Tattoo Aftercare

Things you need to know about taking care of a new tattoo

At last, the design you’ve had in your head for months has now become a reality. Your skin is sporting a cool new tattoo. But what next? How do you look after it and ensure it heals well and ends up looking just as you beaut as it should? Here’s everything you need to know…

1. FOLLOW YOUR TATTOO ARTIST’S ADVICE

Aftercare advice will vary from studio to studio, and sometimes even artists in the same studio will have different ideas of what heals best. Listen to the instructions your artist gives you.

2. AFTER 1 HOUR GENTLY WASH THE TATTOO

Your tattoo artist will tell you to leave the covering on the tattoo for the first 1-2 hours. Carefully remove the covering and gently wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and mild liquid soap, like Carex. Pat the new tattoo dry do not rub it.

3. APPLY A THIN LAYER OF UNSCENTED MOISTURISING CREAM

After washing you should then apply a thin layer of an unscented moisturising cream like Bepanthen (nappy rash cream) – your artist will tell you which they recommend. The next best thing is palmers cocoa butter. Do NOT use -E45, Vaseline or Sudacream (remember it’s best to use nothing as a posed to the wrong cream). After applying the cream leave it open to the air. Generally, studios will advise you to repeat the cleaning process 2-3 times a day and make sure u wash in between each layer of cream. Do NOT put cream upon cream.

4. KEEP THE TATTOO CLEAN AND DRY

Wash and bathe as normal keeping your new tattoo clean and dry but avoid soaking it in bath for hours.

5. AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT

Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight unless necessary. Healed tattoos, especially coloured ones, can fade in the sun – so when it’s completely healed, make sure it’s covered in a high SPF.

6. BE PATIENT WITH HEALING TIMES

Healing times depend on how well you heal and the size of the design. This can range anywhere from around a week for simple, small line designs, to several months for complex, larger designs. Keep following your aftercare instructions for as long as the artist told you to, and make sure the tattoo is kept well-moisturised and clean for a good few months after that, avoiding abrasive skin products.

7. DO. NOT. ITCH.

As the tattoo heals, it may scab or flake slightly. Avoid picking at it, as this may remove the ink in that area and lead to patches fading or being removed altogether. If it itches, don’t scratch – slap it lightly instead. This should only last for the first few weeks or so – if it stays raised, itches uncontrollably, is red around the design, keeps bleeding for more than a day or so after having it done, or is continuously hot to the touch, go back to your artist or seek medical advice. Infected tattoos are very rare but can happen, and it’s always worth getting it checked out if you’re worried about it.

8. GO BACK TO THE STUDIO FOR TOUCH UPS, IF NEEDED

If you do lose ink 1 retouch for free will be given to make sure you’re happy with the final product. The tattoo needs to be completely healed before any touch ups can take place.

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