How to Care for a New Tattoo

Approximately 20% of adults in America aged 18 and up have at least one tattoo. While 14% have two tattoos or more. Whether this is your first tattoo or finally completing your sleeve, your aftercare affects how your new ink will turn out.  Be sure to follow directions carefully so your tattoo looks vibrant, shiny and healthy. Here are 3 expert skin care tips to care for your new tattoo.

1. Freshly Inked

Upon leaving the tattoo parlor, you will want to wash your hands thoroughly. Next, remove the bandage 2 hours after the procedure. Keeping the bandage on longer gives bacteria a chance to grow and spread, which can lead to infection. Do not reapply another bandage, as this will impede the healing process. While it may be difficult to resist, try not to touch the wounded area. Your tattoo may feel similar to a sunburn; but if you feel pain, which is possible with large tattooed areas, ibuprofen can help reduce the pain.

For the first night with your new tattoo, use caution when it’s time for bed. Your tattoo may ooze out clear fluid and extra ink. Take precaution by making sure you use old bed sheets, to avoid staining fabric. Wear loose clothing to bed to allow the tattoo to breathe. For new tattoos on the back or legs, try to avoid the blanket covering that area.

2. Careful Cleansing

Between days 7-14 you will begin to experience itching and flaking. This continues until layers of dead skin and scabs have fallen off. Experts recommend limit washing your tattoo to twice a day; doing so will keep the ink vibrant. The soap that you use is detrimental to the outcome of your new tattoo. Experts suggest using non-fragrant and gentle soap. Also, try avoiding soaps containing high percentages of alcohol or petroleum. There are many different tattoo care soaps available on the market and at your tattoo parlor. Finally, follow these guidelines when washing the annoying grime off your new tattoo:

  • Thoroughly wash your hands before touching the sensitive area.
  • Avoid loofahs, washcloths or anything else mildly abrasive and bacteria prone.
  • Paper towels are safe; use them to lightly pat the area dry.
  • Use lukewarm or cold water while avoiding direct water contact from the water stream.

3. Risks and Regret

Tattoo artists recommend applying ointments to prevent infection. But doing so frequently can increase the rate of dermatitis and scabbing. A major factor is time sensitivity to healing. Between days 15-30, your tattoo may look fully healed, but it can also appear cloudy for a few weeks. This is because the deeper layers of skin are still repairing. Using the correct products and washing techniques our chances of infection. Also, improper care can result in a displeasing final result.

Furthermore, several factors can contribute to tattoo infection. Avoid these instances:

  • Not washing the tattoo enough.
  • Being around sickness.
  • Swimming in lakes or ponds, or pools.
  • Sleeping on unclean sheets and using dirty towels.
  • Touching your tattoo or allowing others to.
  • Failing to use aftercare supplements.
  • Contact with water near affected area: washing dishes or cleaning.
  • Applying petroleum treatments
  • Exposure to direct sunlight.

Proper Healing

Proper tattoo care is essential from the moment you leave parlor and the following weeks. Being proactive with your tattoo aftercare will ensure your ink looks and feels healthy. Contact the dermatologists of Short Hills Dermatology today for concerns of possible infection.

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