By Katalina Mitchell
A tattoo is a commitment, not just because the ink is permanent, but because the upkeep required afterward is a lifelong responsibility. Whether you just joined the club, or your ink rivals Kat Von D, here is some key post-tattoo information and skincare guidelines to stick by.
1] Wrap it up.
As pretty as it may be, a new tattoo is considered an open wound. Skin is extremely sensitive and irritable after undergoing the trauma caused by the abrasive procedure. It is important to keep skin protected from airborne bacteria, which may lead to infection, by wearing a bandage. Keep the bandage on for a minimum of two hours after leaving the shop.
2] Rinse. Lather. Repeat.
After removing the bandage, the wound needs to be disinfected. With your hands, gently apply lukewarm water with mild, liquid antibacterial soap directly onto the skin and wipe. Pat dry with a cloth or paper towel. Apply a light coat of antibacterial ointment, such as A&D or Aquaphor, to keep the skin hydrated. Repeat as directed for 3-5 days.
3] Lotion is Your Friend.
Once the initial swelling and redness subsides, you can begin to apply lotion. It is best recommended that the lotion be dye, fragrance free, and from a credible brand such as Jergens, Nivia, or Lubriderm. Apply lotion regularly to the tattoo from now on to keep skin hydrated.
Be a flake.
Peeling and light scabbing are perfectly normal reactions so don’t panic. The key here is not to pick or scratch. Instead, apply warm compresses to scabs, and hydrate peeling skin with an oil-free lotion.
H2O Do’s & Don’ts
Submersing a new tattoo in water can cause serious damage. You can shower the day you get your tattoo, but do not immerse it in water. Avoid swimming and shaving for at least 2 weeks. Less contact with water means faster healing time.
No tanning allowed.
Stay away from the sun or tanning beds for the first few weeks after getting your tattoo. UV rays cause tattoos to fade quickly. They also increase your chances of developing skin cancer. Always wear a minimum of 30 SPF when spending time outdoors to keep your tattoo vibrant.
Reactions to the ink can occur within hours of getting a tattoo or even years later. If you experience an abnormal skin reaction, contact a dermatologist immediately. This can be a sign of skin disease. Check your tattoo regularly for changes in appearance to prevent undiagnosed conditions.
Proper tattoo aftercare is essential. The better you care for your tattoo, the longer it will hold its vibrancy which in the long run means less touch-ups. Following these simple rules will ultimately keep your skin healthy and your tattoo in great shape.