That final coat of Aquaphor has been layered on your new tattoo and it’s been wrapped so you can head out into the world with your new ink; now what?
Caring for your tattoo after your finished getting one is important. Letting rust set in on your car or the paint to fade and peel on your house aren’t recommended courses of action for your possessions; so why wouldn’t you take great care of your skin and body? Especially for a piece of art you just spent a bunch of money on.
Please take your tattoo artist’s advice. They’ve been hammering ink into people’s skin for a while now and know what to do. Taking care of a new tattoo is usually boiled down to a few easy steps.
WHAT TO DO
- Keep your tattoo wrapped for 2 – 4 hours. You’re going to want to do everything in your power not to unwrap your new tattoo once you leave the shop. Your artist has already rubbed anti-bacterial ointment and wrapped it up, in order to keep your new tattoo from airborne bacteria and avoid infection. The bandage should be left on for a minimum of two hours before you remove it.
- Carefully remove the bandage. After the two to four hours after your tattoo has been completed, it’s time to unwrap your new art. Tattoos covered in plastic wrap are the exception to the rule; plastic wrap should never be left on a new tattoo for longer than two hours.
- Gently wash the tattoo. Using lukewarm water and mild, unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap use your hands to rub the tattoo gently, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink from the area. This helps prevent the tattoo from scabbing too soon. Do not use a washcloth, loofah or any sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may harbor bacteria and can damage your skin in the process.
- Pat the tattoo dry with a paper towel. After thoroughly washing the tattoo, gently pat the tattoo dry with a paper towel. Do not rub the tattoo, as this can cause irritation. Once the excess moisture has been removed, let the tattoo area air dry for 15 to 20 minutes. This will allow the tattoo to breathe and any excess moisture to evaporate.
- Apply a non-scented, water-based anti-bacterial ointment. Once your tattoo is dry, it’s time to apply a thin layer of A&D, Aquaphor or another water-based antibacterial ointment. The thin layer should be just enough to make the tattoo shine and rub it in gently until it’s absorbed by the skin. It’s important not to apply too much ointment, this can lead to suffocating the skin and encouraging bacteria growth.
- Continue to wash and moisturize your tattoo, at minimum, twice a day until the tattoo is healed. You should continue to wash your tattoo with anti-bacterial soap and warm water until it is fully healed. This can take anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on the size and location of the tattoo.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Do not scratch or pick at your tattoo. As the tattoo heals, areas of the tattoo may begin to scab. This is normal, and the scabs should be allowed to dry out and fall off by themselves. Helping the process along prematurely can cause the scabs to fall off prematurely, leaving holes or light spots on your tattoo.
- Avoid soaking the tattoo. Until your tattoo is fully healed, you should avoid swimming in a pool, in the sea, soaking in the bathtub or even direct water applications in the shower.
- Do not expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight. Sunlight is the worst enemy of new tattoos and the harsh rays of the sun may cause your skin to blister and bleach some of the colors from your tattoo. It’s best to stay out of direct sunlight for two to four weeks depending on the healing period of the tattoo area.
- Avoid tight-fitting clothes. Make sure your new tattoo isn’t being rubbed by tight fitting clothing. This can add to the tattoo area becoming chaffed and developing scabbed or rubbing off scabs. This should be kept in mind when working out as well.
- Avoid swelling. Swelling may occur with new tattoos on your feet, ankles or calves, especially if you have been standing for long periods of time. You can help reduce the swelling with elevating the area, taking an inflammatory or applying ice.
IN THE FUTURE
Sun block is your new best friend. Just like the paint of a car or house, tattoos can fade over time if placed in direct sunlight. To avoid this, you should use higher levels of sun-block (50 spf or above) and avoid direct sun light as much as possible.
Moisturizing your skin is the way to go. Your skin and tattoo will look fresher and last longer if you keep your skin moisturized.
Any questions please give us a call. 509-438-5533