Have you just had a tattoo drawn on your skin for the first time? Chances are that you were excited that the design that you have in your head has finally become a reality. Although a tattoo is both a personal and permanent work of art, it is also a wound like any other. This is because the ink is normally injected into your skin using a fast-moving needle present in a tattoo machine. Therefore, there is a need for you to preserve your tattoo so that it can look good for ages. If you are a first-timer, you may not know where to begin when it comes to tattoo aftercare. In this article, we shall take a closer look at tattoo aftercare tips and other facets that you should know about tattoos so that you can know them better.
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Why Does Tattoo Aftercare Matter?
First and foremost, you will note that a tattoo is more than just a piece of art. In fact, it goes beyond asserting your personal style on your skin. Like we have mentioned above, it is a medical procedure as well. This is because a needle is normally used to insert or inject ink under your skin. Remember that any time your skin is opened or perforated, you will be vulnerable to infections. Therefore, tattoo aftercare is very essential in ensuring that such health complications are kept at bay.
Also, this goes a long way in ensuring that the tattoo heals well. Although you may have gone to a reputable and licensed tattoo artist, there is a need for you to take care of your tattoo at home. This will greatly enable it to look good even after many years.
What are the Essential Tattoo Care Tips?
When it comes to tattoo aftercare, there are many tips that can help you get started. However, it is vital to note that tattoo aftercare commences once your tattoo is done. Here are some vital tattoo care tips on how to heal a tattoo in a week and so forth.
1. Cover the Tattoo Up
Once the tattoo is done, the artist will cover the tattoo with a thin layer of antibiotic ointment and then cover the area using a plastic wrap or bandage. Covering the tattoo is vital as it prevents bacteria from getting into your skin. In addition, it helps absorb any excess ink that may leak from the tattoo.
Besides this, it prevents the tattoo from rubbing onto anything such as clothes and so on. If this happens, you may feel irritated. It is important that you keep the dressing for the duration stated by the artist. This period may vary. However, in most cases, it is many just a few hours after the procedure has been undertaken.
2. Wash the Tattoo Gently
You can now wash the tattoo a few hours after leaving the artist’s premise. Here, you will start by removing the covering gently. After that, use water and soap to wash your hands. This will go a long way in removing any germs that might be present on your hands. Once you are done, time is ripe for you to wash the tattoo.
Ideally, you should use warm water and a fragrance-free soap. You can even use a combination of an alcohol-free moisturizer and a fragrance-free soap on your tattoo. Once you are done with cleaning, you can now let the tattooed area remain uncovered.
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3. Wait for the Tattoo to Heal
As you wait for the tattoo to heal, there are a number of tips that you should consider. They include:
4. Do Not Re-Wrap the Tattoo
Once you have cleaned the tattooed area, it is important that you avoid re-wrapping the tattoo. By doing this, you will be cutting off the much-needed oxygen, and this can suffocate your skin. In fact, this prevents the skin from breathing.
If unchecked, this can make the tattooed area not to heal well and can even damage the ink. Also, this can lead to serious infections and can damage your tattoo. To avert all this, you should let the area remain uncovered.
5. Do Not Touch the Tattoo with Dirty Hands
Your hands are bound to get dirty from time to time. Since the tattooed area is like any other wound, it is important that you avoid touching the area with dirty hands. This is because you will be exposing the tattooed area to infections. For the first 7 to 10 days, you should always touch the tattooed area with clean hands only.
6. Avoid Using Hot Water on the Tattooed Area
Remember that your skin is usually very sensitive during the healing process. If you run hot water over the tattooed area, you might experience some irritation. Your skin may open up and make the ink start leaking out. To avert such scenarios, you should only use lukewarm water to clean the tattooed area.
7. Resist the Urge to Scratch the Tattooed Area
It is no secret that a healing tattoo can get itchy. However, you should not scratch the tattooed area as it heals. Instead, you should wash the area using lukewarm water. You can even use fragrance-free antibacterial soap so that you can leave it clean and fresh.
Better still, you can apply some tattoo aftercare lotion or cream. By doing this, you will reduce the urge of itching. You can even invest in one of the best ointments for tattoos, and you will enjoy the results. As long as they are natural, be sure that you will be good to go.
8. Limit the Period You Spend Basking in the Sun
Although sunshine is good for our bodies, too much of it can damage your skin. When it comes to tattoos, you should avoid the sun’s UV rays which can be detrimental to that area. Remember that fresh ink is normally very sensitive to these rays and can get damaged within a short period of exposure.
Instead, you should try to keep your tattooed area covered in case you have to go out during the first 6 to 8 weeks. Even if the weather is not sunny, you should keep the area covered all the time. Once the ink has healed, you can invest in a good sunscreen cream or lotion. This tattoo aftercare tip will help your tattoo look good for many years.
9. Do Not Shave a Freshly Tattooed Skin
By shaving this area, you will be pulling away the skin, and this might interfere with the tattoo. Instead, you should let the hair grow during this period and later shave it. You can even wear some loose-fitting clothing in order to cover up the area.
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10. Go Slow on Your Exercises
Although working out can help you remain fit and lose weight, it may strain your immune system a bit. Once you have had the tattoo done, it is imperative that you take a break and not engage in rigorous exercises any time soon. This is because the tattooed area might start sweating, and this might open up the skin pores present in that area.
Consequently, this will increase the risk of bacterial infection and can even damage the tattoo. Instead, you should take a break and only engage in simple exercises that will not result in a lot of sweating.
11. Avoid Swimming
Most people normally like swimming during their leisure time. However, this is not advisable once you have had a tattoo done on your skin. In fact, you should avoid baths or any exercise where your body will be in a water body for hours. Generally, you should avoid these undertakings for the first 4 to 6 weeks.
