There are so many different opinions and thoughts of how to care for a new tattoo. These are just what we have noticed to work best for our clients, but if you are a “seasoned veteran” when it comes to tattoos, we recommend you stick to what you know helps your body heal best, DIFFERENT STROKES FOR DIFFERENT FOLKS!!!!
A tattoo typically takes between 1-3 weeks to heal, depending on the client, for example, we have a friend that is fully healed by the 6th day, and another friend that takes nearly 2 months to fully heal. No telling what is the reason why each person is so different but like it states above, everyone is a special snowflake!
These instructions below are not “idiot proof” but we feel that if you read and follow the instructions below, you should have a relatively fantastic heal!
**DO NOT TOUCH THE NEW TATTOO WITH DIRTY HANDS! DO NOT PLAY IN THE MUD! DO NOT LET ANYONE ELSE TOUCH YOUR NEW TATTOO! If the above is ignored, don’t be too upset your new tattoo has an infection, you brought it upon yourself! WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE ANY CONTACT WITH YOUR NEW TATTOO.**
1. When you leave Tattooed Theory with your fresh tattoo, you will be bandaged up typically with plastic wrap or gauze. Take it off after an hour and clean with a liquid Anti-Bacterial Soap. Give it a few minutes to dry before applying the ointment provided (best way to know it’s dry is a sensation of the fresh tattoo feeling “tight”; that normally means that the tattoo needs some ointment). Typically a Tattoo Studio should be a very sterile environment. So that being said, the outside world is a very dirty place, so PLEASE keep your tattoo clean. It is very important to clean your tattoo… what we are trying to say is… GET IN THERE! Typically clean it between 2-4 times per day (depending on how active you are). Some clients are almost “afraid” to clean it because it hurts, but keep in mind, if you don’t get in there and massage and lather the tattoo, you’re really not doing anything at all. It's the same concept of cleaning a kitchen countertop after cooking food: if you don’t put in a little bit of “elbow grease” you didn’t really clean it! Now at the same time, we are not telling you to go insane and scrape off 3 layers of your skin, we are just trying to ensure you CLEAN THE FRESH WOUND!
2. Apply Ointment for the first 3-5 days, cleaning the tattoo prior to applying the new layer of ointment. Make sure to put a very thin layer of ointment. The best way to know if you have the right amount is as follows: if you wave your hand in front of your tattoo and don’t feel the air hitting it, it means you have WAY too much ointment on. If so, gently dab it dry with a paper towel. The left over ointment will still be in your pores, so there’s no need to reapply after dabbing. Apply a non-scented lotion after the 3rd or 5th day for 2 weeks or until the tattoo does not feel dry or “tight”. Since everyone is a special snowflake, the best way to know if you do not need to apply any more ointment and switch over to a non-scented lotion is when a “lizard-ly skin” or scab forms. This means that your body has created a “protective layer” and does not require a heavier ointment. PS – still clean your tattoo regularly.
The care during this time is relatively simple. The common rule we tell everyone is “if it hurts more than when you initially got the tattoo, STOP DOING WHAT YOU ARE DOING!” The body has a pretty funny way of talking to our minds. If it hurts, DON’T DO IT! You do not need to re-bandage your new tattoo (even though there are techniques on caring for the new tattoo that involve wrapping the tattoo for the entire healing duration). But we feel it is more for the Tattoo Veteran than first timers, mostly because if the instructions aren’t followed exactly, it can lead to very bad results.
(a) Clothing: Be sure to wear loosely fitted clothing that will not rub against the new Tattoo, especially before the first 5 days. If you can, keep it exposed to air and avoid clothing that can stick to or irritate the new tattoo. If you can’t keep it exposed to air, just wear loose, soft clothing.
(b) DO NOT PICK AT THE NEW TATTOO! If you have lizard skin or scabs, let them fall on their own. The body is a healing machine, it does not need our fingers help to do so! *SMACK* Keep those picking hands off!!!
(c) DO NOT “SOAK” THE NEW TATTOO! Try to avoid taking baths. Think of your skin like a sponge: when dunked under water, your pores will open up as much as they can. When this happens to a freshly done tattoo, oftentimes ink will loosen and fade. Try to avoid the underwater activities. THAT BEING SAID, NO POOL, NO OCEAN, NO JACUZZI TIME!!!
(d) Try not to take hot showers. The heat and steam will do the same as being underwater. Your pores will open and chances of having a faded tattoo are more predominant. Take lukewarm or semi cold showers. This will help the pores stay tight and you will not lose the color.
(e) AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT! If you ever wanted to know what it is to feel like a Vampire, getting an new tattoo is the best way to find out! A fresh tattoo is a sensitive area. When direct sunlight or UV rays hit the tattoo, it will feel like your skin is cooking from the inside and will irritate the new tattoo.
**Keep an eye out for: inflammation, swelling, fever, muscle aches, general weakness, pain, discharge, red streaks/red halo, or foul odor. If you show any of these symptoms on the 4th or 5th day, you may want to call your Artist or Doctor. It’s a possibility that it is infected!**
STEAMY HOT SEX: Got your attention didn’t we? Okay — you’ve just gotten a great new tattoo, so what are you going to do — go out and play football? Have a session of hot, aggressive, physical sex? Go on vacation to Hawaii? STOP AND THINK FOR A SECOND… you just paid an X amount of money for a tattoo you’re proud to wear, why go and mess it all up?! Two weeks away from the beach, pool, sunbathing, hardcore sex, sports, safari hunting, and fighting dinosaurs won’t hurt you! Take a break from the dangers of life and insure you’ll heal safely and cleanly!!!
Thank you for taking the time to read how to heal the tattoo. If you follow what we said above, you should have a great healing time! If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us ASAP!