Getting a tattoo is a lifetime commitment, even after you leave the studio. This is why proper tattoo aftercare is so important.
Cleaning and aftercare
Good tattoo aftercare is important. Getting into the habit of looking after your tattoo is a great way to keep it clean and vibrant for years to come. Check out the ArtRageous guide to taking care of your tattoo.
Since you chose ArtRageous Tattoos for your masterpiece, you obviously did your homework when choosing the right tattoo artist. Now is the time to listen to them. Your artist will provide you with detailed instructions on how to take care of your tattoo while it heals. You should follow this advice.
Our tattoo artists have slightly different opinions on the best tattoo aftercare method, but rest assured that your artist has had years of experience in caring for new tattoos.
Like any product, your tattoo comes with a warranty; if you ignore the artists instructions, you may void this warranty, and the artist will not accept responsibility for the result.
Remember, we want your tattoo to heal well and look great just as much as you do.
Before leaving the tattoo studio, your artist will clean your skin, apply an anti-bacterial cream, and cover your tattoo with either a plastic wrap or Dermalize (Also known as Transpore). Resist the temptation to remove the dressing. It is there to protect your tattoo from airborne bacteria which can penetrate through your broken skin.
- In the case of plastic wrap or cling film, we recommend you leave the dressing on for 2 to 6 hours before removing it. If you have pets at home it may be a good idea to keep the tattoo covered for a bit longer.
- If you opted in for the specialised “Dermalize” dressing, you should leave it on for 3 or 4 days. If you experience any discomfort when using “Dermalize” please contact your artist.
You may find that, due to seepage, the dressing needs to be changed. Please ask your artist how to do this.
Soak the dressing with warm water to prevent it from sticking to your skin. It should come off easily once wet. Properly discard of the used dressing. Use coconut oil to remove the glue if there is any leftover.
- After 2 hours, give your tattoo a gentle hand-wash with warm water and a mild, unscented liquid antibacterial soap. Protex and Dettol soap are good choices.
- Avoid washing the area with soaps or lotions that contain lots of ingredients, especially fragrance. Fragrance can irritate your skin or even cause you to have a more serious reaction. The fewer chemicals you put on your tattoo, the better.
- Use your hands to gently rub the tattoo, removing the blood, plasma, and ink.
- Do not use a cloth or any type of sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may harbour bacteria.
- Do not hold the tattoo directly under the water. Rather splash water over the tattoo with your hands. The stream of water from the tap may be too harsh on your new tattoo.
- If your new tattoo is covering a large area of skin, it may be easiest to wash the tattoo in the shower.
When you are done washing the area, you should gently pat it dry with a little paper towel. Rubbing may cause irritation so it is better to pat.
Once the excess moisture has been removed, you should leave the skin uncovered for 20 minutes to an hour. This will let the skin to breathe and any excess moisture to evaporate.
Allow your tattoo to breathe every time you wash it or get it wet during the healing phase.
As soon as your tattoo is fully dry, and the skin starts to feel tight, apply an unscented, water-based anti-bacterial cream from a tube, not a tub. We recommend an all-natural vegan aftercare to the tattoo. HerbTec has a great aftercare product.
Only apply a thin layer of cream. Rub it into the skin gently until it is fully absorbed. Applying too much cream may suffocate the tattoo, which will encourage the growth of bacteria.
You should apply the cream every time you wash the tattoo, at least five times a day, for 3 to 5 days or until the tattoo starts to peel.
Don’t use petroleum-based products, such as Vaseline, as these are too heavy and may clog the pores, causing breakouts on the tattoo. They also tend to draw the ink from the tattoo to the surface of the skin. This may cause the tattoo to fade before it’s even fully healed.
Carry on washing and moisturising your tattoo, twice a day until the scab is gone.
Keep washing it with anti-bacterial soap and warm water until it is fully healed.
This can take up to six weeks, but depends on the size and location of the tattoo.
You should wash the tattoo approximately three times a day, though you should wash more often if the tattoo is on your hand, wrist, foot, or any other area that is more exposed to germs.
The initial healing of the tattoo will take up to two weeks. During this time, you can expect the tattoo to start peeling or flaking, in a similar way to sunburn. Some colored skin may come away as the tattoo peels, but this is entirely normal.
After the skin peels, your tattoo will look glassy and feel tight. It may also have cloudy or white patches of skin that you will be tempted to peel off, but try to resist. This will fall off by itself within a couple of weeks.
If you have taken proper care of your new tattoo, you can expect it to be healed and your skin to have fully regenerated in about six weeks.
What to avoid
Do not scratch or pick at your tattoo.
As it heals, your tattoo will begin to scab. This is normal, and the scabs should be allowed to dry out and fall off by themselves. Do not try to help the process along by picking at the scabs. This may cause the scabs to fall off prematurely, leaving holes or light spots on your tattoo.
If your hands or nails are unclean; you may also cause the tattoo to become infected. You should always wash your hands with anti-bacterial soap before touching your tattoo, and you should never allow anyone else to touch it while it heals.
Dry, scabbing or peeling skin can become very itchy, but scratching at your tattoo may also cause scabs to fall off. You can relieve itching by slapping the tattoo with the flat of your hand, or by rubbing in a little cream.
Keep using moisturizing ointment to combat itchiness if it is a problem.
Avoid soaking the tattoo.
Until your tattoo is fully healed, you should avoid swimming in a pool, in the sea, or even soaking in the bath. There are two reasons for this.
- Exposing your tattoo to too much water may draw ink out of your skin and damage the tattoos appearance.
- The water in swimming pools, the sea, and the bathtub may be carrying dirt, bacteria, chemicals and other impurities that could cause your tattoo to become infected.
Do not expose your new tattoo to direct sunlight.
Sunlight is the worst enemy of new tattoos. The harsh rays of the sun may cause your skin to blister and bleach some of the colors from your tattoo. For this reason, it is best to keep your tattoo covered and away from the sun for at least 3 to 4 weeks, until the initial healing is complete.
After that, you will still need to protect your tattoo by wearing sunscreen. This will prevent your tattoo from fading in the sun, keeping the colors true for longer.
Avoid wearing tight or restrictive clothing on the area while your tattoo heals. It will seep plasma and excess ink, which may cause the clothing to stick, which could make it painful to remove and may rip off any freshly formed scabs.
If your clothes do stick, don’t pull. Wet the area with water, which should loosen the clothing so that it can be removed without damaging your tattoo.
In addition, tight clothing will prevent enough oxygen from getting to your tattoo, and oxygen is essential for the healing process.
Aim to wear clean, loose-fitting clothing, day, and night, while your tattoo is healing.
Avoid working out.
Tattoos that cover large surface areas, or are near joints (such as elbows and knees), may take longer to heal if the skin is forced to move around too much during intense workouts or other physical activity. The movement will cause the skin to crack and become irritated, prolonging the tattoos healing process. For this reason, you should avoid unnecessary workouts for at least a few days after getting a new tattoo.
If you’re involved in a self-defense class like karate or kickboxing, you may want to warn your classmates so they can avoid hitting you in the wrong place.
If you work in a job that involves physical activity, such as construction or dance, you may want to consider having your new tattoo done on a Friday, so it will have the whole weekend to heal before your go back to work.
- Apply thin layers of Epimax or E45 for the first five days. You can apply the cream up to five times a day. However, never oversaturate the tattoo.
- Avoid the sun for first two weeks.
- Avoid submerging the area in any type of water for the first two weeks.
- No picking or scratching at your tattoo.