You’ve just gotten a beautiful tattoo and naturally, you want to make sure you take really excellent care of it. From the second you left the tattoo shop, your tatoo artist was no longer responsible for potential problems or infections you might get from your tattoo if you don’t take good care of it. It is crucial that you follow just a few, basic guidelines for proper tattoo care. Even the most beautiful tattoo can quickly spiral into a disaster if you fail to administer proper aftercare.
The tattoo artist took the additional step of covering up your tattoo for an importan reason – to prevent bacteria from getting into the wound created by the tattooing process. Your new tattoo may look like art, but it is still an open wound. Open or exposed flesh is literal playground for harmful bacteria and causes of infection. You shouild ideall leave bandage on for at least two hours. Having a new tattoo is generally pretty exciting, and of course you will probably want to take any bandaging off so you can show it off to people, just tell them to wait.
There is one (and only one) exception to this rule – if your artist covered your tattoo with plastic or Syran Wrap. This can be very bad for a tattoo and should be taken off immediately. It’s better to have them exposed than smothered by plastic wrap.
Once the bandaging is finally removed from your tattoo, you’re probably going to want to wash it. Make sure the water is lukewarm and use a mile liquid antibacterial soap (FYI – I have found that Dial is usually – surprisingly, many generic brand antibacterial soaps work much better) and gently wash off any blood, ointment or other other gunk. Don’t use a loufa, wash cloth or anything that might be abrasive. Just use your hands.
When you’re done, gently but firmly pat the area completely dry (do not rub, just pat) with a paper towel or clean linen towl. Finish the process by applying an ointment. A lot of people like vitamin A&D enriched ointments, I personally prefer Aquaphor – if you don’t have any though any antibacterial ointment would suffice.
**Note About Neosporin: Great for cuts and scrapes, not so much for tattoos. I’ve seen some people have an allergic reaction to Neosporin which looks like little red bumps. Whenever the bumps leave, your ink goes with it, and nobody likes a red polka-dotted tattoo.**
It’s perfectly OK to shower with a new tattoo. There is a popular misconception amongst people that it isn’t OK to get a new tattoo wet; it is – you just can’t soak it is all. Fully submerging your tattoo for any extended period of time into a body of water like a hot tub or bath in a bath will often cause serious damage. Make sure you avoid both for about 2-3 weeks after getting your new tatto, that said; showering is completely safe as long as you make sure you don’t saturate your tattoo with water. Don’t worry if you manage to get shampoo or body soap on your new tattoo, just make sure you try and quickly remove it with lukewarm water. Finally swimming – for the above stated reasons this should be avoided for at least the first 2 weeks.
A few days after getting your tatto, you will probably notice some peeling maybe even a little scabbing. Be wary of excessive scabbing as this can be an indicator of a tattoo that wasn’t done well.A little bit of scabbing is typically normal though, so don’t panic. If you do notice scabbing, apply a lukewarm compress to them for around 5 minutes at least once and up to 2-3 times a day in order to soften them; don’t pick at them though, they will eventually come off on their own. At some point your tattoo will probably start to itch much like sunburned skin once it begins to heal. When it does, do not scratch or pick! If your skin is itching to the point of driving you insane – slap it. If the skin is peeling you can put lotion on it. And of course if it is scabbing, leave it be. At this statge your tattoo is close to being healed so don’t ruin it!
Once your tattoo is completely healed you’ll want to be vigilant about protecting it from the sun’s UV rays. Ultraviolet light can quickly damage or even fade the brightest and most colorful tattoo in short order.If you are planning on spending an excessive amount of time outdoors then be sure to protect your tattoo from the sun with a sunblock that has a minimum of 30SPF. Doing so not only helps protect you from skin cancer and sun damage, but will ensure your tattoo remains vibrant and brilliant for many more years to come.
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