Caring for Your New Tattoo
Tattoo aftercare is a question that has been around since as long as the tattoo, and is also a question that has been debated by many. How to properly care for a tattoo has been argued by the professionals and by the people getting the tattoos. Every single tattoo artist has their own favorite concoction and their own idea as to the best way to care for a new tattoo. If you were to ask a bunch of different people how they cared for their tattoos, you will almost definitely get a different tattoo aftercare method from each of them. The fact is that most of the methods are better than none, but some are just hype and can actually harm your tattoo. Directions on how to care for your new tattoo are pretty simple as long as there is no tattoo infection present.
The very best place to learn about tattoo aftercare is the place where you got your tattoo from the person who gave it to you. Almost every artist has their own detailed aftercare for tattoo directions that they will give to you. Most of the time the process of aftercare is explained to you by the tattoo artist at the end of your session, the artist may also then give you a tattoo aftercare sheet to take home. If you are still uncertain as to how to accurately care for your new tattoo, don't feel ashamed by asking for explanation. Don’t forget, the artist who did the tattoo wants your tattoo heal just as much as you do. Tattoo artists want to have a good reputation of inking nice looking tattoos and it is very important to their shop’s success.
When you are all done getting your new tattoo the artist will then cover the tattoo with a bandage. Usually with a breathable and absorbent material, many tattoo studios have started to use plastic wrap. Plastic wrap is used for the simple fact that you will not wrap and un-wrap the tattoo several times to show people before you are able to get home and care for the new tattoo properly. Using a piece of plastic wrap is a bad idea however because it creates a seal that air can’t pass in and out of and infection grows in warm moist conditions. A clean paper towel and surgical tape is the best bandage.
Once you get home with you new tattoo it is crucial that you follow these basic tattoo aftercare needs:
- Follow any special instructions your tattoo artist gives you.
- It is recommended leaving the bandage on your tattoo for 3 to 4 hours.
- Keep your hands and fingers away from your healing tattoo as much as possible.
- Very gently wash your tattoo with an antibacterial soap (liquid dial) and your fingertips. Tattoos should be gently washed 2 or 3 times a day.
- Rinse your new tattoo indirectly. Don't hold your tattoo under the running water. Splash some water over it until it is no longer soapy. Try not to let the water from the shower run directly on a new tattoo just for the first few days.
- Pat it dry gently with a clean paper towel and leave it alone for about 20 minutes or until the skin feels dry and tight.
- While the tattoo is healing, only shower. Do not take baths and soak the tattoo. Try to keep as much water off the tattoo as possible during showering.
- Once your tattoo is dry, apply a moisturizer. This is where the debate on aftercare starts. Petroleum jelly does help protect the skin, but it can clog pores in the healing tattoo and pull ink out, fading the tattoo. Vitamin A & D ointment is less likely to pull ink but it can still clog pores. Tattoo goo is designed for tattoos it has vitamins, protects better than any other moisturizers for tattoos. Tattoo goo is sold at most tattoo shops and works very well.
- Make sure to keep the new tattoo well moisturized and when it starts to peel DO NOT pick the scabs. Let them fall off on their own.
- If your tattoo itches, don’t scratch it!
- After your tattoo is healed, apply sunscreen before exposing it for long periods of time to the sun. The sun’s UV rays are your tattoo’s worst enemy. Sunlight will cause the tattoo to fade.
If your tattoo gets enough air and you keep it moisturized you should get a nice result. Tattoo aftercare should be simple, and cut and dry. If your tattoo is still red and swollen a couple of weeks after you should make sure that the tattoo is not infected.
In about three months time, your tattoo will be completely healed. When you are ready for your next tattoo, take a look at the amazing gallery over a Chopper Tattoo. They have the largest collection of award winning tattoo designs for you to print out and take to your local artist to use as your next tattoo.
Urine or spit were used for mixing tattoos because they were easily attainable and worked well as a mixing agent for soot and brick dust that were used for pigments.