What's the most important thing you should do after getting a tattoo? Grab a beer! (Just kidding.) Taking care of your new tattoo is the most important step, so below are the do's and don'ts of Tattoo Aftercare.
-This is arguably the most difficult part of the tattoo process. I know your tattoo is sore or itchy but you must take this process seriously.
-Once you're home with your freshly wrapped tattoo. Try to relax. Elevate the area that got tattooed (above your heart if possible). Start the recovery process by drinking plenty of fluids and eating well.
-Leave the bandage on for the rest of the night (at least 8 hours).
-The next day is when you will start the physical aftercare process. Take a shower avoiding direct contact with the water until it is time to wash the tattoo. Using a mild soap (avoid bar soap, and anything with perfumes) like Cetaphil or Dr. Bronners, wash the tattoo thoroughly. Be sure to pay extra attention to anywhere the blood mix, plasma, etc has pooled or dried, make sure the tattoo is free from any of these spots.
-Let the tattoo air dry or pat it dry with a clean paper towel. Be sure not to use your bath towel.
-After washing the tattoo, apply an ointment. Avoid anything with petroleum products if you can. Make sure you really work the moisturizer in to the tattoo. Hustle butter, H2Ocean, Redemption are all great alternatives. The tattoo should barely shine after rubbing in the ointment. Using too much ointment is just as detrimental to the healing of the tattoo as is neglecting it.
-I recommend, at a minimum, washing the tattoo 3-5 times per day. You should wash your tattoo and apply ointment anytime the tattoo feels tight, dry, itchy, or dirty. As long as you are properly moisturizing the tattoo you can not wash it too much. Cleanliness is key to a fast and healthy heal.
-Continue this vigorous routine until the tattoo has finished peeling and is no longer shiny.
-Throughout this process be conscious of the tattoo. A fast and healthy heal is based on several things. Eat well, hydrate and keep your tattoo clean.
Things to avoid during HEALING
-Do not pick or itch your tattoo.
-Do not sleep on your tattoo. Example, if the tattoo is on your back, sleep on your stomach. Not only will the tattoo become stuck to your clothing and linens, it will leave a lovely imprint on your sheets. Should you wake up and your clothes are stuck to your tattoo, do not rip them off, for this could result in ripping off scabs. Instead wet the area of clothing that is stuck to the tattoo with warm water and it will become unstuck.
-Do not submerge the tattoo in any fluid. Do not go swimming or soak in the tub or spa. Do not use the sauna. No ocean, lake, pool, jacuzzi, until the tattoo is healed. Showers are okay but be mindful of the duration under water.
-Stay out of the sun! Getting sunburnt or over exposing your tattoo to UV light can cause some serious problems. Think of your tattoo as like healing a bad sunburn, you wouldn’t want to get more sun on it. If you're going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear loose cotton clothing over the tattoo.
-DO NOT wear tight clothing that rubs on or around the tattoo. Some key areas where this is common is around the pants line and the bra line. Try to wear loose fitting clothing over the tattooed area so that its breathable, or if you're not in public, go without! Also, the first couple days of healing the tattoo will tend to weep or “ooze” in the colors of the tattoo that tend to stain fabric, so, be mindful of your attire.
-Do not over work the tattooed area. EG: if you are a gym guy/girl, don't be until the tattoo is healed. Over working the tattooed area can result in scabbing and poor healing. Working out will also cause you to sweat which is also not good for the tattoos healing process. CLEANLINESS is of utmost importance!
After your tattoo is healed
-In order to keep your tattoo looking good for as long as possible, it is important to keep your skin moisturized, and when your going to have prolonged sun exposure, use sun block to help avoid fading. UV light is not a friend of anything with potential to fade!
NOTE: there are several ways to heal a tattoo, this is just my recommendation. If you have a healing method that has worked and feel comfortable with that method, then imply it! Any questions and concerns should be directed to your artist, not your friends, or family!