Whether you have a full tattoo or are considering your very first tattoo, the topic of tattoo tracking is one that will be at the top of your list of considerations every time you walk into a tattoo studio.
After all, there’s no point in spending all that time, thought, and money getting a tattoo if you’re not going to take care of the part after the ink.
Lauren Winzer knows this all too well. The famous tattoo artist and ambassador of Bepanthen Tattoo, has been tattooing clients – including Miley Cyrus – for years at the Sydney studio Hunter and Fox (I was inked here, I can recommend). She took the time to share her wisdom with the audience at Lifehacker Australia, via email.
Here are Lauren Winzer’s top tips for tattoo aftercare
1. Do not play with your skin before entering
So, you have chosen a tattoo artist, a design and a date. How exciting! You may be filled with nervous energy or just want to help move the process forward, but Winzer said it’s a bad idea to play with your skin too much before getting a tattoo.
“There is no need to over-moisturize, wax or shave the area – your tattoo artist will do this for you during the consultation,” she explained.
“The most important thing is to come with a good stomach, without sunburn and without too much alcohol in your system.”
Put down the beer. Heated tattoo sessions are a bad idea, okay?
2. Your new tattoo is basically an injury – treat it like one.
Regarding the tattoo itself, Winzer said most people assume “it’s actually a long needle going through your skin.”
In fact, getting a tattoo involves “many small needles that” point “very quickly, up and down, all over the skin, creating a straight line. The ink gets into the wound that the needle has created in the dermis, the second layer of the skin ”.
These ink-filled “wounds” will then form and begin to heal. The aftercare helps the healing process, but more than that, Winzer stressed that it is an essential step if you want to “make sure it looks the way you and your tattoo artist wanted it to …”
“Bepanthen Tattoo’s ‘thINK before you INK’ tattoo culture report found that only 4 in 10 (42%) inked Australians love their first tattoo as much as they did the first reveal, and I would bet it’s because they didn’t take care of it, ”she continued.
“Following up with an ointment helps the skin actively heal after the tattoo needle punctures it and helps repair its natural barrier from within. Keeping the skin hydrated, but not wet, during the healing process ensures that the ink heals in place and the “scab” does not turn into a scar.
3. There are a handful of tattoo aftercare sins you should avoid
In a nutshell, Winzer said your best move is to listen to your tattoo artist’s advice on after-ink care. But there are huge no-no’s that stay consistent with every tattoo.
“Do not go out in the sun without adequate sun protection (tattoos can fade when exposed to UV), do not apply a fake tan or perfume to the area while the skin is still healing because it could become infected (depending on the ingredients in these products), [and] don’t go swimming in chlorine for the same reason, ”Winzer said.
On top of all this, she added that if you use soap on the area, it should be fragrance-free and “made from goat’s milk or other mild ingredients.” Avoid anything that exfoliates the skin and stay away from “anything that contains peppermint oil – it can hurt!”
If you want Winzer’s tattoo aftercare routine, she recommended washing your tattoo with lukewarm water (soap is not always necessary), applying a thin layer of ointment – her suggestion is Bepanthen Tattoo, naturally – and reapply each time your skin around the tattoo feels tight.
“You’ll know your tattoo is completely healed if it isn’t raised when you lightly run a finger over it,” she said. The time frame for this will depend on the design and placement of your tattoo, but three weeks usually works as a rule, Winzer explained.
Now go ahead (if COVID-19 restrictions allow) and successfully register.