Best Tattoo Aftercare Healing Practices From Day 1 to Age 100
New ink. Either a f*** it decision or months in the making. Either way, your tattoo artist (hopefully) got the job done, mastered the design, and you are ready and impatiently waiting to show your new tattoo to the world. But as we all know - it’s not as quick of a turnaround or timeline as we would like. There’s a process for tattoo healing - a systematic approach some of the most stellar and knowledgeable tattoo artists share with their clients in order to keep the tattoo vibrant and bright. It’s easy to ruin or fade your new tattoo if you do not care for it properly. Even worse, your tattoo could become infected or you may have to get it touched up frequently or even fully re-done. Luckily, proper tattoo care is not difficult, but it is necessary. It can take up to 3 months for your tattoo to be fully healed. But, with the right care and products - your tattoo will be bright and vibrant sooner and stay in perfect condition longer.
So think back to your latest tattoo appointment - what did your tattoo artist tell you again about how to best heal your new tattoo? What were the specific instructions? (Note: If you really can’t remember, and your artist didn’t tell you - it is time to switch tattoo artists. Aftercare should be #1 priority if you don’t want your new ink to fade. And we are quite positive you don’t want it to fade.)
Let’s recap what we hear from the most talented tattoo artists around the world:
DO Keep that Bandage On!
This is not optional. For the first few hours, 3 at a minimum, wear the bandage that was initially put on your tattoo. Why would you want to show off your healing tattoo when you know it’s not yet what the final product will look like? What’s a better seller - a book with only half the pages or a complete novel? Easy. Just wait. In a few days your tattoo will be looking brighter and better. Then, show it off to everyone. And when you do remove your bandage (after 3 hours) please wash your hands and dry them before you take it off. Germs and infections are no fun and you don’t need this healing process to take more time than normal.
DON’T Use Products with Chemicals and Fragrance During the Healing Process
You can lightly (and with clean hands) wash your tattoo with a fragrance free soap following removing your bandage. Be careful to not overdo it. Remember, your tattoo needs to heal on its own, without the help of any pesky fragrance filled soap.
DO Take it Easy on Days 1-3 (and After If You Want to Be Extra Careful)
And by this we mean, don’t go run a marathon in the squelching Arizona heat with a UV Index of 10 and the sun directly on you. Please, we beg you, avoid direct sunlight. The sun is a large factor in tattoo fading and a faded tattoo isn’t a good look. After the tattoo is healed, find a product that has SPF in it - but not while it’s healing. Also, don’t go soaking in a hot tub or pool. A quick shower is fine - but we want your tattoo to HEAL. It might ooze, but that’s part of the healing process. Keep your tattoo clean and let it breathe.
DO Drink your Water and Don’t Wear Tight Clothes
Although you should be doing this on a regular basis, despite having a new tattoo or not, stay hydrated. Water intake and skin are highly connected. Drink more water. Have better skin. Keep your tattoo fresh. Also, don’t wear tight clothes until your tattoo is healed. Water + Air = healed and vibrant tattoo.
DON’T Pick at Your Scabs or Itch Your Tattoo
As most know, days 1-3 aren’t too pretty. But they will be over soon enough. So, no picking at the scabs. Focus on the end result. When your tattoo begins to dry out, your first instinct may be to itch it. Don’t. Find a product that has soothing and healing benefits. Focus on a moisturizer or balm that is specific for tattoos. (Note: we didn’t say lotion - there’s quite a difference between tattoo aftercare and lotion.)
DO Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize and Continue to Moisturize
Like we mentioned before, do not pick, peel or irritate your tattoo and the skin around it. Keep your brand new tattoo looking brand new. We want you to want to show all your friends and family your tattoo for decades to come. Make a routine out of it. Wake up - moisturize. Go to bed - moisturize. Not only is moisturizing needed after a few days of having your tattoo done, it’s needed for the rest of your life.
DO Read Tattoo Aftercare Ingredient Labels
Focus on tattoo aftercare that is natural and has ingredients that you can pronounce. If you want your tattoo to stay vibrant, care about what is in the product that you put on it. There are many toxins that are being hidden within products. Purchase clean products and share them with your friends. Friends don’t let friends buy tattoo aftercare products that could harm their skin due to their poor ingredients.
These are some key DOS and DON’TS that we find most important. However, if your tattoo does become infected after you get it done- we recommend you see a doctor and figure out what’s happening. Listen to your tattoo artist and keep a good tattoo aftercare regimen with clean products.
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