Congrats on getting your first tattoo! Aftercare is just as important as getting the tattoo, if not more. Without proper post-care, you risk discoloration, scabbing and other complications during the tattoo healing process.
This post covers important aftercare tips for your first tattoo. These tips help you in taking care of the tattoo. Use these tips to ensure that the tattoo heals properly.
The Tattoo Artist’s Effectiveness Determines the Tattoo’s Healing Rate
Some artists are of the view that tattoos will heal just as clearly as when the tattoo artist gives you the tattoo. This means that if you’re getting a tattoo from an expert who’s careful during the procedure, the healing will also be quick and effective. The opposite also holds true.
Follow Your Tattoo Practitioner’s Advice
It’s important to stick to the tips and instructions given by your tattoo artist. This is because aftercare tips vary from artist to artist. Additionally, different tattoos also need different types of aftercare. So for instance, aftercare tips for a portrait tattoo will differ from those for a line tattoo. Likewise, post-care for grey VS coloured tattoos are different.
Aftercare Starts from the Tattoo Studio
You’re in the tattoo studio. The painful (or for some, pleasureful) tattoo procedure has ended. This is actually where the aftercare starts. One of the first things the artist will do following the procedure is to wrap the tattoo.
Plastic film wraps, bandages and second skin are some options in tattoo wraps. The kind of wrap your artist uses will depend on the kind of procedure you got. If it was an invasive procedure, it may require a bandage or a second skin.
Saran wraps are suitable for finer tattoos that are not very traumatic on the skin.
You are usually required to leave the wrap overnight. Try to keep the tattoo covered in the wrap for as long as possible. This promotes tattoo healing. It also means getting a brighter and more vibrant tattoo upon healing.
Wash the Tattoo
After removing the wrap, you’ll notice blood and plasma on the tattooed area of the skin. You are required to wash the tattoo. Use lukewarm water and an antibacterial soap like Dial antibacterial soap for this purpose.
Be gentle during the wash procedure. The lukewarm water helps in clearing plasma particles from the tattoo. Form suds of soap in your hand and then rub it gently on the tattoo for best results.
A soft paper towel may be used for drying the tattoo.
Dry the Tattoo
Some artists recommend moisturizing the tattoo immediately after cleaning it. Others stress the importance of letting the tattoo dry for 2-3 days before applying any ointment on the tattoo.
Again, stick with the instructions given by your tattoo artist. Generally though, leaving the tattooed area of the skin to dry for 2-3 days allows the skin to breathe and heal itself.
Start Having Your Regular Showers
When you feel that the tattoo is dry and wrinkly, you can start taking your regular showers. You do not need to overwash the tattoo at this point. Just let it be.
The more you mess with the wound, the worse it’ll get.
Don’t use lotion yet. This isn’t the best time for a workout either. Don’t go swimming. Avoid hot tubs.
Day 3-4: Moisturize the Tattoo
By this stage, the tattoo should have healed to the point that it’s now completely dry. You can apply an aftercare cream at this stage.
Some artists recommend Aquaphor aftercare cream, but its jelly nature makes the skin greasy and uncomfortable.
That’s why some artists prefer natural cocoa butter lotion for moisturizing the tattoo. Less is more when it comes to applying the lotion on the skin. Take a small amount and rub it gently on the tattoo until it completely vanishes from the skin’s surface. If some lotion is still left on the tattoo, then it means you’re using too much lotion. Reduce the amount in the next application.
Use the cream or lotion 1-2 times every day.
The tattoo may take 1-2 weeks to completely heal, though it varies from procedure to procedure.