If we’re going to be committed to having something permanent and meaningful embedded in our skin, we want to know that it will look as fresh ten years from now as it did the day we took the plunge.
Stained lines and discoloration are not the look that we dig, so it is important that before the tattoo artist takes care of the tattoo themselves, we familiarize ourselves with the tattoo aftercare to play our part in its maintenance.
Whether you’re taking inspiration from celebrity tattoos or looking to start your skin art with something small and intricate when the lock comes up, the permanent inking of your skin will need some care afterwards.
We asked the tattoo artist Hayley hayes for his best aftercare tips, which, if you stick to it, will ensure your ink stays in pristine condition.
As for the worst thing you can do to your new tattoo? That would be applying hydrogen peroxide (a bleach that is found in some household cleaning products and even in shampoos and conditioners, so be sure to check the ingredient list. You don’t want it to leak out. on your new tattoo in the shower). Hydrogen peroxide messes up ink and discolors it like no other ingredient can. Ouch.
So avoid that and do the following instead …
1. Stretch film for colored parts
Not all tattoos need to be wrapped in cling film; it depends on the size and location. When it comes to large, colorful pieces, Hayley says it’s wise to wrap them up. “Small parts only online should be ok.” Having said that, “if the tattoo is to be under clothing, it is best to wrap it, especially if the tattoo is more than just a line drawing.” Leave it wrapped for as long as your tattoo artist recommends, but at least two hours to prevent airborne bacteria from entering.
2. Keep it clean but not soaking wet
A fresh tattoo is indeed a wound, so it is important to keep it clean in order to avoid infection. “It will need to be cleaned regularly, especially in the first 24 to 48 hours,” says Hayley. When you remove the wrap, clean the tattoo with anti-bacterial and fragrance-free soap or lukewarm water, pat your skin dry, then apply a thin layer of anti-bacterial fragrance-free moisturizer on top. Make sure you’ve washed your hands first. You can wet your tattoo with short showers, but “it should not be submerged or soaked”, such as bathing or swimming, for at least two to three weeks.
3. Avoid too much sun and be very diligent with sunscreen
While your tattoo is healing, avoid the sun as much as possible or wear clothing that protects the area from the sun, especially if you have a colored tattoo. “Once she’s healed, regular sunscreen should be fine to use,” says Hayley. “If you want to keep the color vibrant, use a high SPF.”
4. Don’t choose
If it wasn’t already obvious, the colorful tattoo post-care is a bit different. This is because colored tattoos often mean more trauma to the skin and a longer healing time. But whatever tattoo you choose, whatever you do, says Hayley, avoid picking any scabs. You want to make sure that you touch your tattoo as little as possible. “The picking will tear off the ink and likely cause scarring, making it difficult to touch up,” says Hayley. So let any flaking come off naturally.
5. Hydrate twice a day
Keep your tattoo well hydrated while healing with a good fragrance-free moisturizer. “Apply 1 to 2 times per day, or just when the skin / tattoo is dry, which may vary depending on your skin type, size and location of the tattoo.”
6. Good skin means good tattoos
It’s that simple. Anything that’s good for your skin – diet, drinking plenty of water, and being careful in the sun – will also benefit your tattoo.