To start with, getting yourself a good tattoo artist is the first step towards guaranteeing you're getting your money's worth.
Tattoos are a permanent fixture on our bodies, but their longevity depends a great deal on many factors. To start with, getting yourself a good tattoo artist is the first step towards guaranteeing you're getting your money's worth. But that's just the first step. Following your tattoo appointment, there are multiple things you need to factor in when comes to the aftercare of your ink. Every artist gives you a standard list of do's and don'ts following your tattoo appointment. If you want your ink to withstand the test of time, then these simple tips should keep your tattoo looking fresh and ever-green over the years.
Your tattoo artist will wipe your ink down with an antibacterial foam or wipe before wrapping it in a bandaid. The tattoo may look vibrant and you might want to immediately show it off but don't pull off that bandaid just as yet. Leave it on for another 2-3 hours before you remove the protective film.
When you're about to remove the protective film off your tattoo, ensure that your hands are clean. Take your time to thoroughly wash your hands because your tattoo is still fresh, meaning that the skin is still raw and exposed to the environment, making it all the more susceptible to infections.
The next step you need to focus on is to wash it gently under running water. Make sure the temperature is lukewarm and remember not to rub your tattoo with an abrasive surface. Rubbing a tattoo can sometimes tamper with the ink, or even fade out the color. Use a mild soap to clean it regularly. Pat it dry with a clean towel after you're done.
It's crucial for you to keep your tattoo dry as it heals. Try to avoid soaking your tattoo in water over a long period of time. You can still have a shower, but avoid taking baths or swimming till your tattoo fully heals. If your tattoo is in a location that may cause friction, make sure your tattoo is covered with clingfilm or gauze.
Healing time after getting a tattoo can differ depending on the size of the tattoo, the location or maybe even the person itself. But like any other wound, tattoos also need to be left alone so that they heal properly and on time. Avoid picking at any scabs forming on the tattoo as it can ruin the ink in the tattoo. It may feel itchy from time-to-time but do NOT try to scratch it.
Your artist may have advised you to use a mild medical moisturizer to care for your tattoo, but don't go overboard with the moisturizing. Your tattoo needs to heal, and one way it can do that is by staying dry. Over-moisturizing can suffocate your tattoo and can encourage the growth of bacteria which can lead to an infection.
As a general precaution, you should avoid direct sunlight after your tattoo. Keep it covered when you do step out. Sunlight can cause your skin to blister and can cause some of the colors to fade out. After your tattoo has healed, make sure that you apply a good amount of sunblock on it to avoid further deterioration to the colors of the tattoo. UV rays can cause the dyes in your tattoo to oxidize or change color, so use a sunscreen that has an SPF level of 30 or above.
You can resume your regular, day-to-day activities, but proceed with caution if you have a large tattoo, especially something that is close to your joints. Firstly, remember that these tattoos take the longest time to heal and secondly when you exercise or physically exert yourself, there are greater chances for your skin to become irritated or cracked in that specific area.
If your tattoo is on a spot that requires shaving, it would be best to let the hair grow wild for a while before you take a razor to it. Shaving over your tattoo can cause cuts and scrapes that will affect your tattoo's outcome. Wait for at least a month before you shave on that specific site again. You may be shaving off scabs that are essential to the tattoo's healing.
After your tattoo heals, you can properly tell if it requires a touch-up or not. If you do require a touch-up, wait for a couple of weeks after your tattoo heals and then head for your appointment. But remember, the care cycle repeats itself after you get a touch up as well, so make sure you follow the tattoo aftercare instructions carefully!