Aftercare, Responsibility and product info
Tattoo’s and my after care – advice
A tattoo is a personal and permanent work of art. It is also a type of wound therefore tattoo aftercare plays an important part of safeguarding a newly performed tattoo.
Here are detailed instructions on how to care for a new tattoo and tips for keeping your newly tattooed skin looking absolutely fabulous.
Thorough aftercare is super important in helping prevent an infection and keeping the tattoo’s healing process on track for the best healed, artwork outcome.
The initial bandage or wrap
Once the tattoo is done, the artist will apply a thin layer of tattoo jelly or aftercare over the entire tattooed area. They will then cover the area completely with plastic wrap or a bandage.
It is important not to remove the protective cover of the tattoo, the plastic wrap should stay on for at least 1-2 hours after the process. The main reason is that your body excretes a liquid combined with blood, known as weep, ooze or plasma. This is the body’s way of cleaning any skin penetrated damage. We must contain it, so, when you do remove the plastic covering. Please clean any surfaces you have used and discard the wrapping straight away to avoid cross-contamination.
Washy Washy! After 1 hour, no more than 2 hours, it is safe to remove the wrapping and wash the tattoo. Most people generally stop weeping ooze after about 20 minutes that is why the cover must stay on for an hour, remembering everyone is different.
After thorough hand washing, a person can then gently wash their new tattoo with hypoallergenic soap and warm water, gently washing the weepy substance away. You can use your normal soap at home that you find is compatible with your skin type. Rinse well.
After washing, a person should pat the skin with a clean towel and allow it to air-dry for up to 20 minutes. When the area is completely dry, it is advised to apply a thin layer of TATTOO AFTERCARE to the tattoo. That is a small film and not a slather. Leave the tattoo uncovered to allow the skin to breathe. Petroleum jelly, paw paw or aloe-Vera is not advised. Specific tattoo aftercare ointment is.
You will need to wash the Tattoo two to three times daily, allowing it to dry in between times and then re-applying your aftercare ointment. Some people can get away with washing it morning and night. I would keep on the safe side and keep it clean as much as possible on the first and second day after it is performed.
Yes, it is important to keep the washing process going.
If you need to play sport, use the gym, or you work in a compromised environment (dirty, dusty, clinical or with food). For the duration of time, you are occupying the activity. Please wrap your tattoo with plastic wrap. WITHOUT any ointment underneath. Once you are home again, wash, air and re-apply your Tattoo ointment.
For large comprehensive tattoos it is recommended to wrap the area over night for sleeping over the first two to three days. Again, clean the tattoo and remove any excess after care ointment. Pat dry and wrap yourself for the evening. Your tattoo will ooze or weep overnight and the wrap ensures that you won’t become stuck to the bed linen or have the pigment fall out when you detached from being stuck on the linen. If this happens, soak the linen and area until it frees up, easily. You may swell slightly over night, this will subside as soon as you have washed and aired the tattoo. If its still a bit sore or throbbing, use a cool pack again with another clean towel to take the inflammation and swelling down.
Week numero Uno
There are many specifics in how your artist will advise you on looking after your new tattoo and this aftercare advise is my recommendation. A person with a fresh tattoo should follow their tattoo artist’s instructions on when to start using moisturizer and swimming etc. Moisturizer is different to tattoo aftercare ointment.
For the first couple of days, the tattooed skin may feel warm to the touch and have a reddish appearance. The colours may also appear very bright against the rest of the skin. The tattoo will become less vibrant as the healing process continues; this is due to the pigment’s ‘degree of settle’. This is where the ink heals within your skin, under skin layers. Your skin has its own melanin content which makes up your genetic skin pigment, this is why some colours look toned down. It is normal to throw around 30% of your tattoo pigment, meaning it will lighten once settled down. Any further issues consult your tattoo artist.
It is not advised getting the tattoo saturated or soaking it in Salt water (ocean) or Chlorinated water (pools) during the first 3–6 weeks or soaking in a bubble bath. This does not mean do not wash your tattoo. Some skin types are sensitive so soaking your new tattoo can be an opportunity for infection as well as some of the tattoo pigments can react with the chlorine cleaning agent or bath soak salts. The salt water tends to dry the skin out too much, which also goes against the healing process. So, sorry folks, you’ll have to hang a limb out while cooling off this summer!
Continue to clean your tattoo and re-apply the tattoo aftercare ointment. Everyone’s skin is different, it is advised to use it the tattoo ointment sparingly. You can always re-apply ointment but make sure you have removed the surface residue first with a baby wipe or by washing it.
The Tattoo Aftercare ointment acts like a barrier cream and any bacteria will sit on the surface of the cream. So, it is important to clean first and then re-apply your ointment, every time.
Scabs will often form in the first few days, and ink may still come up through the skin and need to be washed away. It is important not to pick the scabs off or scratch the skin. The Scabs or scales (more so) will fall and flake off naturally. If they come off too soon sometimes pigments will come out along with the scab leaving a un-coloured gap. This may mean a trip back to the tattoo shop for some touch up work.
In general, Scabbing is not a sign of improper wound care. Scabs will form anytime the skin is injured and can be a sign of healthy tissue forming underneath the wound. Your skin may react with different pigments as this is another variable. However, at any stage if the tattoo becomes dark red / purple of colour and remains swollen around the tattooed area. Is very hot and sore to touch please contact your artist and GP.
If you touch base with me, I will be making sure that you connect with your General Practitioner and consider running a course of antibiotics. This will help the persons immune systems and promote good health skin healing.
