After months of thinking up a design in your head and searching for an artist to make it come to life, you finally got your new tattoo. Now, you have to take care of it delicately over the next few weeks or risk ruining your new piece of art. You do not want to endure that pain again to fix an improperly healed tattoo. Here are some rules to follow after you get a tattoo:
Listen to your tattoo artist
Aftercare advice can vary from place to place or even between different artists in the same studio. Regardless, listen to the artist that did your tattoo. Most will give you a small sheet of paper with instructions. If you happen to lose this paper or do not have it handy, keep reading on. If there was specific instructions your artist had specific to you because of the size or location of your tattoo, get in touch with them.
Gently wash the tattoo
After the first five hours you got your tattoo, it should be okay to remove the dressing and clean the tattoo gently with warm water and mild antibacterial soap. Be sure to lather the soap in your hands first before putting a small amount on your fresh tattoo - do not rub a bar of soap directly on it.
Apply a thin layer of unscented lotion
Once you wash your new tattoo, you will need to put moisturizer on it to prevent your skin from drying and cracking. You do not need to spend money on specially made tattoo creams and ointments - just make sure you choose unscented lotion to prevent irritation. You can also ask your artist for recommendations. Depending on their advice, you will either need to recover it with gauze or leave it exposed. Generally, you will need to do this process twice a day - once in the morning and again in the evening for about a week.
Keep the tattoo dry and clean
Avoid soaking the part of your body that was tattooed in water for at least a month. Showers that are less than 15 minutes with lukewarm water are okay, but you should not take baths or swim in a pool or hot tub. Wear loose-fitting clothing around the area so that fabric does not chafe against it.
Stay out of the sun
Try to limit your tattoo's exposure to direct sunlight. The sun tends to fade tattoos, especially coloured ones, so you will want to shade it while it is still healing. That is why it is better to get inked after summer so that it is easier to keep your tattoo out of the harmful rays of the sun. Even when it is finished healing, you should keep it covered when you are in the sun and always use sunscreen with a high SPF to preserve it.
Healing times can vary depending on the size and location of your tattoo. Be consistent with the aftercare instruction you were given to make sure it heals properly.
Resist the urge to itch it
This is easier said than done, but it is advice you will want to follow strictly. After about a week or so of getting your tattoo, you may start to notice it get flaky or scab. Avoid picking at it or risk removing some of the ink in the area and leaving your design patchy. The feeling should only last for about another week or so. If it does not subside after a week or gets worse, seek medical advice. Infected tattoos are not common but it can happen and should be checked out immediately.
Go back for touch-ups
If after about six weeks you start to notice parts of your tattoo have faded or the ink has flaked off, contact your artist for a touch-up. You may need to do this as years go by depending on how much sun exposure your tattoo gets.
If you have any questions about your new tattoo or want an old one to look like new again, book an appointment with Arcane Body Arts. Our trained and experienced artists can make your idea a reality.