When you get a tattoo done, the artist will give you some detailed post tattoo care instructions, and it is vital that you follow them properly. Policies vary from tattoo artist to tattoo artist, but if you fail to follow their instructions and the tattoo does not heal correctly, then you could be faced with some expensive touch-up work to make it look the way that you and the artist had envisaged.
Each artist has their own opinions when it comes to post tattoo care, so you may hear different things from different artists, but you should still listen to them because they are basing their recommendations on your skin, the area they worked on, and the type of work they did, as well as the size of the piece.
One of the most popular post tattoo care steps is to wrap the tattoo in cling film before you leave the shop, and you may be advised to change the wrapping periodically and to keep the tattoo covered for up to 48 hours. Some tattoo artists use a specialist wrap which is similar in appearance to cling film, but that is designed specifically for tattoos. If you are told to keep the tattoo covered, then do so. The covering will protect your skin from infection. When you change the film, rinse the skin (but don’t soak it), and pat the skin dry with a soft towel, taking care not to rub too vigorously.
Some artists will recommend covering the tattoo when you leave the shop, but then after the first night will say that it’s OK to leave the tattoo exposed to the air. If you treat your tattoo this way, you will probably find that it scabs over more quickly, whereas keeping it covered the scabbing will take a little longer to appear. Take care not to knock the tattoo, and don’t pick or scratch at the scabs – let them come off naturally.
When it comes to moisturizing, you have a few choices. Some artists say it’s OK to use unscented creams such as E45 or vaseline. Some say that unscented nappy-rash creams are OK as well. Other artists prefer that people stay away from creams as much as possible and just use water. This could be a matter of personal preference, or simply to avoid a situation where someone buys a cream that will irritate the skin.
There’s certainly no need to pay for expensive tattoo after-care lotions or creams. Your skin will heal by itself and the most important things are to make sure that you keep it clean and dry. Don’t get sweaty immediately after getting work done. Don’t wear anything tight over the affected area, and don’t pick or scratch at the work. When you do wash the tattoo, don’t soak it, just rinse it, and don’t rub too hard with a towel to dry off – patting will do the job. If you remember those key points, you should find your skin heals well.