10 Tips For Looking After Your New Tattoo
So, I’ve got myself some fancy new ink. Now what?
You dreamt about it for months, chose your design and made sure mum wouldn’t disown you before finally getting yourself a shiny new tattoo. YAAAS.
But after being jabbed with a needle for a while you're not too sure on how to resume normality without your new addition getting in the way. Can I take a bath? Go swimming? Go on holiday? Help?!
To ensure your fancy artwork turns out looking the best it possibly can (without coming across any nasty infections), here’s what you should do to look after your tattoo post-inking.
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1. Listen to your tattoo artist’s advice
Obviously, aftercare advice will differ from studio to studio and even artist to artist, but chances are if you’ve picked a good one, you’ll receive the best advice for looking after your tatt. Most will have a leaflet with their advice printed out for you to take away so don’t panic.
2. Wrap or no wrap?
YES, we know you’re excited to see it in all its glory and YES, we know it’s annoying af having a part of your body wrapped in clingfilm but normally you should leave the covering on for about two to six hours.
Some will recommend keeping the tattoo wrapped for a few days, changing the wrapping every few hours, sometimes even avoiding plastic wrap full stop. As long as you follow your tattoo artist’s advice, it should be fine.
3. how should I clean it?
Wash your tattoo with mild soap before patting it dry with a soft towel. Then apply a thin layer of unscented, anti-bacterial ointment or lotion to your artwork for the full healing process, which usually takes two to four weeks.
You can then choose to either recover with clingfilm/gauze or leave it uncovered to give it some air, depending on your artist’s advice. Generally, you'll be advised you to repeat the process 3-5 times a day.
4. Keep it dry
It’s better to stick to loose fitting clothing but if you need to wear clothes that are likely to rub, cover your tattoo with gauze/clingfilm. You'll also need to avoid submerging it in water for at least a month (baths are a no-no!). Basically, it’s not the best idea to get one done a few days before your summer vacay. New tattoo = no cannonballing into the pool.
5. Avoid direct sunlight
Direct sunlight is literally your tattoo’s worst enemy so stay away if you can! Again, unless you want to sit in the shade and deprive yourself of a summer glow, it’s best not to book a holiday for at least 4 weeks after.
6. Don’t scratch!
Scratching or picking the scabs while the tattoo is healing could ruin parts of the artwork and leave your tattoo looking less like a dreamy masterpiece and more like an infected, patchy mess. Leave. It. Alone.
7. Be patient
The healing process varies for everyone - some bigger tattoos can take up to 6 weeks to heal so stick with it. You’ll know when your tattoo has fully healed because it will fully settle into the skin but if it doesn’t look right or it starts to ooze or swell, seek advice asap.
8. Avoid abrasive skin products
To avoid irritation, don’t use any heavily perfumed or abrasive scrubs on the design and keep it well moisturised. Abrasive products can pull off layers of skin and ink, potentially damaging your tattoo. And whatever you do, stay away from your razor! You'll just have to put up with being a hairy Mary for a while.
9. Don’t be afraid to go back for a touch-up
If your design features fine lines, these can fade as your tatt heals. Give your tattoo artist a call and arrange a quick touch up after 6 weeks – they'll want you to be 100% happy so will usually do this for free.
10. Wear SPF
Healed tattoos - especially ones with colour - can fade in the sun. So when it's completely healed, make sure you always cover your design in a high SPF. Now go and show it off to the world!