Tattoo is a personal permanent body art. It can be a daily aide-mémoire for something that one fancies and for some a form of self-expression. Basically, it is a cosmetic procedure where the tattoo artist inserts the ink underneath the skin using a needle. Getting a tattoo is quite exhilarating. However, after getting the desirable tattoo done at a well-researched tattoo studio isn’t the end of the tattoo journey. For the tattooed skin to get healed properly and quickly, one has to take utmost aftercare of the tattooed area. Extra care is required because the newly tattooed area is a fresh wound vulnerable to infections and scarring caused by bacteria and any foreign particle.
The aftercare begins in the tattoo studio itself once the tattoo is done. Firstly, a thin layer of petroleum jelly or moisturiser is applied over the tattoo and it is covered with a bandage or plastic wrap.
8 tips to take care of tattoo are:
- Leave the bandage/ wrap on until advised by the tattoo artist. Every person is advised different time limit for the bandage’s stay period depending upon the size and location of the tattoo. One should not remove the cover look at the newly done art even out of curiosity and leave it undisturbed for few hours after the procedure or as advised. This way it will help absorb any fluid or excess ink from the tattoo.
- Gently wash the tattoo: Most of the times, aftercare advices vary from artists to artists. But the one most common advice is clean hands before touching the tattoo. After removing the dressing, the area should be thoroughly and gently washed with warm water and an alcohol free soap. This is done to remove any excess dried ink or blood.
- After wash, the tattoo should be patted dry using a soft cotton towel: Rubbing the area should be avoided. The tattooed area should be allowed to air dry until it is completely dried. This should be followed by application of a light moisturiser and leave it uncovered allowing the skin to breathe or cover it as per the artist’s advice.
- Repeat cleaning step several times a day: Until the area is healed completely. This usually lasts two to four weeks on an average. Moreover, if the tattoo frequently gets rubbed against clothes, it should be covered with a gauze/medical tape.
- Not to pick the scab or scratch the skin: Scabs will appear in the later days which should be left alone. If the area itches, gentle slaps can be given and scratching is not an option. A light moisturiser can be applied in order to minimize the itchiness. Also, the itchiness lasts for few weeks only but if the condition stays the same or even worsens, then a visit to the tattoo studio or medic for reference is necessary. However, the scabs once dried, will eventually come off naturally.
- Avoid the sunlight: Direct sunlight should be avoided if possible. Also as the tattoo heals, with time the colour also fades away. The tattoo ink remains suspended in the dermis and basically prolonged exposure to the sun results in the damage of the body art making it look dull. So, a sunscreen of SPF at least 35 should be used before stepping into the sun.
- Avoid swimming. The healing tattooed area is still vulnerable to germs, hence one should avoid swimming until the tattoo is completely dried in order to avoid any unwanted infections which can ruin the tattoo.
- Regular moisturizing. In the final stages of healing, the scabs and the dried out skin will go away. However, the area might still look dry and dull so regular moisturizing is necessary to avoid wrinkly skin.
So, on an average in a month the outer portion of the skin usually heals completely if proper care of the tattoo is taken. It may take about three to four months for the skin underneath to fully heal. After a complete three months the tattoo should look as expected, bright and prominent.
It can be said that the foremost factor of tattoo care is getting the tattoo done at a highly recommended tattoo artist. This way complication can be minimized and the healing process will be rapid. To avoid any severe skin infections following the tattoo artist’s skin care routine is of utmost importance.