Keep hydrated, eat and sleep well and stay on track with healing your new Ink!
If you have used Numbing cream during the procedure, you may have more swelling than normal. Again, this is different for everyone, but do not be alarmed. I used it, love it, but also blow up like a puffer fish in some areas.
I have also used this product on over 60 x customers with outstanding results. I have found the best way for both pain relief, is to cool the area down afterwards. Especially if you have a large piece performed. Medical Cool packs wrapped in clean towels are excellent!! Do this as often as you need but remember to keep it clean. The heat removed from the area feels a lot more bearable.
Pre Numbing: The best way I find the product works well is:
If you are using Numbing cream, you must be aware that it is a 'risk' and adds variable that may affect your tattoo that your tattoo artist does not have any control over! Signature Numbing Cream Company I have found to work well.
Clean your skin area and apply the numbing cream.
Don’t rub it in like a standard moisturiser. There needs to be a visual lucrative amount of cream over the area that has not absorbed. Do not rub it in as if you would applying a general moisturiser. Now. Here is the fun part - wrap yourself up with plastic wrap over the area…. Good luck with that. 😊
90 Minutes ladies and gents. N I N E T Y M I N U T E S is the magic number. Bring along what you have left in the tube, I will use it if you become re-sensitized in some areas that I haven't gotten to within its 3 -4 hour numbing time frame.
Week two, Post Tattoo
The scabs will start to flake off and a few of your showers will have ‘magical flaky colours’ floating in the bottom. There is No need for any alarm here, it is all perfectly normal. Your at the ‘Shedding Skin’ phase.
Be gentle with washing and moisturizing during this week, as it is easy to tear away scabs and damage the tattoo. Let them flake naturally, it a short process.
The skin is likely to feel very itchy during this week. Very Itchy! However, it must not be scratched. Your aftercare may help relieve the itch. Or itch lightly around the outside on the non-tattooed skin. That helps me lots!
Week three and onwards
The final stage of healing can be slow and requires patience. Most of the larger scabs will have flaked and fallen away by now. Small scabs and bits of dead skin may appear. However, these will also clear up as the healing process continues. You may have a few pores built up with in grown hairs which maybe irritating and slightly sore. Lightly loofah when you are in the shower and remove the pimple heads. Please do not pick, squeeze, or scratch these. Your Aftercare ointment should help here also.
The outer layers of skin should completely heal by the end of week three. The inner layers of skin can take longer to heal. However, they require much less care. Your bodies 'wear and tear' areas or skin friction areas can also take a little longer to heal.
It about this time that you can switch over to a regular moisturiser from your tattoo aftercare.
Moisturizing regularly and good skin attentiveness will help keep the tattoo looking bright and clear. Protecting the tattoo from the sun with clothing, and applying sunscreen after it has healed, is especially important for the overall longevity of your tattoo. The better you look after your skin, the nicer your tattoo will keep.
Ink rejection or allergy
At any stage in the healing process, the body may reject an ink colour. If the body is allergic to an ink, a raised and painful rash may form on the skin or the ink my scab up more so than any other colours. Some red coloured pigments have been known to be problematic with sensitive skin and require extra cleaning and care.
To avoid ink rejection, some tattoo artists will do an allergy test with the colour in question by applying a small amount to the skin. If it causes a reaction, it is not safe to use. However, in my career I have found reaction to colours are more apparent once the tattoo has been performed. Some colours have reacted to tattoo designed aftercare ointment itself and has been recalled… Knowing you have a reaction occurring is often apparent once the tattoo has been washed and the other colours are settling down.
Ink allergies may occur because tattoo ink colours contain many different substances. For example, black ink contains carbon, and red ink contains mercury sulphide.
Anyone experiencing a rash on or around a tattoo should visit a doctor, who can identify and treat the rash. The rash will also come about in the first few hours or days. NOT Eight to TEN weeks later, for anyone considering to be malevolent toward their tattoo artist.
Good artists do their best work for Good Customers and although we often listen whilst tattooing and empathise with what the customer wants to divulge. Please consider that we are people too. WE have worked hard to fine-tune our artistic skillsets which makes us desirable artists. And on that basis, I want to acknowledge, I have the right to refuse my services to anyone who will compromise my performance by not respecting my operational boundaries.
You’re after care effort is imperative to your tattoo healing process and is solely Your responsibility.
If a reaction occurs, you should contact your tattoo artist as there could be a variable anomaly with the ink batch. The artist will likely discard the use of that colour on anyone else and inform their professional tattoo supply shop. They will also offer you a remedial advice plan.
Lotions for tattoo aftercare – Do not use anything that is not recommended by your tattoo artist, even if it’s cheap and even if ‘eBay’ says it’s for tattoos!
Each tattoo artist is likely to have a different recommendation for what moisturizer or advice they give their own customers.
I recommend Dr. Pickles, 3 x Step aftercare system after having have used a countless state of the art aftercare ointments in my 20-year career. I usually all ways go back to Bepanthen cream but after Mark's enthusiasm for me to try 'his' go to after care choice, I am now converted to Dr Pickles!
If your serious about your ink and having it look awesome, then you need a tattoo care system this is a good one!
And one last point I would like to advise before you leave. When you are heavily tattooed it is hard to identify any moles or skin blemishes. Especially if the are any changes. Black ink colouring on your skin draws the heat from the sun a lot more, this opens you up to more susceptibility for sunburn and skin damage. I highly recommend a high level sun block once your tattoo has completely healed.
Cover up, look after your skin and stay looking fab!
On that note, enjoy! Unless there is anything else I can help with?