Now, you have your fresh new tattoo, and you want to take good care of it! From this point on, your artist is not responsible for any infection or problems you may have with your tattoo if you don’t take proper care of it. It is very important that you follow these guidelines. A really beautiful tattoo can turn into a disaster if the proper aftercare is not taken.
Leave That Bandage Alone!
Your artist took the care to cover up your new tattoo for a very good reason – to keep air-born bacteria from invading your wound. Yes, as pretty as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Leave the bandage on for a minimum of two hours. Excitement of having a new tattoo will make you want to remove the bandage so you can show your friends, but your friends will just have to wait until later.
Washing and Treating Your Tattoo
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and mild, liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap (Satin and Provon are my highest recommendations. Dial tends to be too harsh – generic brand antibacterial soaps are actually better) to gently wash away any ointment, blood and/or plasma and to completely clean the area. Do not use a washcloth or anything abrasive. Your hand is your best tool in this case. (If your tattoo feels slimy and slippery, you have probably been oozing plasma. Try to gently remove as much of this as possible – (when the plasma dries on the skin surface, it creates scabs.)
Then pat (do not rub) the area firmly with a CLEAN towel or paper towel to get it completely dry. Follow with a very light application of your choice of ointment. A&D vitamin enriched ointment would be my first choice, but if you don’t have any, Bacitracin or a similar antibacterial ointment is acceptable.
**Do not use Neosporin. This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos. Some can have an allergic reaction to the Neosporin, which causes little red bumps. When the bumps go away, so does the ink, and you end up with a polka-dotted tattoo.**
Specialty Products and Lotions for Tattoos
If you prefer, you can also use a specialty product such as H2Ocean or Lubriederm / Curél (fragance free). It’s not necessary, as many over the counter products work just fine, but it’s your choice. Use the products as directed and continue for 3-5 days.
After that, continue to keep it clean, but you can use lotion when needed instead of ointment, to keep the skin soft. Whatever lotion you use, it should not have dyes and should also be fragrance free. A lot of artists recommend Lubriderm, curel or aveeno but we have found that Lubriderm stings when it’s applied. Instead, we have had great success with Curel.
Bathing, Showering, Hot Tubs, and Swimming with your Tattoo
Yes, you can (and should!) shower with a new tattoo. It’s OK to get your tattoo wet – just don’t soak it. Submerging your tattoo in a bath or hot tub can cause serious damage, so you’ll want to avoid those for 2-3 weeks, but showering is perfectly fine as long as you don’t saturate your tattoo. If you get soap or shampoo on your tattoo, just remove it quickly with water. Swimming – whether it be a pool, fresh water or salt water – should be avoided for at least 2 weeks.
Scabbing and Peeling of a Tattoo
After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. Excessive scabbing could indicate a poorly-done tattoo, but a little is sometimes normal and there is no need to panic. Apply warm moist compresses to the scabs for about 5 minutes 2-3 times a day to soften them and they will eventually come off on their own. (Do not apply ointment or lotion to a softened scab – wait for it to dry) You will also start to itch, just like a sunburn when it begins to heal. The advice here is, don’t pick, and don’t scratch! If the skin itches, slap it. If it is peeling, put lotion on it. And if it is scabbing, just leave it alone. Your tattoo is almost healed, and now is not the time to ruin it!
Sun Protection for your Tattoo
After your tattoo is healed, from now on, you will always want to protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. These can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very fast. Before spending a lot of time in excessive heat, protect your tattoo with a minimum 30SPF sunblock. This will keep your tattoo vibrant for many years, and it will continue to be a source of great pride.
Follow The 7 Steps
If you have any questions regarding your tattoo, feel free to contact us anytime.
Body and Facial Aftercare Tips:
A well-done piercing with a perfectly placed jewelry can still cause problems if not cared for properly. We know that each body reacts differently to the various types of piercings. However, we also know that when the client follows a well-explained set of aftercare guidelines, the healing process is much better for the great majority of the cases.
Body piercings need to be cleaned once or twice daily, every day, for the entire initial healing time. Most people clean morning and/or night, in the shower. Do not clean more often as this can irritate your piercing, and possibly delay your healing. For once-a-day cleanings, do it at the end of your day. Optimal frequency will depend on your skin sensitivity, activity level, and environmental factors.
Before cleaning, wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial soap and hot water. If you wish, you may use disposable latex or vinyl gloves.
Prepare the area for the cleansing by rinsing or soaking with warm water and be sure to remove any stubborn crust using a cotton swab and warm water. Never pick with fingernails. This step is important for your comfort.
Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to the area. Cleanse the area and the jewelry, and gently rotate the jewelry back and forth a few times to work the solution inside. There is no need to rotate the jewelry during the first few cleanings. If the cleaning solution indicates that rinse is necessary after applying it, do so under running water while rotating the jewelry back and forth to completely remove the cleaning solution, otherwise let it air dry (i.e.: H2Ocean Spray).
Please try to be patient. Each body is unique, and healing times can vary considerably. If the piercing is tender or secreting, you should continue the care regimen, even if it is past the stated average healing time range.
What is normal?
Bleeding, bruising, discoloration and/or swelling are not uncommon. Any break of the skin, including a new piercing can bleed or bruise. These are not indications of any complication. Reduce intake of aspirin, alcohol, and caffeine. For the above-the-neck piercing, try sleeping with the head elevated above the chest to limit overnight swelling. Studies show non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) can help minimize swelling. Some tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual.
You may feel stinging, burning, aching or other unpleasant sensations off and on for several days or longer. During healing there may be some itching. Secretion of a fluid, which contains blood plasma, lymph and dead cells, is perfectly normal. It is fairly liquid like, whitish-yellow in color and forms a crust on the jewelry at the openings of the piercing. This is not a plus, but indicates a healing piercing. Once healed, your piercing may secrete a semi-solid white malodorous substance from the oil glands called sebum. Again, this is not a plus, but indicates a healed piercing. Piercings may have a tendency to have a series of “ups and downs” during healing by seeming healed and then regressing. Always try to be patient, and do keep cleaning during the entire initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner.
If you have any questions regarding your piercing, feel free to contact us anytime.