Hey, Guys! I wanted to talk about something I truly love today, tattoos! I just had my half sleeve tattoo finished the other day, and it inspired me to write this post. Tattoos are becoming way more mainstream now. It seems that the culture is changing, and tattoos are now more excepted as a part of life. No longer are women’s tattoos considered common or tasteless. More and more people are getting tattoos as a form of self-expression, to honor the past or a loved one, and to showcase their individuality. People from all walks of life are getting inked these days, from the 20-somethings to the older generation. So, if you’ve decided to pull the trigger and get some ink, here are some tips to help you care for your new tattoo.
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Your beautiful new ink is a work of art and you want to preserve it as best you can. The healing of your new tattoo is crucial to be sure it stays beautiful for years to come. There are a ton of opinions and advice on how to care for a new tattoo. Some of it is good and some of it is horrible advice. After 8 tattoos (you can’t have just one, haha), these are the tips I can give you from my experience and from reputable artists.
What To Expect
A new tattoo will generally take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to fully heal depending on its size and placement. In some cases, it can take up to a month. The small tattoo on my ankle seemed to take forever to heal, whereas the one my shoulder only took a week. Everyone is different, and so is each person’s natural healing abilities.
After the artist is finished with your piece, he or she will clean it off with a cleaning solution prior to getting a great picture for you. They should then apply a coat of A&D ointment to the tattoo. A clean non-stick bandage will then be applied. If you are allergic to adhesives and tape, be sure to bring your own. Leave the bandage on for around 30 min to an hour as your tattoo is basically an open wound and can bleed and seep fluids. Remove the bandage and show all your friends your new tattoo! If your bandage is sticking, do not pull it off! Get in the shower and soak it off with cool to lukewarm water to minimize any damage to your skin and the tattoo itself.
After removing your bandage, clean it with plain lukewarm water. Do not use hot water. It will not feel nice. Be sure to rinse until all of the fluids and ointment that is left is gone. DO NOT SCRUB! Pat dry with a clean paper towel or clean soft cloth. Also, do not submerge your new tattoo in water such as a bath or in a swimming pool. Allow your tattoo to dry and hang out in the open air for a while. This will help the healing process.
Caring For Your New Tattoo
The first week following your new tattoo is the most important. There are a lot of commercial tattoo ointments out there. I’ve used many, and while they are fine to use, and I always go back to A&D ointment. Do not use Neopsporin or Bacitricin ointment on your tattoo. It sounds like a good idea, but it may just do too good of a job! You can end up with dull or light spots and even color loss. It contains zinc and petroleum which promotes fast healing and will pull the ink particles out of your skin instead of allowing your body to lock in the ink at the cellular level.
After cleaning your tattoo apply a thin layer of ointment. Do not cake it on. More is not better. Do this in the days following getting your ink. When you start to notice that your tattoo is peeling and getting “crusty”, which is totally normal and expected, switch to a plain unscented lotion like Lubriderm or Aquaphor. Be sure to wash your hands before applying lotion. You still basically have an open wound. A good-looking wound, but still a wound., and you should treat it as such. You don’t want to get it infected.
You may want to think about getting some cheap sheets for the first couple of nights. Many times you will wake up in the morning with a fresh imprint of your tattoo on your sheets. So, it may not be advisable to use your 1000 count Egyptian sheets for a couple of days. Do not re-bandage your tattoo at night. It’s best for it to stay open to air to allow your skin to breathe.
Don’t Pick The Scabs!
When your new tattoo begins to get crusty and starts to scab, it’s important to not pick at it! Let them fall off over time. Picking at it can pull the ink out.While some scabbing and peeling is normal, heavy scabbing is not normal and needs to be seen about.
It’s important to wear loose-fitting clothing. Again, your tattoo needs to breathe. Beware of bikini lines and bra strap areas. You may have to go commando or braless for a few days depending on placement. The same goes for foot tattoos. Shoes, socks, and boots are breeding grounds for bacteria. Go barefoot. If you work out in the sun or will be exposed to chemicals, be sure to wear clothing that will keep your tattoo covered.
Rock Your New Tattoo!
I hope this has helped and that your new tattoo heals beautifully. Just remember that everyone heals differently. You know your body. If you think you may have a problem, see a physician. Otherwise, show off your new ink to the world!
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