Tattoo aftercare. My tips for helping your new tattoo stay true for longer

A tattoo is an image or design of any size and shape created through inserting ink into skin (dermis to be more precise) permanently using a special needle. How to wash a new tattoo and how to take care of it? How to shield the tattoo from the sun? I’m going to answer all questions connected with tattoo aftercare that you may have. Also, I’ll give you advice on how to help your tattoo heal, providing that you’re experiencing some problems with it which I hope you arenโ€™t. Here are my tips.

How to take care of a fresh tattoo?

When your tattoo is healing, you see tiny scabs appearing. This is the time when you should apply warm and damp poultice to this skin area – best if you do this twice or three times a day and let the poultice sit for more or less 5 minutes. At this stage neither ointments nor balms are recommended. I know that it might be hardly possible but try not to scratch the skin when it itches – just like in the case of chickenpox. Otherwise, you may expect to spoil or even completely remove the tattoo.

How to wash a fresh tattoo?

Use gentle, liquid soap/antiseptic gel and lukewarm water to wash the tattoo with. If you want to dry you skin, just take a clean towel – no matter if made of cloth or paper – and press it gently to the skin. You should cleanse the tattoo twice or three times a day.

When your tattoo is newly-made, taking a shower would make a better choice than taking a bath because it’s harder to wet your new ink-design. I guess it’s pretty important to realize that drowning your tattoo in a bathtub or jacuzzi might damage it seriously. Therefore, try to avoid any type of bathing for two or three weeks since the day you have got your tattoo made.

What tattoo aftercare products should you use?

I won’t give you any specific names of the tattoo aftercare products. Just read the list of ingredients to check whether an ointment contains vitamin E and whether it is antiseptic. Vaseline is too heavy to be applied to a fresh wound, it boosts blood flow so it stimulates ink particles to move. Apart from that, you should shield the tattoo against the sun by applying sun creams. It won’t do any harm to the tattoo if you keep treating it with SPF 50.

The most common tattoo-related problems

1. What should I do when my newly-made tattoo doesn’t want to heal?

If your tattoo takes long to heal itself, when the wound is swollen and is getting more and more red, you should cleanse it with water (do it gently!) and use an antiseptic gel. Then, cover your tattoo with a thin layer of cream used for treating skin inflammations. However, if you see that the skin condition is getting more serious, you have to see a dermatologist and ask for topical antibiotic preparations.

If you want to separate your fresh tattoo from bacteria that are all around us, you can cover it with a bandage, sterile gauze or foil. Open wound is a feast for bacteria and makes a perfect environment for infections to develop. Keep your fresh tattoo covered for 2-3 hours and then let it breathe for couple of minutes – fresh air speeds up wound healing processes.

2. Can I get a tattoo made if I have eczema?

A friend of mine had eczema. She exposed herself to various examinations that didn’t give any positive results, yet we could spot skin lesions on her hands the during autumn-winter season. Although she wanted to get a tattoo on the foot, she was afraid because she wasn’t sure whether eczema affecting other skin parts wasn’t a contraindication for this procedure. A physician told her that in her case the risk of developing contact eczema through getting a tattoo is possible. He also said that the skin lesions may spread and affect other skin areas, not necessarily the area when a tattoo would be made. She was advised to run some more tests, but at that stage the physician’s suggested her not to get a tattoo done.

What are your ideas for tattoo aftercare? Share your tips in the comments!