New tattoo? Now it’s time to take care of that long-awaited masterpiece so that it stays looking fresh, free of infection, and faces minimal fading.
It seems like a no-brainer that touching a tattoo without washing your hands is not recommended, but the artist will still remind you of this basic rule because there is a higher risk of infection during the 7 to 10 days after you get inked.
Keep it Cool
It is important to keep that beautiful tattoo not only clean but also cool. In essence, you have open skin with settling ink; it is new and sensitive, so keep the water you cleanse with cool or lukewarm so as not to irritate and disrupt the healing process.
Stay Away From these Products
When cleaning your fresh tattoo, steer clear of soaps or cleansers that are alcohol-based or contain artificial fragrances. Alcohol opens and dries out the wound which again disrupts the healing process and increases your chances of fading ink. Artificial fragrances cause rashes and irritation, which leads to itching and potentially damaging your body art. Only use your hands to clean the tattoo to minimize irritation caused by a cloth or towel.
When you apply a healing ointment, it is best to avoid mineral oil or petroleum-based products. These products suffocate the skin and draw ink out when it should be settling in. Opt instead for a natural balm, lotion, or cream. Once you select your preferred product, be sure not to over-apply so that your wounds can breathe. For continual moisturizing, just set a thin layer of the product on more frequently throughout the day.
No Scrubs, Shave, Sauna, Sweat, or Sun!
All of these can damage your skin by burning, irritating, or possibly sweating out your precious ink. Obviously scratching, shaving, or picking at tattoo scabs can induce infection, distortion, and scarring. Direct sun and visits to the sauna should be delayed for about 6 to 8 weeks to keep the integrity of your investment.
Once your tattoo is finished, the artist will likely wrap it with a padded bandage or cling film that should be removed after a few hours. These are not to be reapplied – this allows breathability to speed up healing and reduce potential infections.
- Pools, oceans, baths, lakes, or anywhere you could submerge your tattoo, just stay away for 4 to 6 weeks. Your skin will absorb water and this influx of water into a new tattoo could distort the art or cause infection especially when the cleanliness of the water source is unknown.
- Alcohol is a blood thinner so it could be detrimental to the way your tattoo heals.
- Tight-fit clothes cause irritations that could lead to scars, so loose-fit clothing specifically in the location of the tattoo is recommended.