From heartfelt mother-daughter tattoos to artistic watercolor tattoos to reconstructive tattoos after surgery, there are plenty of reasons to get a tattoo – all of them valid. But if you want your tattoo to continue to look freshly inked long after it’s been done, it’s important to follow the proper aftercare guidelines.
Why is tattoo tracking important?
According to a New York-based tattoo artist Ghinko, who has a residence at Bang Bang Tattoo, tattoo aftercare is just as important as skin care. “Like the way we take special care of our face to keep it hydrated and healthy, you also need to hydrate, [apply] sunscreen and exfoliate your body to make your tattoos fit your skin well and age well, ”she explains.
What’s the best way to take care of a new tattoo?
- Keep it wrapped at first. Often times when you get a tattoo, the artist will wrap it in cling film to protect it for the first few days to keep bacteria out and avoid chafing. “Depending on the size and the artist’s advice, you will need to keep your tattoo wrapped in cling film for one to three days,” says Ghinko.
- Apply sunscreen carefully. Avoid direct sun exposure for the first month after your tattoo and be sure to apply sunscreen with at least SPF 30 on your tattoo whenever you are in the sun to prevent fading.
- Find a hydration balance. Be sure to listen to your tattoo artist and apply soothing products and creams that will reduce itching, scarring, and tissue damage. Moisturizing your skin helps speed up the healing process.
- Lightly apply the occlusives. “People tend to over-apply Aquaphora or healing creams, but you’re actually supposed to apply a thin layer each time, so that your skin can breathe as well, ”says Ghinko.
- Treat it with care. “Treat a new tattoo like new stitches,” Ghinko says. “Take it easy.”
What you should not to do after a tattoo?
- Drink alcohol excessively. Ghinko advises not to drink a lot before or after a tattoo. This is because alcohol thins your blood, which might cause you to bleed more than you normally would during the tattooing and healing process.
- To go swimming. “When a new tattoo is exposed to a swimming pool or a lake … you can cause irritation and infection, ”says Ghinko. Avoid swimming for two to four weeks after tattooing.
- Sunbathe. During the first month after your tattoo, avoid sun exposure to avoid fading and color distortion.
- Over-hydrate. Some hydration is essential, but according to Ghinko, it’s also important to let your skin breathe as it heals.
- Stripe. Tattoos tend to itch as they heal, but resist the urge to scratch which can irritate or tear the skin. Instead, Ghinko says to slap him lightly.
What are the best products for tattoo aftercare?
- Aquaphor healing ointment. For best results, spread a thin layer on the skin two to three times a day for the first few days after a tattoo and rub in completely.
- A + D Skin Protector First Aid Ointment. This is another ointment that is best applied in a thin layer two to three times a day for the first few days after tattooing.
- Hustle Butter Deluxe tattoo care and maintenance cream. Formulated specifically for tattoos, this cream can be applied two to three times a day until your new tattoo has healed, and can also be used beyond to keep your tattoo hydrated.
- EltaMD UV Restore SPF 40. UV light fades tattoos, so it is important to protect them from the sun’s rays. Apply sunscreen to your ink every two hours, not just the first few months after getting a new tattoo, but every day.
How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?
Ghinko says it really depends on the size and how you take care of your cool ink, but you can expect a tattoo to heal. within two to three weeks. Don’t worry about the weird healing phases that can happen in between. “Bigger tattoos [tend] to have intense itching during the peeling phase, ”says Ghinko. It is normal for tattoos to peel or flake off during the first week or two after getting a tattoo, just make sure you don’t attack them.
What if my tattoo gets infected?
With proper care and a reputable artist, you should be able to avoid infections, but that doesn’t mean they don’t happen infrequently. If you think your tattoo might be infected, see a doctor immediately. Signs it’s time to call your doctor: fever, chills, pus coming out of the tattoo, red lesions or streaks, and raised skin around the tattoo.
How do I take care of my tattoo in the long term?
Sun protection is the most important aspect of tattoo aftercare. “Just as you take care of your face to keep the skin young, you should do the same with the skin that contains your tattoos,” says Ghinko. “For long-term care, you should always use sunscreen on tattoos. “If your tattoo starts to fade or warp, remember: you can always come back to it for a touch-up.
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