Looking after your new tattoo

Tattoo after care is essential to ensure your new tattoo heals properly, retains all its colour and continues to look good for years to come. Before you leave the tattoo studio your tattoo will be covered with a couple of pieces of kitchen roll attached to your body with surgical tape. This is only a short term solution designed so you don’t get blood on your clothing and to protect the open wound from the elements on your way home. All wounds need to “breath” to heal properly and a tattoo is no different. So, as soon as you get home remove the dressing.

The first part of tattoo after care starts as soon as you get home when removing the dressing. When you remove the dressing you are likely to be faced with blood and smeared ink. Don’t worry as this is perfectly common. You need to wash the new tattoo using a mild anti bacterial soap. Don’t use anything products that are harsh as this may affect the way the tattoo heals. When cleaning the  tattoo use your hand or finger tips only. If you scrub at the tattoo using a cloth or sponge you are likely to do more harm than good, besides rubbing a new tattoo hurts whatever you use, although it will hurt less if you only use your hand. Once the new tattoo is clean gently pat it dry with a paper towel or, better still, let it air dry. Do not rub at the tattoo with a conventional towel as this will affect the way it heals.

Once the new tattoo is dry, apply a thin layer of ointment and gently rub in to the entire area. Good ointments include Savlon, Tattoo Goo and A&D ointment. Neither one is better than the other ointments so it is entirely up to you which one you use. If the ointment you use causes pain or discomfort, remove the ointment immediately and purchase an alternative. These ointments should not hurt and any pain may mean your skin is having some type of allergic reaction, which is not good. When using ointment you need to use enough to cover the entire area of the new tattoo but not so much it leaves a residue on the skin. Once the ointment is rubbed in the new tattoo should look shiny and you shouldn’t be able to see the ointment. You only need enough ointment to keep the new tattoo moist and stop it scabbing up. Too much ointment will saturate the new tattoo and liquefy any scabs causing the ink to fall out and look kind of blotchy, which is not a good look. So, wipe of any excess ointment immediately. You should apply ointment whenever the new tattoo feels stiff or dry, however make sure you don’t over do it.

A new tattoo is likely to need ointment three or four times a day for the first few days afterwards. Thereafter use the ointment twice a day, first thing in the morning and last thing at night and use a gentle moisturizer in between times. Make sure the moisturizer isn’t perfumed or too harsh. An alternative is to use a petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, and this is my tatto after care treatment moisturizer of choice.

As a new tattoo heals your skin will form a new protective layer. If you keep the new tattoo moist the skin will form a thin membrane which will protect your  tattoo as it heals. During the healing process the thin membrane will peel off, leaving coloured skin as it does so. If you see flakes of coloured skin do not worry as this is perfectly normal. However, you need to let the skin flake off on its own. Never pick it off as you will pull the colour out of your new tattoo, which will leave it blotchy.

It is important to keep your new tattoo clean as it heals. You should clean your new tattoo with a mild soap and warm water. Avoid taking baths and long showers as these are likely to affect the colour of your new tattoo. When drying your new tattoo you should pat it dry with a soft towel or piece of heavy duty kitchen roll. Do not scrub at it with a normal towel as this will remove the protective membrane and any scabs before they are ready to fall off.

After care tattoo kit for your new tattoo. All you need is perfume free soap (to ensure you keep your new tattoo clean), kitchen roll (to pat your new tattoo dry), ointment such as Savlon (to encourage your new tattoo to heal) and vaseline (to keep your new tattoo moist during the healing process). These essential items should be all you need to make sure your new tattoo remains looking great.

All you need to ensure your new tattoo heals as it shouldCredit: yackers1

Your new tattoo is likely to be itchy as it heals. You need to make sure you don’t scratch or pick at your new tattoo as this may also pull the colour out. A good way of overcoming the itchiness is to apply some more ointment when you start to feel very itchy. Alternatively, slapping the new tattoo with your hand will sting it and take away some of the itchiness. As your new tattoo heals you need to keep out of the sun as much as possible. Sunburn is one of the worst things for a new tattoo so make sure you are always covered up when you go out in the sun whilst your new tattoo heals.

In summary

When you have a new tattoo you need to; 

  1. Keep it clean but do not rub at it with a conventional flannel. Instead, use your hand and be soft. Once your new tattoo is clean pat it dry or let it air dry. 
  2. Apply ointment and Vaseline to keep your new tattoo moist and encourage it to heal. 
  3. Make sure you don’t scratch or pick at your new tattoo. Let the scabs fall off by themselves. 
  4. Cover up when you go out in the sun and make sure you don’t get sun burned. 

Following the above advice won’t guarantee your new tattoo will heal quickly, neither will it guarantee you won’t lose any colour from your new tattoo, however it should help you to minimise the damage. If the worst comes to the worst and your new tattoo doesn’t heal like you want it to you need to go back to your tattoo artist and get it touched in. Providing you did everything you possibly could to look after your new tattoo your local tattoo artist should be only too happy to touch up your new tattoo free of charge. SO make sure you buy some Tattoo cream and you will be fine.