How to Care for a Tattoo After It’s HealedTattoos are a fun, expressive form of body art enjoyed by millions worldwide. For those considering getting a tattoo, choosing a design and artist rank among priority number one and number two. But the process leading up to and even getting the actual tattoo is just the beginning. Tattoo aftercare is just as important as the application of the tattoo itself. It’s important to ensure that your tattoo is healing properly in order to prevent infections and to ensure colours don’t bleed out. Following your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions to the letter is the best way to make sure your tattoo will heal properly, leaving you with vibrant colouring and shading that will remain an impressive work of art for decades to come.
The Importance of Tattoo AftercareIn the past, less focus was placed on the aftercare necessary to ensure optimal long-lasting results. However, the tattoo professionals of today know just how important aftercare really is. We now know and understand the importance of keeping a new tattoo clean, free of debris and void of bacteria so that it can efficiently heal into the permanent work of art it was meant to be. Remember, while your artist will provide you with instructions, tattoo care is your responsibility and yours alone. In order for your tattoo to remain beautiful, clear, and vibrant, you need to properly care for it throughout your entire life. Any type of tattoo work opens up the skin and compromises its ability to fight off infections. Open wounds, which is essentially what tattoos are when you first get them, can let in dangerous germs and bacteria. Proper aftercare will ensure that the skin in and around your tattooed area will stay free of infection and create an environment that encourages efficient healing. But even after your tattoo is healed there are things you can do to keep it looking as fresh and vibrant as the day you got it. As you age, your tattoo ages too. And just as you have fought off dangerous bacteria from invading your newly tattooed area, you will now have to fight off the many environmental factors that can affect the way your tattoo ages with time.
Our Favourite Tattoo Aftercare
After Inked Tattoo Moisturizer delivers effective skin moisturization and helps to preserve the colours of your tattoos. There's no petroleum so it won't stick to or stain your clothes. This moisturizing skin lotion, enriched with Grape Seed Oil, can also be used on any permanent makeup procedure on lips, brows, eye liner, and areola, as well as an after-laser tattoo removal moisturizing lotion. After Inked is Dermatologist tested, non-allergenic and non-irritating.
PurSan Aftercare is a specially formulated Vegan skin cleanser used to clean and moisturize as part of an aftercare regimen for fresh tattoos and piercings. It revitalizes, refreshes and purifies skin without drying it out. Gentle yet effective, PurSan contains no parabens, fragrances, colourants or alcohol. Chloroxylenol (PCMX) is a proven antimicrobial ingredient shown to be effective against bacteria and viruses without burning or irritating the skin. Hydroxypropyl Methylcellulose (Hypromellose) is an ultra-high grade lubricant ideal for sensitive skin.
Aftercare Instructions for New TattoosThese instructions are important to follow if you want your tattoo to have a long, vibrant, beautiful life.
- Do not remove the bandage until you are told to do so by your tattoo artist. Some artists prefer that you leave the bandage or plastic wrap on for just an hour or so, while others will tell you to keep it on for an entire day. Rest assured, your tattoo artist will know which length of time will be best for you based on the type of tattoo you just received.
- Gently wash the tattoo thoroughly after taking the bandage off. Wash the tattoo carefully using lukewarm water and a soap that is fragrance-free to remove any excess blood that has dried on it.
- Gently pat the tattoo dry after it is cleaned. After the tattoo is thoroughly washed, use a paper towel to gently dry the tattoo. Always pat the area and never rub it as this will cause irritation.
- Apply a thin layer of lotion to the area. After the tattoo has been cleaned and dried, apply a thin layer of aftercare product to help keep the area nourished and moisturized.
- Wash your hands and tattoo often. The tattoo should be cleaned at least two times a day. Always wash your hands before washing your tattoo in order to ensure that the area will not be exposed to any additional germs and bacteria. Continue to use unscented soap and lukewarm water to clean the area.
- Repeat the process until you are fully healed. Your new tattoo will not be completely free from germs and bacteria until it is fully healed. A fully healed tattoo will no longer scab and peel. It is recommended that you keep regularly cleansing the tattoo for 2 to 4 weeks until you see that it is completely healed.
- Do not peel away the scab. Removing the scab will cause your tattoo’s healing to be delayed. Peeling the scab will also cause fading and an increased risk of unwanted infection.
- Stay out of the sun. When you expose your tattoo to intense sunlight and fail to apply sun lotion, your new tattoo can become damaged and fade a lot faster over time. Try to stay out of the sun, but if you cannot resist going outside to enjoy a beautiful day, make sure to apply sunblock to the tattoo as well as to the rest of your body.
- Stay out of the water. Any body of water contains bacteria that can absolutely destroy a freshly inked tattoo. Play it safe and just take quick showers until the skin has completely healed. You should also avoid swimming as harmful pool chemicals are also not gentle on new tattoos.
- Stay vigilant in the care and maintenance of your tattoo even after it has fully healed. Even after your tattoo has fully healed, continue to keep it shielded from the sun. You should also continue to regularly apply lotion and sunblock to keep the area soft, moisturized, and protected. Remember, if your skin looks healthy, then so will your tattoo — no matter how long ago you’ve had it done.
Things not to do to your new tattooIt can be tempting to scratch at a tattoo during the initial healing stages. Healing tattoos can feel itchy and tight while they are healing. But if you follow your tattoo artist’s instructions to the letter, you will have an impressive work of body art that will last throughout your lifetime. Just try not to do these things while your new tattoo is healing:
- Peel away the scabs
- Pick away at any peeling skin
- Scratch at your tattoo
- Submerge the tattoo in water from places like lakes, ponds, puddles, wash sinks, and bathtubs
- Expose the tattoo to direct sunlight
- Re-wrap the tattoo
- Slather and smother the tattoo in an excess amount of lotion
- Use petroleum-based products
- Use soaps that have fragrances or alcohol in them to clean the tattoo
- Use towels and/or dirty or rough cloths to wash and/or dry the tattoo
- Wear clothing that is too tight over the tattoo
- Exercise too soon after having the tattoo done
- Use hot water to clean the tattoo
- Use steam rooms or saunas
- Touch the tattoo with filthy hands
- Let other people touch the tattoo
Have More Questions About Aftercare?Remember, aftercare is just as important as making that initial appointment with sit down with a tattoo artist. How well your tattoo holds up to the test of time will be forever determined by how good of a job you did with your aftercare routine. I you happen to live in the Toronto, Mississauga or Kitsilano Vancouver area, consider reaching out or stopping by Chronic Ink Tattoo to learn more. Our team of dedicated and talented professionals can answer any questions you may have and can help you find a tattoo that you’ll be proud to show off.
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