Getting a tattoo is an amazing feeling but maintaining it is difficult as even slight negligence and carelessness can wreck an intriguing piece of body art and turn into a disaster. The most important thing that you need to remember is that once the tattoo is complete, resist the temptation to open the plastic wrapped on your tattoo and never touch your new tattoo with dirty hands.
Your tattoo has been done under clean, professional conditions using the utmost modern sterilization techniques and the finest tattooing pigment available. Now it’s completely up to you to take proper care of it. Chances of infection or damage to your new tattoo are minimal if aftercare instructions are followed correctly.
So, how can you make sure that your new tattoo is something you don’t end up regretting? Follow these steps while your new tattoo heals.
First 3 Days:
Leave the bandage that you received after the tattoo for 2-6 hours (No more than 10 hours). This bandage is there to keep air-borne bacteria and other contaminants in the environment from invading your wound.
Before cleaning or touching the tattooed areas, wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water. Treat your new tattoo as an open wound.
Carefully remove the bandage. If it sticks, gently wet any applied bandage and gently pull off so as not to damage any scabs or dried matter. Don’t force its removal!
After removing the bandage, cleanse the area with mild soap and water then rinse. Do not scrub the tattoo or rub with washcloth or towel. Pat dry with a clean dry towel and let the tattoo dry completely (approx. 10 min).
Lightly apply a thin layer of a mild medicated ointment such as:
Specialty tattoo products such as Whiskers Tattoo Cream/Tattoo Balm
You do not need to re-bandage.
Don’t panic if you have a reaction to your aftercare product. You may be sensitive to one of the ingredients. Although not a major problem, it does happen. The skin can react in a few ways from redness to irritable itchy skin, to a white pimple like spots. If this occurs, stop using your aftercare product and lightly wash off the remaining product from your skin. A reaction to a product should settle down within 24-72 hours.
If you are still experiencing a problem after 14 days, it would be doubtful that the aftercare product was to blame and it may be you have had a reaction to the ink. This is possible even if you have been previously tattooed without any problems. Should this occur, contact the studio for advice from the artist. It may also mean a visit to your physician if the problem persists.
Make sure the tattoo is kept very clean and apply ointment 3-4 times a day by cleansing any old ointment and applying a thin layer of fresh ointment (only enough to make the skin shiny). Do not allow your tattoo to become dry. If a scab does form, do not pick at it, but allow it to heal on its own.
After 3-5 days:
Switch to a fragrance free lotion or gentle moisturizer as needed until completely healed. It is best to use a moisturizer with aloe or vitamin E as this will help heal damaged skin. Regularly moisturizing a tattoo helps to keep the skin soft and the colours bright. Also, the sun can irreversibly damage even a well-healed tattoo so remember to use a good sunblock with strong SPF when spending time outdoors.
Healing generally takes 14 days in a normal healthy adult. As it heals, expect to peel similar to sunburned skin.
Itching is expected. Do not scratch the tattoo!
Do NOT use Vaseline or other petroleum jellies
Do NOT use heavily medicated antibiotic ointment such as Neosporin
Do NOT use iodine, peroxide, or alcohol-based product.
Most problems occur from:
- Scratching or itching a new tattoo.
- Tanning or swimming before the tattoo is healed.
- Using inappropriate amounts or types of aftercare products.