Finally the design you have had in your head for months is now a reality, you have a beautiful new tattoo! But now what? It is important that you know something about tattoo aftercare. How do you make sure it heals properly and looks its best? How long does it take for a tattoo to heal? Is the healing process painful? And what are some signs that a tattoo is not healing properly? These are questions that many people are left with after getting a tattoo. Read on to discover the answers to all your questions!
The body is capable of healing the wound itself. You should see daily improvement. A lack of daily improvement can be a sign of delayed wound healing or infection. Fortunately, this is rare if you follow the advice given and some simple tips. Here are some general tattoo aftercare tips for taking care of your tattoo.
General Tattoo Aftercare Tips:
- Follow the advice of your tattoo artist
Aftercare advice varies from one tattoo shop to another and sometimes even tattoo artists in the same shop have different ideas about tattoo care. Listen carefully to the advice they give you.
- Use a breathable bandage for the first week
Since tattoos create an opening in the skin which bacteria can enter, it is recommended that you cover the tattoo with an adhesive, breathable bandage for the first week. These bandages protect the wound from infection while still allowing the skin to breathe.
- Clean your hands before touching your tattoo
In every list of tattoo care tips, this tip should not be missing. It is very important to clean your hands before touching your tattoo. Do not just put your hands under the tap for two seconds, but clean them thoroughly. This prevents bacteria from getting into your classic tattoo.
- Wash the tattoo carefully after a few hours
Most advice will tell you to leave the covering on the tattoo for the first 2-5 hours, then carefully remove it and gently wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and mild liquid soap. After removing the breathable dressing, it is recommended to clean twice daily with an antibacterial soap. Reapply the bandage daily after washing for the first week. After the first week, the dressing can be removed because the openings in the skin have closed.
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- Lubricate your tattoo
An important part of tattoo aftercare is using the right tattoo care products. It is very important to apply an ointment, such as aquaphor, to the tattoo until all signs of healing have disappeared. After removing the breathable bandage and cleaning with antibacterial soap twice daily for about three days, it is recommended to rub the area daily with Aquaphor or special tattoo cream, for example. Do this for at least a week.
- Keep your tattoo dry and clean
Keep the tattoo clean and dry, and do not soak in water for at least one month. Showering is allowed, but bathing is not recommended (if the tattoo is submerged). If your clothes can rub on it, keep them covered with gauze / cling film and medical tape.
- Avoid sunlight
Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight unless it is necessary. Healed tattoos, especially colored ones, can fade in the sun – so when they are fully healed, make sure they are covered with a high protective factor if you want to catch some sun rays. For the first 6 weeks after getting your new tattoo, it is important to keep your tattoo out of the sun anyway. If it is not possible to cover it up, make sure you at least apply plenty of sunscreen. Because your tattoo is really a fresh wound, your skin is much more vulnerable to damage. Getting sunburned can cause fading, not to mention pain.
- Be patient with the healing process
A big part of the tattoo aftercare process is patience! How long healing takes depends on how well you heal and the size of the design. This can range from about a week for simple, small line designs to several months for complex, larger designs. Continue to follow your aftercare instructions for as long as the tattoo artist has told you to, and make sure the tattoo stays well hydrated and clean for several months afterwards. Avoid abrasive skin products and shaving on this part of your skin.
- Consider touching up later
Ideally, your tattoo should remain as vibrant as the day you got it, but there can always be some fading, especially in thin-line tattoos. Fading can be due to the depth at which the pigment was deposited when the tattoo was placed (if it is placed too close to the top layer of skin, some of the pigment may fade and not look as concentrated). This is certainly the case with ornamental tattoos. Because of the nature of a fine line tattoo, there is a greater chance of fading compared to that of a thick line tattoo. This is because the thin needle does not penetrate the tissues as well as a thick needle.
This is part of tattoo aftercare. In the event that some fading does occur, you can touch it up later. To make sure your tattoo stays the same it is best to go to the same your best tattoo artist. It is also important to wait at least a month after the original work is done to give the skin a chance to heal.
The Healing Process of a New Tattoo Placement
Now that you know more about tattoo care/tattoo aftercare, it is time to take a look at the healing process of a tattoo. A normal healing tattoo generally goes through three broad healing stages, described as follows:
Days 1 – 3: Inflammation
It is normal for a tattoo to be red, swollen and sensitive for the first 48-72 hours. Some blood and/or ink may also leak during this period. These symptoms should improve significantly each day. If you have prolonged symptoms, it is recommended that you discuss this with your tattoo artist and/or a doctor.
Days: 4-14: Visible Recovery
As the healing process progresses, the top layer of skin flakes and itches – similar to the reaction the body gives when recovering from a sunburn. This is a normal, healthy recovery process. Avoid scratching and picking at scabs. Also, do not go removing the scaly skin yourself. Doing these things will only cause more injury and prolong the recovery period.
Days 14-30: Invisible Recovery
The above visible signs are usually gone by the third week after the procedure, but the tattoo will likely remain dull and dark for about a month after the tattoo procedure. After a month, the tattoo will have taken on its permanent vibrant color. Remodeling of the skin under the tattoo will continue for 3-6 months.
How Long Does It Take for Tattoos to Heal?
Generally, it takes about a month from the time of tattooing for a tattoo to take on its permanent form in a young, healthy person. However, these factors can affect the healing time:
Tattoos with more saturated areas of color may take a little longer to heal. Saturated pigment requires more needle pricks to deposit ink than finer tattoos. This causes a greater inflammatory response that requires a longer recovery period.
In all cases, wounds below the level of the heart heal more slowly. This means that a tattoo on the ankle will likely take longer to heal than a tattoo of the same size on the arm.
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