How to Care for a Tattoo?
Most people assume that having a tattoo done safely and professionally is all that matters. That is where they go wrong. A body art is much like having your baby. Just as proper care and nurturing is necessary for your bundle of joy, aftercare is essential for your tattoo. The lack of it can give rise to infections and a host of other problems that might go on to spoil the joy of artistically adorning your skin completely. Here is how to care for your tattoo properly after you get it.
Use these aftercare instructions to ensure a proper and lifelong health of your tattooed skin spot.
The First Day
The first day is often the most important and a lack of proper care can ruin the entire art and leave you with but an ugly scar to hide for a lifetime. If you have got yourself tattooed by a professional artist, you are likely to get your inked spot covered by a non-porous material (such as a non-absorbent gauze bandage with a professional medical tape over it to hold it in place). This is used to allow the growth of a second skin and prevent bacterial infection or development of scabs in the region. You can remove it an hour after getting tattooed, although it is wiser to take the bandage off on the next morning.
Wash the Tattoo
Washing the region is important almost as soon as you remove the bandage. Run water (at normal temperature) gently over the spot and rinse it mildly with a non-fragrant antibacterial soap. Wash the area every day for 3-5 times, devoting 2 or 3 minutes to each wash-session. The first 3-4 days after getting a fresh tattoo is the time you develop scabs. Frequent washing of the inked region would negate possibilities of scab formation or reduce whatever scabs that have started to form. Pat the area very gently and let it be dried by air.
The first few days after tattooing are most discomforting and the inked skin is likely to turn dry, causing itchiness, irritation and other discomforting sensations. Apply a cream over the spot to lessen the dryness. Use creams, or ointments, that contain Vitamin E which acts as a natural moisturizer and promotes healing.
Caring for a Peeling Tattoo
A few days after getting a fresh tattoo, you are likely to notice some scabbing and even peeling in the area. Formation of too many scabs can be indicative of a badly done tattoo, although moderate amount of scabs are natural and nothing to worry about. Warm moist compression over the scabs for around 5 minutes, for two or three times a day, is likely to soften the scabs and make them eventually fall off. It is better for you to allow a softening scab to turn dry on its own and not apply any lotion/ointment over it. If it is peeling, apply some lotion over the area. Do not scratch the spot, however it might itch. Gently rub over it with a soft towel or handkerchief to alleviate itchiness. In case of a severe allergenic reaction or infection in the spot, contact a doctor immediately.
Caring for a Tattoo at Night
Before sleeping at night, lightly wipe the region with a little alcohol and a small cotton ball. This would help control or even prevent the growth of microorganisms in the tattooed skin area while you are asleep. Wear loose, comfortable clothes at night and for at least two weeks after you have got a tattoo done. This would promote raid healing of the area.
Long Term Care
Once your inked zone has healed, apply a generous dose of sunscreen lotion (a 30SPF sunblock at least) over the spot before going out into the sun. This would protect your tattoo from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun and keep your inked spot bright and glowing for many years – making it the most cherished spot on your body.
The Craft of Tattooing by Erick Alayon.
Tattooing A to Z: A Guide to Successful Tattooing by Huck Spaulding.
Total Tattoo Book by Amy Krakow.
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