How to Take Care of Your New Tattoo
You'd been thinking about getting a tattoo for a long time, and now that you've taken the plunge you're excited about what you're seeing. You know that the pain you went through getting the tattoo was nothing now that you see the results. Don't make the mistake, though, of thinking your job is complete. Without the proper care, your beautiful new tattoo can end up being your worst nightmare.
A new tattoo is fragile. It is prone to infection, it could lose some of its beautiful color, or you might lose the design completely unless you take the proper precautions to take care of it. After finishing your design your tattoo artist took certain steps to protect it. And before you left, he gave you instructions for its care. If you're smart, you'll follow his instructions to the letter in order to avoid possible problems.
You know you didn't go through all of that pain and expense just to allow your new tattoo to self-destruct. By following the techniques in this article you'll be sure you're doing your best to protect the investment you made in your tattoo.
Step One - Leave the Bandage on Overnight
Right before you left the tattoo parlor, your artist most likely bandaged your new tattoo. He did this for your protection. The tattoo was created by poking a needle into your flesh. It broke through your skin and drew blood with every poke. Therefore, at this point in time, your new tattoo is more of an open wound that a finished work of art.
While some artists may tell you that you can remove the bandage after a minimum of two hours, most will advise leaving the bandage on overnight. That way you continue to keep your wound free from dirt, lint, and air-borne bacteria.
Step Two - Removing the Bandage
In the morning, it'll be time to remove the bandage. Prior to getting the tattoo you should have purchased a liquid-based antimicrobial or antibacterial soap that is also very mild. After removing the bandage you will want to gently wash the tattoo and the area around it with the soap and lukewarm water. Take care to wash away any remaining dried blood or ointment applied by the artist.
The best way to wash the tattoo at this point is with your hand alone. If you use a washcloth, it might damage the tattoo. After carefully washing the entire area, dry it completely using firm pats and a paper towel or a clean bath towel.
Step Three - Taking Care of the Tattoo
After your still-vulnerable wound has been cleaned and dried, you need to cover it with a protective antibacterial medication. Either Bacitracin or A&D Ointment will do the trick, and both can be found at your local drugstore.
Instead of recommending antibacterial ointments, your tattoo artist will probably suggest preparations that were designed specifically to treat new tattoos such as H2Ocean or Tattoo Goo. You can choose to follow his advice or use the ointment. Both will work, and the choice is up to you.
The treatment you choose needs to be continued for the next three to five days. At that point you can quit using the medications, but you will still need to keep the area very clean until your tattoo has had a chance to heal completely. If you'd like you can replace the ointment with a mild lotion which is perfume- and dye-free. This will keep your skin soft and supple while continuing to protect the tender skin of the tattoo.
The Scoop About Caring for Your New Tattoo
Its okay to get your new tattoo wet, but you'll want to avoid letting it soak. It is best if you shower for the three weeks immediately following your tattoo procedure, because tub baths allow too much soaking to take place. Soaking the tattoo could result in it being damaged. Swimming should be avoided for at least two weeks after you've gotten a new tattoo.
You can expect your tattoo to form scabs or peal slightly. It's a normal part of healing process. If your tattoo seems to be scabbing more than you think it should, that could be a sign that your tattoo artist didn't do his job right. You never want to pick or scratch your scabs. That could damage your tattoo. Instead, you can put warm washcloths over the area and wait for the scabs to fall off by themselves.