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I’ve gotten seven tattoos in my lifetime and plan on getting many more at some point in the future. Hopefully within the next year or two I’ll get my half-sleeve. But my big sister, who I never in my wildest dreams imaged she would get a tattoo, is getting a tattoo. And that made me feel rather inspired to write about how to care for your new tattoo. Now I generally follow the instructions I receive from my tattoo artist on what to do which is basically the same every where I’ve went. And has insured my tattoos healed quickly and prevented them from become infected. As tattoos are basically just wounds filled with ink that was purposely placed on our bodies to create pieces of art.
- Leave bandage on as long as tattoo artist recommends for the piece. Sometimes they say 1 hour, others say no more than 4-5 hours, and others have you leave it on for 12 hours. Just do whatever they recommend for the tattoo. Once the bandage has been removed, do not re-bandage!
- Wash your tattoo thoroughly with hot water. And make sure you are using a mild, liquid, unscented soap.
- Pat dry with a clean paper towel. Then let air dry for one hour or more before applying aftercare.
- Apply a thin layer of lotion. This needs to be fragrance free and preferably has Vitamin A and Vitamin D. The reason you want fragrance free is because lotions or soaps with fragrance have chemical additive that will irritate the tattoo as it heals. And the reason for a thin layer that you need to massage into the skin is so your skin gets moisture without blocking it from breathing. Allowing the skin to breathe help your pores from becoming clogged which can lead to the tattoo incorrectly healing or cause infections.
- Keep the tattoo clean with soap and water. Like any other wound, the key to proper healing is keeping the tattoo clean. Just like every other step, make sure it’s fragrance free. And just continue to repeat the process for about a week or two. Eventually the tattoo will start to peel like a sunburn, let the flakes/scabs just fall off on their own. Picking or scratching at them can cause blank spots that need to be touched up.
- No sun or soaking water. That means no swimming pools, Jacuzzi, ocean, or baths. Though showers are fine don’t let your tattoo be over exposed to the water. As it can cause blank spots. Sun will also cause the tattoo to fade. Both during the healing process and after. Though after just make sure they have sunscreen/sunblock on it to keep them looking new longer.
- After you’re all healed: Most tattoo artists would love to take a nice healed portfolio picture and make sure everything looks good. Also if needed almost every tattoo artist I’ve gone to offers free touch up work for the first year. In case any blank spaces appear or things don’t look quite the same after they heal. Though changes to the tattoo can result in a small fee.