People get tattoos for numerous reasons—be it the way it looks, as a reminder of someone they love, or as a symbol of something they believe in. Whatever the reason, before we get inked, we should not only discuss the design, but also about how our skin might react to the ink. Today we will talk about some post-tattooing skincare tips to follow, so that your skin stays healthy and heals quickly, after a tattoo.
For a few days after receiving your tattoo, you should wear loose, comfortable and preferably cotton clothes that are gentle on the skin. Avoid tight, synthetic clothing that rubs against the skin and irritates the already fragile tissue. Any rubbing could potentially increase redness and irritation and, in some cases, lead to swelling, bleeding and/or pus seepage.
Depending on your tattoo’s location, you might want to change your workout routine. For example, if you have had a tattoo on the foot, do not run or put pressure on it. Likewise, if you have a tat on the elbows or arms, avoid working the biceps, triceps or other weight training exercises that put pressure on the areas.
Do not listen to anyone else but the tattoo artist who inks you. Most tattoo artists provide an after-care instruction sheet for you to take home. Listening to friends or family about tattoo-skincare can and will create problems.
Running shoes or sneakers contain harmful bacteria which can increase risk of infection. Your sweaty socks and shoes could rub against the skin and harm the already sensitized areas leading to blisters or swelling.
If you happen to travel immediately after getting inked, it is important to keep moisturizing skin creams and lotions with you. Create a travel kit and keep several tubes of the cream in it. If needed, also carry several copies of the after-care instructions given by your artist. I will talk about the right moisturizing products to use on a tattoo, later in this guide.
For a few days after getting inked, avoid hot tubs and swimming pools, as their chlorine content can irritate the delicate skin and also fade the ink.
Do not rub, scratch or touch the tattooed skin to prevent germs from fingernails infecting the tender area.
Sun’s UV rays can further harm the skin and also cause tattoo ink colors to fade. Always use a waterproof sunscreen lotion with SPF 30++ before going outdoors. Cover up with an umbrella or seek shade wherever possible. Stay away from tanning beds for a few weeks.
While sleeping, make sure you use clean bed sheets. Do not sleep on your best linens as sometimes the ink can run or there may be seepage from the inked area. Avoid satin or silky bed sheets; cotton is the best as it is light, breathable and gentler on the skin. As much as possible, avoid sleeping on the tattoo to prevent it from ‘getting stuck to the sheets’.
Make sure you clean your hands using hand wash or soap before washing the tattoo. Gently pour warm water on the tattoo—do not soak it for longer periods of time. Rinse the tattoo with soap. Avoid using a loofah or rough wash cloth to clean as these can abrade the delicate skin. It is recommended that you wash the tattoo at least 3 times daily. Pat it dry gently with a soft towel.
A few days after getting tattooed, your skin might appear scabbed and/or raised. Now is the time to use a simple salt solution to rinse the scabs out. Do not scrub the tattoo. Be gentle when removing the crusted skin.
A tattoo is like a minor burn or wound on the skin, so keeping it moisturized will prevent dryness and itchiness. Apply a moisturizing lotion free from chemicals, dyes, strong perfumes, etc. Any natural skincare cream from a health food store or the cream/lotion that your tattoo artist has recommended, will do.
You can also use Aloe Vera gel or lotion on the inked region. Use clean hands to extract the gel from the leaf of an Aloe plant (or buy a tube or jar of aloe vera gel from a drug store). Apply a thin layer of the gel all over the tattoo. Repeat application several times a day. You may also cover the tattoo with sterile gauze to catch the drainage from the wound, if any.
A thin layer of organic, cold pressed, extra virgin coconut oil can help moisturize the tattoo and prevent dryness. Ask your tattoo artist if coconut oil is the right remedy for tattoo aftercare.
Do not use petroleum based ointments or skin-care formulations for at least 24-48 hours after tattooing as they tend to clog skin pores. Allow your skin to breathe and heal completely before using these products.
Each person is different and their skin heals differently. There is no right way to heal a tattoo—that’s why it’s best to ask your tattoo artist! We hope these tips and remedies help you manage your inked skin in a healthy manner!
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