Updated: Feb 11
Tattoo Aftercare – What You Should Know
Correct tattoo aftercare is extremely important and the most vital phase of your tattoo journey so don’t ignore it. Irreversible life-long damage can occur in the 2 weeks caused by infections and other skin problems. The following steps ensure the correct aftercare treatment for your new tattoo during the initial healing phase.
Tattoo Aftercare – Healing Process
A fresh new tattoo will change when it is healing. First, it will appear white’ish in colour, then it will crack and flake. The white’ish, translucent flakes are the bodies way of replacing the old skin; making way for the fresh newly inked skin to come to the surface. This flaking process starts after 5 to 7 days and lasts for about a week. Sometimes a new tattoo will peel twice which is also normal.
Some of the flaking may have colour but that’s okay. In some cases what appears to be a duplicate image full of colour seems to flake and peel off. Don’t panic! … this is perfectly normal.
As the skin flakes, continue to carefully pat on some of the lotion provided in your tattoo aftercare kit provided by your artist. The lotion will keep the new tattoo moist and healthy. There may be scabbing in places. Do not pick the scabs as it may do permanent damage. Leave the wound to heal naturally, … so don’t scratch, rub, or ‘encourage it’ to look good quicker. Don’t be tempted to pull flakes that look ready to fall off because they may be microscopically attached to the new skin of the tattoo! This has the potential of pulling unsettled ink out on to the flake of peeling skin (that’s still attached and not ready to fall off yet). Be patient and let nature do its work. The end result will be worth the wait. Check out tattoo peeling 101.
During the healing process, avoid all swimming or saunas until your tattoo is completely healed, to do so will encourage infections.
Key Tattoo Aftercare
The key things to do when looking after a brand new tattoo are –
It is of the utmost importance to follow the instructions given by the tattoo artist regarding aftercare treatment until it is completely healed. Note: When you leave the tattoo studio and the procedure is completed, the tattoo artist is no longer responsible for any infections or other issues that may occur, but a studio with a good reputation will want to listen to your concerns and may possibly retouch problem areas.
The care you give your new tattoo during the healing process will determine the quality of your beautiful art work over the decades to come.
Normally, after the tattoo is completed, a tattoo artist will recommend keeping the bandages on for about 5 hours and when the bandages are removed, to keep the area well moisturised with a high quality tattoo aftercare treatment until it is completely healed. Moisturising the area will keep the peeling skin soft so it doesn’t go hard. Additionally, moisturising will encourage the peeling to remain flat against the skin. This guards against hard flakes being caught on clothing (or anything else) and tearing which could potentially cause infection where it was ripped off. Furthermore, moisturising soothes the itching of a healing tattoo.
There are 3 very important stages of a tattoo –
The tattoo image being etched into your skin by the tattoo artist which has meaning,
You care of the new tattoo during the healing stage, and then
You protect it from the elements. There are many things that contribute greatly to the deterioration of a tattoo’s quality over time; some of which you would never suspect or think of!