Last week we talked about the all important, yet often neglected, pre-tattoo care. This week we’ll be addressing its twin, the after process. We appreciate that every artist has different suggestions for aftercare. And that’s to be expected! Each artist has a technique comfortable for them, and every body is different and thus has different needs. That being said there are a few well known moves that will greatly help you in your healing process:
- Keep the dressing on your tattoo given to you by the tattooist for at least 2 hours Your tattoo is, frankly, an open wound when finished. Like any cuts you want to put a bandage on it at first to protect it until you get home.
- Remove the dressing and wash down the area with warm soapy water. Do NOT scrub or soak the tattoo & pat the tattoo dry with a towel and leave uncovered The reason you don’t keep your fresh piece covered for very long is because you want it to scab as soon as possible. The scab helps lock in the color, so any damage to the scabbing will affect how well the tattoo looks when it’s healed.
- *Apply a lotion to the tattoo up to 3 times a day & wear loose clothing to avoid irritating the tattoo So here is where we start to verge from our helpful info graphic. Here at Witch City Ink we recommend a light, scent free lotion (our artists are also big fans of Hustle Butter) whenever your tattoo is feeling tight. For those with sensitive skin, a small amount of A&D can also be helpful. But extended use of either product will affect the scab forming and thus potentially harm your tattoo. If you are using A&D you should only use it for a couple of days, and for lotion you should use sparingly for as long as needed.
- DO NOT PICK OR SCRATCH at the scab of your tattoo. This will make the healing process longer, disfigure the tattoo, remove the ink and even cause infection. Seriously, just google what an infected tattoo or a poorly healed tattoo looks like when you feel the urge to itch and you will stop itching real quick.
- Avoid swimming and being in the sun during the healing process At the end of the day the healing process is all about taking care of the delicate scab that is covering your new tattoo. Keeping a scab submerged in water or baking in the sun will only cause serious harm to the scab and thus to your piece.
- It will take around 7-10 days for your tattoo to heal, sometimes longer depending on where the tattoo is. Personal anecdote to explain this one- when I got a small tattoo on my wrist, it formed a scab within a day and was all healed up within the week. My thigh piece though, which is much larger and has color, took almost a week and a half to heal and was still tender after that. Every body is different.
- After the tattoo has healed continue to keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight. This will prevent it from fading. This last after care instruction is a universal truth! Sunlight is death to tattoos, new or old. All tattoos fade to a degree over time, but give your piece the fighting chance it deserves with sunblock and coverage during those sunny days.