Tattoo aftercare is the most important aspect of anyone’s tattoo journey after choosing the tattoo design and getting the ink done at a studio. Post tattoo care is not something to take lightly. It is important to know how to take care of a tattoo the best way possible.
1. Follow the Advice of the Tattoo Artist
Tattoo aftercare service varies from one studio to the next and sometimes even artists in the same tattoo studio will have different ideas of what works best. Listen to the instructions given by the tattoo artist. Most studios have a leaflet with the advice printed out for one to take away.
2. Gently Wash the Tattoo After a Few Hours
It is advisable to leave the covering/bandage on the tattoo for the first 2 to 5 hours after getting inked. Next, remove the covering carefully and wash it gently with lukewarm water and non-perfumed mild liquid soap.
3. Apply Unscented Moisturizing Cream
A thin layer of unscented moisturizing cream should be applied on the tattoo. The tattoo artist will recommend a particular brand. Depending on the artist’s advice, one can either leave the tattoo open to the air or covered with gauze/clingfilm. Studios will generally recommend that the cleaning process be repeated 3 to 5 times a day.
4. Keep the Tattoo Dry and Clean
The tattoo should be kept clean and dry. It should not be soaked in water for at least one month except for showers and baths. If clothes are likely to rub on the tattoo, it should be kept covered with clingfilm/gauze and medical tape.
5. Avoid Direct Sunlight
The tattoo should not be exposed to direct sunlight unless absolutely necessary. Healed tattoos, particularly the colored ones, easily fade in the sun. When the tattoo is completely healed, it should always be covered in a high SPF sunscreen if it will be exposed to direct sunlight.
6. Exercise Patience with Healing Times
Healing times usually depend on how well the tattoo heals as well as the size of the design. It can range anywhere from about one week for simple designs to several months for larger and more complex designs. It is important to follow the aftercare instructions from the artist and ensure that it is clean and properly moisturized for several months after that and avoid abrasive skin products.
7. Avoid Scratching
The tattoo may flake or scab slightly as it heals. It is important to avoid picking it since this can remove the ink in the area and lead to patches being removed or fading. If the tattoo itches, avoid scratching and instead slap it lightly. It should only last for the first few weeks. If it itches uncontrollably, stays raised, keeps bleeding for a day or two, or is continuously hot to the touch, seek medical advice or go back to the artist. Infected tattoos are quite rate but can happen, so get it checked out if you are worried about it.
The Bottom Line
It is important to care for a new tattoo from the moment one gets out of the tattoo artist’s chair to the remainder of your life. These tips on how to take care of a tattoo should be followed diligently to have a crisp, sharp, and colorful looking tattoo for the longest time possible.