Tattoos have been around for thousands of years with some tools found on archaeological digs dating back 12,000 years. But if you’re just getting your first one, the process is all new to you.
You’re not alone getting inked. Around 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo.
If you just got your brand new tattoo and are wondering “now what?”, we’re going to show you how to make sure it lasts. Follow our guide to tattoo aftercare for best results.
Talk to the Tattoo Artist
Before, during, and after your tattoo session, talk to your tattoo artist. They can give you more information about everything from the latex gloves to the ink they’ll use on your skin.
Find out what covering you’ll be leaving with. Some coverings, like plastic wrap, have to be changed after a few hours, others, like Tegaderm, last for days.
Cleaning Your Tattoo
You’ll have to clean your tattoo after a few hours. It’s important to take the right steps to ensure you don’t get an infection or damage the artwork.
Always wash your hands and touch your tattoo with clean hands. Gently wash the inked area with antibacterial or mild liquid soap, then pat the skin dry with a soft towel.
Afterwards, put a layer of tattoo ointment or an unscented moisturizing cream over the ink. You’ll be expected to clean your tattoo at least twice a day.
Until your tattoo heals, you’ll need to be mindful of it and be gentle with your skin. How you take care of your tattoo now determines how it looks in the future or if you’ll be looking for a tattoo removal service soon.
Don’t take hot showers or baths. Always cleanse the area with mild soap and lukewarm water.
Keep out of the sun. Too much sun damage will fade a tattoo sooner, so remember to use sunscreen on it even after it’s healed.
If your tattoo is in a place where your clothes will rub against it, put a layer of gauze over your tattoo. Make sure it’s clean and dry at all times.
Your tattoo will look great the minute it’s finished. As it heals, expect to see some scabbing, flaking, and crusting.
Most tattooed skin will heal by hardening up temporarily or scabbing over. Never pick, peel, itch, or scratch your healing skin.
If this period doesn’t pass or if it gets worse, go see a doctor. Excessive pain, bleeding, and redness could mean you have an infection.
Best Tattoo Aftercare Advice
Following our tattoo aftercare advice will result in ink that looks great for years to come. Remember to always keep it clean and dry and to keep using a high SPF sunscreen on it even after it heals.
Your tattoo artist might have a pamphlet at the studio you can take home, too. Ask them for any further tips and tricks to keep your ink looking like new.
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