Preserving Your Expression of Self
A tattoo is not just ink on skin; it’s a profound form of self-expression. To ensure your lifelong masterpiece stays vibrant and healthy, it’s crucial to follow the expert guidance of your tattoo artist for proper aftercare.
When you got your tattoo, you entrusted a modern, sterile studio with sanitized equipment and high-quality pigments. Your artist might have applied a touch of antiseptic cream after the process. However, the longevity of your tattoo depends on your care during the crucial initial days and weeks. Tattoo professionals worldwide have compiled these simple directions for rapid healing. We strongly recommend consulting your tattoo artist for any specific instructions related to your unique tattoo.
Key Aftercare Guidelines:
- Avoid re-bandaging your tattoo.
- Steer clear of Vaseline, lanolin, or petroleum-based products.
- Do not use alcohol.
- Resist the urge to rub, scratch, or pick at the tattoo.
- Protect your tattoo from direct sunlight, and avoid swimming or
- soaking in saunas, steam baths, or bathtubs for one week.
- Ensure that clothing touching your tattoo is clean and gentle on the skin.
A tattoo is essentially minor surgery. Initially, it may bleed slightly but should stop within a couple of hours. Most artists recommend keeping the tattoo bandaged for one to two hours (especially in warm and humid environments). Once exposed, carefully wash it in cold water, applying antibacterial soap with your fingers (if antibacterial soap is unavailable, plain water will suffice) to remove any surface blood. Rinse with cold water, pat dry gently with a clean towel, and allow it to air-dry for approximately five minutes. Following this, apply a thin layer of healing lotion sparingly. Repeat this process three or four times a day for 7 to 15 days.
Between days 3 and 7, the tattoo may start to peel, much like a sunburn. It may also form scabs. It’s vital not to pick or peel the skin, but rather allow it to shed naturally during washing or when applying healing lotion. Fresh skin will gradually replace the dead skin. Colors may appear faded during this process but will regain their vibrancy upon healing. Healing lotion keeps your tattoo from drying out and ensures the skin remains soft and moisturized. Always apply it sparingly, as excessive use can hinder skin and tattoo breathing, potentially causing color leaching. In such cases, discontinue use, wash the tattoo, pat it dry, and promptly consult your tattoo artist.
After one to two weeks, all scabbing should have disappeared, although the area may still be sensitive. Maintain regular cleaning and healing lotion application to ensure proper aftercare. The primary culprit of tattoo fading is sun exposure. However, after healing, you may sunbathe in moderation, ensuring you use sunscreen with at least SPF-30 protection, offering both UVA and UVB defense.