Understanding the Basics of Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoos are a very personal piece of art that will stay with you until you die. However, tattoos also qualify as a wound since a quick-moving needle is used to place ink deep into your skin. Getting the tattoo is only the first step to enjoying this art for a lifetime. It’s also important to be aware of and practice proper aftercare to ensure a tattoo that looks just as good a decade from now as it does today.


The Initial Aftercare Process


After you have a tattoo done at a parlor, the artist is going to apply a thin layer of moisturizer or tattoo jelly over the entire area that was tattooed. This will then be covered up using a bandage or plastic wrap. While it can be tempting to take off the protective layer to look at your tattoo, it should stay on for a few hours or longer after it’s applied. The covering is used to protect your open skin from sunlight, bacteria, and rubbing up against clothing.


The First Tattoo Wash


Depending on the size of the tattoo, in most cases, the bandage can be removed after around five hours for the first wash. The first thing you want to do is make sure your hands are washed. Next, you can use warm water and hypoallergenic soap to wash off the tattoo using your fingers. The jelly will come off and sometimes the tattoo may look as if it’s oozing. This is only excess ink and fluid from the tattoo process and nothing to be alarmed about.


Aftercare in the First Week


For a few days, the tattoo may feel warm to the touch and have a reddish appearance. You should not submerge the tattoo in water or get it wet during the first month and a half unless you are washing it. The same technique mentioned above can continue to be used as often as needed. Using your fingers instead of a cloth is the best option since the material could irritate the skin and remove the tattoo’s scab.


What to Do in Week Two


The scabs on the tattoo will start to come off in the second week. Make sure you gently wash the area during this time since tearing the scab off can damage the tattoo. You may also feel a lot of itching at this time but do not allow yourself to scratch the tattoo. Moisturizer or salve can be used to help relieve the itch. Some people may also need to use a product like Benadryl to cut down on incessant itching.


Moving to the Third Week and Beyond


At this point, you’ll be in the home stretch of healing, but it still requires patience. Most of the scabs have likely fallen off, but some dead skin bits may appear and go away later. Since flaking skin and scabs can make the area dry, using a product to moisturize the area and avoiding the sun is the best thing you can do. By the end of the third week, the outer skin should be fully healed, and it will be much less likely that an infection will occur.


Use Tatted to Keep Your Ink in Excellent Shape


Offered by Woman in the Moon, Tatted: Tattoo Care & Maintenance Balm is an essential item to have on hand for tattoo aftercare. It helps tattoos heal while keeping itching to a minimum, so you’re more comfortable. The formula used in Tatted keeps tattoos bright and colorful so that they will last a lifetime. It’s made using all-natural ingredients from traditional Algonquin medicine.



Tattoo by Tyler Halle 






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