweat, dirt, etc. This will ensure that your tattoo heals nicely.
Taking Care of Your New Tattoo: Long-Term
Once your tattoo is healed and the pigment is fully set, you should still take care of it to ensure a long-lasting beautiful piece of art. Here are some important tips and tricks to help protect your tattoo in the long run.
• Wear sunscreen. You should always wear sunscreen (at least SPF 30) when exposing your tattoo to direct sunlight. This will help prevent the colors from fading and keep your tattoo looking vibrant.
• Moisturize. Keeping your tattoo hydrated is just as important as keeping it protected. You should use a moisturizer (preferably without fragrances) to keep your skin soft and prevent it from cracking.
• Avoid contact with harsh chemicals. Avoid swimming in chlorine-filled swimming pools or contact with other harsh chemicals when possible. This can cause your tattoo to fade or the color to discolor.
• Be mindful when shaving. If your tattoo is in an area that needs regular shaving, remember to apply a thin layer of shaving cream or gel before you begin. This will help keep your skin moisturized, reducing the risk of irritation or infection.
Getting a tattoo is a big decision, so it’s important to take the time to learn how to properly care for it. Every type and size of tattoo requires different care, so it’s essential to ask your artist for advice on how to keep your new ink looking great. Pay attention to the signs of healing and try to maintain proper hygiene and protection to ensure your tattoo lasts for years to come. Following all of the above tips and tricks will help keep your tattoo looking vibrant and stunning.