Getting your very first tattoo is an exhilarating experience that you understandably want to show off to friends and family members. However, it is essential to follow your tattoo aftercare instructions to avoid a tattoo infection and so that your tattoo colour stays as vibrant as it can after peeling. In this post, we’ll discuss essential tattoo aftercare and the tattoo healing process to help you properly care for and protect your tattoo.
When you get a tattoo, your tattoo artist will go over the procedure with you and explain what to expect. Once your tattoo is finished, they will also go over the essential tattoo aftercare that you need to follow to allow the tattoo healing process to happen. They are the experts and it is best to listen to them. Not only will following aftercare prevent infections, but it will also help your tattoo keep looking fabulous for years to come.
Your tattoo artist will let you know how long you should leave your initial bandage on. This will generally be at least one day after getting your tattoo. For colour pieces, the wrap may need to be changed after 24 hours and then left on for another 5-6 days to help the healing process.You should wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water and gently remove the bandage. It often makes the removal process easier to remove the wrap in the shower.
It is important to remember that your tattoo is essentially an open wound for the first two or three days, so you need to treat it carefully to ensure proper healing and avoid infection. Listen to the advice of your tattoo artist for best healing results.
Tattoo studios will sometimes use a medical-grade wrap made of polyurethane-acrylic adhesive to wrap tattoos and recommend you use it for the first few days. This wrap seals to the skin as it is applied and prevents water and bacteria from getting to the skin, which prevents infection. It is also breathable and allows your tattoo to heal. It is not the same thing as plastic wrap – which should not be used.
When you change your bandages, it is very important to gently wash your tattoo with warm (not hot) water and use a tattoo cleanser or neutral soap 2 to 3 times a day. Soaps with scents or detergents could irritate your skin, so keep it gentle and unscented. Don’t wash with a washcloth or loofah because they can be too rough on your skin, just use your hands.
Gently pat dry or allow your skin to air dry for 15 minutes. For the first two or three days, you may want to use paper towels to dry your skin or designate one towel that only you use to prevent infection.
For the first few nights, it is a good idea to sleep on clean, but older sheets that you won’t mind getting stained. The first few days your tattoo can leak blood, lymphatic fluids and even ink – this is normal and a part of the healing process, but it can be a bit messy. The sheets must be clean to prevent infection. You should also keep any pets out of your bed for the first few days to limit other germs and bacteria.
After the wrap is removed, you should apply an unscented ointment or moisturizer recommended by your tattoo artist after thoroughly washing your tattoo and letting it dry completely. It is important to let your skin thoroughly dry or you could trap water and bacteria under the ointment. You also don’t need to use a lot of ointment or moisturizer, just a thin layer on your skin.
As part of the healing process, your tattoo may scab over. This is a good sign, it means that your tattoo is healing and has formed a protective layer as it repairs itself. You must resist the urge to scratch your tattoo or pick at the scabs as this can affect the healing process and give you a scar on your beautiful new tattoo. Let it peel off naturally.
It is important to avoid sunlight with your new tattoo. You should also avoid putting sunscreen on your tattoo until it is completely healed as it can cause infection, or irritate your skin and affect the healing process. Many sunscreens contain harsh chemicals that can damage your healing tattoo. After your tattoo is healed, using sunscreen is highly recommended.
Swimming: Avoid swimming with a new tattoo until the protective layer has naturally peeled off. Introducing chlorine and bacteria to a new tattoo is like taking an open wound for a swim. Best avoided until your tattoo is completely healed.
Sweating: Avoid heavy exertion and sweating for the first few days after getting a tattoo. Again it is about staying away from activity that can irritate your skin or introduce infection-causing bacteria.
Wear Tight Clothing: wear loose-fitting clean clothing while your tattoo heals. Tight-fitting clothing can trap bacteria and irritate your healing skin.
If you have any questions about your tattoo aftercare, get in touch with the tattoo artists at Sage Tattoo and Piercing. We’d be happy to help with any questions you might have or talk you through the process of caring for your new tattoo. Keep your tattoo looking its best and ensure it heals properly. Book an appointment at Sage Tattoo today for your next piece of body art.