Tattoo Aftercare

1. TATTOO AFTERCARE: KEEP IT CLEAN

There is NO foolproof set of aftercare instructions for a healing tattoo. Everybody is different and there is always a risk of an allergic reaction or problems. What we have listed on this site is what we know works for us from years of experience with healing tattoos.

First and foremost, your tattoo needs to be clean, and it needs to breathe. If the pores are clogged or the wound can't breath it can cause complications as it heals.. If you use lotion, find one that is free of dyes and fragrances. The most popular error that people make with lotions (and all the other aftercare for that matter) is that they over do it and put far too much of it on their healing tattoo. It is imperative that you put as thin of a layer on your healing tattoo as possible.

 

2. TATTOO AFTERCARE: WASH AND TREAT

2. Wash and Treat
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and mild, liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap ( Provon is an excellent recommendation. Dial soap tends to be too harsh) 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 using only your fingers- when the plasma dries on the skin surface, it creates scabs.)

Then, gently pat (do not rub) the area firmly with a CLEAN towel or paper towel to get it completely dry. Follow with a very VERY light application of AQUAPHOR or FRAGRANCE FREE LOTION or A&D ENRICHED VITAMIN OINMENT. Repeat the cleaning/moisturizing procedure for at least the first 3-5 days.  (Do not use Neosporin. This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos.)

After that, continue to keep it clean and moisturized to keep the skin soft.

3. TATTOO AFTERCARE: BATHING, SHOWERING, HOT TUBS, SWIMMING

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. If you get soap or shampoo on your tattoo, just remove it  with water. Swimming - whether it be a pool, fresh water or salt water - should be avoided for at least 2 weeks. (plus, swimming would put you in direct sunlight which in turn could damage your tattoo)

4. TATTOO AFTERCARE: SCABBING AND PEELING

After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. A little scabbing is sometimes normal and there is no need to panic. Apply a 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, lightly pat it. If it is peeling, put a very small amount of lotion on it. Your tattoo is almost healed, and now is not the time to ruin it!

5. TATTOO AFTERCARE: SIGNS OF GOOD / NORMAL HEALING

The tattoo will go through a period where it will peel. The skin that peels will be the color of the tattoo, and it will literally look like your tattoo is flaking off. The more even the tattoo peels the better the tattoo will look when it is completely healed. Underneath the peeled skin you will have healing skin cells that will cause the skin to seem milky rather than transparent. Don’t worry about this, your tattoo will be bright in no time. It’s all part of the healing process.

SIGNS OF BAD REACTIONS / BAD HEALING CAUSED BY AFTERCARE ….Aftercare product reaction is one of the leading causes of a badly healed tattoo. Some things to look for are extreme seeping/heavy scabbing,  excessive inflammation, and most of all a rash (little bumps) or excessive pimples. If you think that you are having a reaction to your aftercare product it is VERY IMPORTANT that you consult your artist asap. You can save your tattoo if you deal with the situation right away.

OTHER CONTRIBUTORS OF A BAD HEALING TATTOO ……. If you are having a problem with your healing tattoo, and it was done at a reputable shop,  it is most likely your choice of aftercare product. 

6. TATTOO AFTERCARE: A FEW OTHER THINGS THAT WILL CAUSE A TATTOO TO HEAL BADLY ARE...

NEGLECT – If you don’t practice good personal hygiene, pick your tattoo, let clothing stick to it, scrub your healing tattoo in the shower your tattoo will NOT look nice when it heals, do the right thing and take care of your investment you’re going to have it the rest of your life…

 

YOUR HEALTH – If you have immunity deficiencies, blood disorders such as diabetes, or are on certain medications such as steroids or blood thinners your  tattoo could be affected. It is a good idea to consult your doctor if you suspect there may be a problem.

 

SUN EXPOSURE – The sun is your tattoos worst enemy. If you expose your healing tattoo to the sun it can react with the healing ink and literally burn it from the inside out. So UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES expose your healing tattoo to prolonged direct sunlight.  Even a healed tattoo will fade when exposed to the sun or tanning beds with time. If you must expose your healed tattoo to those nasty UV rays be sure to use a high SPF SUNBLOCK.

EXPOSURE TO TOXINS / BACTERIA – If you work/live in an environment with dirt and filth you run the risk of infection. Nursing homes/hospitals, being around animals, toxic metals/chemicals, and filth of all kind can cause SERIOUS infections. Be smart and use common sense.  If you have a tattoo on your hand/forarm and you work on a farm or change a diaper you run the risk of an infection. The possibilities are endless.

 

DAMAGED SKIN – If your skin is weak, sun damaged, thin, or an artist overworks the tattoo it will cause the tattoo to heal badly

 

ALLERGIC REACTIONS TO LATEX OR TATTOO PIGMENT – If you are allergic to latex you will more than likely know before you get your tattoo. LET THE ARTIST KNOW BEFORE YOU EVEN GO BACK FOR YOUR TATTOO. NITRIL or VINYL gloves can be used. (We use only nitril gloves at Southtown) Signs of allergic reactions can be in the form of a rash on or around your tattoo, or extreme redness if the artist wears latex gloves.

An allergic reaction to tattoo ink is VERY RARE but is possible. If you are allergic to a pigment it will be evident. Certain colors in your tattoo may bubble up and raise off of your skin resembling a SEVERE scar. If you are concerned about having a reaction to tattoo ink ask your artist about doing a “prick test” where a small dot of each color to be used in your potential artwork is tattooed under your skin at least 24 hours before your tattoo. If you have a lot of allergies sometimes it is better to be safe than sorry.

 

7. TATTOO AFTERCARE: WHAT TO DO IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE PROBLEMS

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PLEASE CALL US AT 479-434-3550 OR STOP IN AND SPEAK WITH ONE OF OUR ARTISTS PRIOR TO GETTING YOUR TATTOO.

 

(thanks to tattooaftercare.org for putting alot of this information in one location on the web)