Getting the tattoo healing process right is essential if you want your tattoo to come out looking sharp, vibrant and healthy.
And why wouldn’t you? I mean, think about it. By this point, you’ve likely put a lot of time and effort into your new ink.
You’ve considered everything you need to before getting a tattoo. You’ve carefully selected your design and found an artist who can bring it to life for you. And then you’ve sat through a number of uncomfortable hours actually getting the tattoo.
So why ruin everything now?
The time in which your tattoo is healing is critical. So below, you will find some crucial tattoo healing tips for getting the tattoo healing process right.
Removing Your Bandage/Wrap
You’ll leave the studio with your new tattoo wrapped in cling film or some sort of protective film such as Second Skin or Dermalize.
It will feel hot and sore, similar to sun burn. And you’ll be desperately wanting to remove the dressing to show everyone your new artwork – but don’t. At least not for a few hours, anyway.
Your artist should give you some advice on how long to keep your bandage/wrap on for. It could be 2 hours, it could be 24. It’s always best to follow their advice. Seriously – they do this every day. They know what they’re talking about.
Once you’ve removed your dressing, you’ll need to immediately clean your tattoo.
Cleaning Your New Tattoo
At this point, it’s important to get your tattoo clean. While inside the protective film, it will be have oozed, and you need to clean this residue away where possible.
To do this, run a sink of warm (but not hot) water, and mix in some gentle, fragrance-free antibacterial soap. It’s also important that you don’t use soap with alcohol in as this will hurt your already sore tattoo, as well as dry out the skin.
Gently rub your tattoo with the soapy water and try and clean off as much as you can. If you aren’t able to get some of the blood/ooze off with a gentle rub, that’s not a problem. Leave it for now, it will come off at a later stage.
Once clean, dry your tattoo off by patting/blotting it with a paper towel, or letting it air dry.
You should continue to do this throughout your tattoo’s healing process to ensure it’s clean and healthy.
What To Avoid During Early Stages
In the first few days, there are a couple of key things to avoid to help your tattoo heal properly.
Firstly, do not submerge it in water. If you’re usually a bath person, you will need to take showers for a while. To begin with, keep them as short as possible to avoid unnecessarily exposing your ink to water.
Secondly, avoid exposure to the sun. As well as this, don’t use any form of sun lotion on your new tattoo until it has fully healed.
Keeping Your Tattoo Moisturised
Throughout the tattoo healing process, it’s important to keep it moisturised. This is one of the most important tattoo healing tips.
You should be using a gentle, fragrance-free moisturiser or aftercare lotion. People use a variety of products, ranging from coconut oil through to nappy rash cream. If you’re unsure of what to get, ask your artist for some advice.
Apply this once your tattoo is dry, after you’ve washed it, and ensure that all of your ink is covered in a thin layer.
Don’t over do it with the lotion, as this can also be problematic for your new tattoo. A thin layer is enough.
The Flaky, Itchy Phase
Around a week or two after getting your tattoo, it will have scabbed over and have become flaky.
This is where the real fun begins. Not only will it be more itchy than you could imagine, guess what – you won’t be able to scratch it.
At this point, the outer skin will begin flaking off. Just let it’s do its thing in its own time. Don’t pick at it, or try to help it along in any way as this could cause the ink to be patchy or faded.
Simply make sure you’re cleaning it and using lotion. And whatever you do – do not scratch! This could also damage your new tattoo.
Long-Term Tattoo Aftercare Tips
Your tattoo fully healing isn’t the end of the aftercare journey. You should continue to take steps to ensure your tattoos look their very best on an on-going basis.
For best results, keep your tattoos protected from the sun. When exposed to sunlight for periods of time, keep them protected with sun lotion to minimise fading (once they’re fully healed, that is).
As well as this, keep your skin moisturised and healthy. As the canvas that your tattoos are drawn on, if you keep your skin in top condition, your tattoos will follow suit.
And there we have it. Follow these easy tattoo healing tips in the weeks following getting your new ink and it should come out looking vivid and well-defined once fully healed.