So you’ve just got a new tattoo at the studio and want to know how to take care of your tattoo? Then you are in the right place. This guide will teach you the necessary aftercare techniques to ensure that tattoo heals as quickly as possible. Tattooing exposes the skin to bacteria and germs since it is essentially a wound. You have to maintain a favorable environment from the start to the end of the healing stages. Here is what you should do:
When being tattooed, ink is introduced into the dermis layer of the skin. Here, is sets in and changes the pigment of the skin around the area. Phagocytes (white blood cells) engulf the ink and prevent it from flowing under the skin hence maintaining the pattern set by the tattoo artist. Since the body treats this as a wound, the tattoo will heal in these stages:
Scabbing will occur a few days after tattooing. Most of the times the scabbing will be light, but for heavily inked areas, the scabs can be thicker. Do not pick them or pull them off, let them fall off themselves. If you pull out scabs prematurely, you will also pull off the ink in deeper layers which have not set in and potentially ruin your tattoo.
After the scabs fall off, your skin will start peeling off. You might be tempted to peel off the flakes of skin. Just like the scabs, peeling skin can still be connected to ink and pulling them can remove ink from under the skin. Also, you should not scratch at your tattoo at all. Scratching can remove scabs and develop deeper scars which can take long to heal or cause permanent scarring.
Environment Of The Healing Tattoo
Knowing how to take care of your tattoo means understanding which environment you should avoid until it heals. These include:
Submerging In Water
You’ve probably heard that you shouldn’t go swimming with a fresh tattoo. Water bodies such as baths, swimming pools, ponds, puddles and lakes harbor bacteria and germs which can cause infection to the tattoo. If you get in contact with such water, clean it with antibacterial soap that is alcohol-free.
Exposure To The Sun
Probably the number one tattoo enemy, the sun. A fresh tattoo can be blistered by the sun and get swollen. The tattoo being sensitive can be affected by UV rays which cause damage and fading. Always keep your tattoo covered in warm weather.
What Not To Do
Apart from scratching and peeling the tattoo, avoid rewrapping the tattoo. After it is initially unwrapped, do not rewrap it unless the artist advises you to do so. Rewrapping will suffocate the area making it heal poorly. Also, you should avoid smothering the area in ointment or lotion. As with rewrapping, a thick layer of ointment will prevent the tattooed area from getting enough air which is crucial if you are interested in how to take care of your tattoo.
Avoid using abrasive cloths to dry your tattoo as it is the same with scratching or removing scabs. It is better to use a paper towel to carefully blot the area. Hitting the gym too soon can stretch the affected area and slow the healing process. You should also avoid petroleum-based skin care products and alcohol based soaps and disinfectants. And finally, avoid touching the tattoo with your dirty hands, or you will reintroduce germs to the healing wound.