If you submerge your fresh tattoo in water for too long, it may get damaged. Remember that your skin is like a sponge and can absorb water. Since you would not want a waterlogged tattoo, it is imperative that you avoid swimming and baths for quite some time.
Also, since you do not know how clean the water is, the tattooed area might be prone to infections. For instance, chlorine, which is mostly present in swimming pools, is detrimental to the tattooed area. If it comes in contact with the affected area, you might experience peeling, drying and itching on that area.
12. Wear Loose Clothes
Although wearing tight-fitting clothes may make you feel presentable, these clothes might make you experience some irritation on the tattooed area. This is due to the friction between the clothes and the tattooed area. As a result, you might experience some irritation, rash and can result in scars. To avert all these problems, you should wear loose clothes as the tattoo heals.
13. Limit the Use of Tattoo Creams or Lotions
Smothering the tattooed area with some tattoo creams can help it heal faster. However, applying too much tattoo care cream can prevent the area from breathing. In fact, the area will not heal as fast as you would desire.
Ideally, you should only apply a thin layer on the tattooed area. For optimal results, you can apply it several times in a day. By doing this, you will keep the ink more moisturized. In case you apply too much tattoo care lotion or cream, use a paper towel to dab off the excess lotion or cream.
14. Stay Away from Steam and Sauna Rooms
Since steam and sauna rooms will expose the tattooed area to extreme heat and humidity, it is important that you stay away from them for quite some time. Remember that excess heat and humidity can be detrimental to the ink applied to your skin.
Such conditions can lead to intense sweating as your body’s thermogenesis is bound to increase. For optimal results, you can take a break of about 4 to 6 weeks before visiting a sauna or a steam room.
15. Do Not Scrub Your Tattoo with a Towel or a Cloth
As your tattoo heals, it is important that you wash the tattooed area using clean hands. Ideally, you should gently rub the tattooed area using lukewarm water. If you have some antibacterial fragrance-free soap, you can go ahead and utilize it.
Thereafter, remember to rinse the area off with some lukewarm water. If you have to use a towel, ensure that it is clean. As you dry the tattooed area, you should gently pat it dry and not scrub like you would do with any other body part.
16. Do Not Allow Pets or Other People to Touch Your Tattoo
Ideally, the tattooed area should always remain clean. If you allow other people or even pets to tough the tattooed area, you will be exposing the area to infections. For instance, you may never know whether the people touching your tattoo have clean hands or not. Better still, your pet might have germs on its skin, and this might lead to infections. For optimal results, you should be polite and tell them not to touch the area until it has healed fully.
17. Limit the Use of Mineral, Petroleum, or Oil-Based Products
When looking for the best ointment for tattoos, chances are that you will come across a myriad of them. Although some of them might claim to offer the much-needed tattoo care, they may contain some toxins that might be harmful to your tattoo. Some good examples include Bepanthen, Neosporin, Aquaphor, Bacitracin and so forth.
Since these ointments usually contain antibacterial properties, they may end up suffocating the tattooed area during the healing phase. For optimal results, you should consider buying your personal natural tattoo aftercare ointment before the tattoo session begins. You can even bring it along on that day you will get inked.
18. Limit the Intake of Sugary or Junk Foods
Most people normally like taking sugary or junk foods from time to time. In fact, a number of snacks are known to be junk foods. Although these foods are appealing to many, they may result in immune suppression. You will note that sugar is responsible for causing inflammation. Consequently, this tends to lower the immune system, and this can lead to cancer and other related diseases.
If you have had your tattoo done lately, you should take foods that boost your immune system. After all, this is like a wound like any other. For it to heal fast and get better results, a strong immune system is paramount. This is the reason why you should reduce the intake of excess sugar and junk foods until it fully heals.
19. Reduce the Intake of Alcohol
Some people might choose to drink out as a way of celebrating their new tattoo. After all, some term this as one of their main milestones in life. While having fun this way may seem to be a good idea, it can be detrimental in the long run.
Ideally, you should avoid taking alcohol before and after the tattoo session. This is because alcohol is known to be a blood thinner and thus can slow the entire healing process. Besides this, it may lead to a number of infections. Therefore, you should shelf it for a while and take it after your tattoo has healed.
20. Reach Out to A Doctor in Case of Any Complications
Sometimes, the tattooed area might start swelling abnormally. Other times, you might experience some irritation in that area every now and then. If you experience any of these effects, you should contact your doctor or tattoo artist for further assistance. Chances are that these professionals will offer a number of insights that will help you avert these problems on the go.
How Long Should I keep My Tattoo Covered?
Ideally, you should keep your tattoo covered for about 2 to 4 hours after the tattoo session is over. If you are using a protective tattoo film, you can keep the area wrapped for about 3 to 4 days.
How Long Does It Take for a Tattoo to Heal?
Typically, your tattoo will heal within a period of 2 to 3 weeks. However, you should continue with the tattoo aftercare tips as illustrated above for a period of 6 months. It is said that the tattoo will truly heal 6 months after the tattoo session.
Should I Drink More Water After the Tattoo Session Is Over?
Yes. Your body needs to remain hydrated all the time. Also, your skin needs to remain moist and supple for a fast healing process. This is the reason why you should drink more water after the tattoo session.
Since you would like your tattoo to remain attractive for many years, it is important that you take care of it using the ideas mentioned above. This will go a long way in preventing chances of your tattoo fading and instead will look more appealing. You will also avoid health complications that might come as a result of infections. Consider these tips on how to take care of a tattoo today, and you will not regret it.