I never get bored looking at tattoos, reading about new and old artists, and seeing the amazing changes in tattoo art. Someone could be walking past me and I zone in on their ink and ask If I can check it out. Sometimes my wife walks away while we’re shopping because she knows I’m going to get engaged in conversation.
I will share with you my greatest moment with tattoos: I was walking when I heard said to me, “Those are nice tattoos.” I turned and there she was; the woman of my dreams. We started talking and had so much In common. Through that one sentence about my Ink I’m married to the most amazing woman.
There seems to be a certain magic that is created through the art of inking. It really is a world of its own. Clients and artists are never running out of ideas the imagination never seems to run out.
In my last post I shared about getting your first piece of art done. Today I want to talk about the aftercare that is needed which is very Important to keeping your ink looking great.
This post is also good for clients who have multiple tattoos. We sometimes neglect steps when we think we’re vets and skip the protocol in taking care of it, only to have a ruined piece of work. As always, lets grab a cup of coffee or beverage of your choice and chat.
The Importance of Aftercare
I see it all the time, some amazing artwork that turned out terrible at no fault of the artist, but due to the neglectful aftercare from the client. It is to be understood that your new inking is an open wound and should be treated as such.
When getting inked needles are piercing your skin, and when you have an open wound what do you do to take care of it? Inking should be treated no different.
When your art is finished, it can take weeks to heal. These are crucial weeks in keeping your ink looking great. Like any other wound, if not properly taken care of, infection can happen. So let’s go over steps that should be taken to prevent a tattoo fail.
Leaving the Shop
When your art is finished, your artist will wrap either a bandage or plastic wrap around it and will instruct you to leave it on for two to three hours. As tempting as it is, do not remove the bandage to admire or show it off. There will be plenty of time for that.
After removing the bandage or wrap, you will need to GENTLY wash it with a hypoallergenic soap and warm water. Do not use a washcloth, but instead use your fingers or hand and let it air dry. Do not be alarmed if you see some oozing, as that is not uncommon. It is just some of the excessive ink flowing out. OK moving on.
The First Couple of Days
In the first couple of days, you may notice some redness and it may feel warm to the touch. No worries, this is perfectly normal. You will want to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, as UV rays could cause swelling and blister your ink. Let’s face it, we need to take showers because no one wants to stink.
Baths should be avoided as you should not submerge your ink in bacteria. When showering, do not use a washcloth on your ink and do not let the shower water beat on it. Use the gentle wash and air dry procedure explained above. Avoid pools and beaches until it is healed. As a beach lover myself, I know this is hard.
The Scabbing and Itching Stage
Oh boy, this can be a tough part of the healing process. When scabbing begins, I see lots of people who want to pick at them. DON’T. The scabbing needs to take a natural process by letting it flake off on its own. Pulling them off before they’re ready will likely end up in pulling out ink and leaving bad spots in your tattoo.
With itching, comes the natural reaction to scratch. Again, DON’T. You will damage the ink. I have found that lightly patting the area will do the trick.
Ointments and Other Tips
During your healing process, you’re going to want to keep the area moist. There are many ointments made just for tattoos, but you should use what is recommended by your tattoo artist ONLY. Some artists recommend Aquaphor or Bacitracin, while others recommend using unscented lotions that are not greasy such as Lubriderm or Curel. Avoid Vaseline and petroleum jelly as they will not allow your ink to breath.
When applying, you want to apply a thin layer. Remember, you want it to breath. If too much is applied, blot with a paper towel.
Wear loose fitting clothing. You don’t want your clothes rubbing on it or preventing it from breathing. Exercise: For all you exercise buffs, use caution the first couple of days and avoid tight-fitting workout clothes.
How to Tell if Your Tattoo is Infected
Infection can happen due to improper care or by being allergic to pigments and inks. If you suspect you may be allergic, talk with your Doctor before you get inked. Here are some signs it may be infected: swelling and prolonged redness, fever, oozing of yellow or white fluid, red raised bumps, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you have any of these symptoms or suspect you may have an infection see your Doctor Immediately.
Don’t Let Your Art Become a Nightmare
Once you leave the shop it is your responsibility to take care of your ink. Follow the instructions of your artist, as they are the pros. You want to have a tattoo that’s going to look bright and alive for years to come. Sometimes touch-ups are needed after complete healing, and I haven’t met an artist who doesn’t mind touching up their work. Psst… don’t forget to tip them before you leave, that helps. In closing, take care of your ink and it will take care of you.
Keep Rocking the Ink,