Caring for a tattoo is not a children’s thing, and the whole process is usually crazy. It is immense the search we made as soon as we decided to get a tattoo. Which inks are the best, which artist best suits the style we like, which design will be chosen to last in our skin forever. But what happens after tattooing? Many times we forget that a fundamental stage to achieve a beautiful tattoo is its healing and the care that this entails. Tattoos are open wounds and therefore you have to take care of them as such.
Today, unfortunately, there are many tattoo artists who may not have the necessary training, since the tattoo industry has grown and, as also happens in other areas, self-taught tattooists and ultra-fast courses (which are usually called intensive). There, a very important part of the tattooing process is lost: the skin. Caring for a tattoo becomes a background for many tattooists today.
Being a tattoo artist almost 10 years ago, I have seen horrors: expanded lines, super irritated areas, infections, bulky tattoo healing … Things that, I must emphasize, are not normal. In most cases, it is not only due to perhaps a very aggressive treatment by the tattoo artist on very sensitive skin, but also to the fact that the “artist” did not know how to indicate adequate post tattoo care.
I would like to clarify that we all have different skins, some more sensitive than others, and that not always the care performed by one person will be effective in another. However, with my experience and studies, I have determined the most effective way to treat your tattoo to take care of both your ink and your health.
What to have in mind when taking care of a tattoo
The most important part to keep in mind after tattooing is to keep the tattoo and the entire surrounding area clean. When washing it, we avoid the formation of bacteria that can generate infections, which not only affect the final result of the tattoo, but also our health. I recommend washing the area 3 times a day, very consciously, giving a light massage with the fingertips.
We should never pass a bar soap directly on the freshly made tattoo, it is best to use liquid antibacterial soaps. I usually tell my clients to use an antiseptic and disinfectant soap (Chlorhexidine digluconate) that is used at the surgical level. But if you don’t get it, liquid antibacterial soaps are a good option (Protex, Espadol, etc.).
After washing it should always be dried with disposable paper napkins, tapping. Do not use towels, gauze or cotton, as they can leave residue or lint that would facilitate the development of bacteria.
After washing, another important step is to keep the area hydrated and provide some tools to make healing faster and more effective. Creams for cosmetic use should never be applied to freshly tattooed skin as they contain excess alcohol and fragrances. Imagine what a doctor would say if we treated a burn with Nivea.
It is correct to use creams such as Dermaglos with vitamin A. If it is in its emulsion version much better, as it helps the skin absorb the cream more easily. For more sensitive skin, or who have difficulty healing (like mine) I have discovered that the best option to treat them are creams with silver sulfadiazine (antibacterial).
In my case I prefer Denver Pharma, since it also contains lidocaine, which helps reduce discomfort in the area and also has vitamin A, which is the ingredient that will help us regenerate tissue. It is always advisable to have the opinion of our doctor, since we can have allergic reactions to some components of certain creams.
The cream should always be applied after washing and drying the area properly, in thin layers until completely absorbed. It is very important to keep the skin hydrated but not moist, in order to avoid the risk of getting infections. As I clarified before, we all have different skins, so some people will need to hydrate their tattoo more times than others. We must learn to know our own skin.
Tattoo inks, whether vegetable or acrylic are, in their entirety, photosensitive. In other words, they react to sunlight. It is essential that the newly tattooed skin is not exposed to the sun, not only to ensure that the inks persist with vibrant and deep colors, but so that the skin that does not become even more irritated and allows proper healing.
We must be aware that being an open wound the tattoo can be the gateway of viruses and bacteria, so it is important not to dive into water when we have just had a tattoo. Whether in the river, sea, lake, even in swimming pools, water is the transport of microorganisms that can seriously affect our health. We must also avoid sports or contact activities, as accidents occur and we should not risk getting hurt on the newly made tattoo.
All these cares should be followed to the letter for at least 15 days (there are people who need to perform them for at least one month), to ensure proper healing of the tattoo.
Once healed, it is imperative to continue with certain care so that we can have a healthy and brightly colored tattoo that lasts over time. I always recommend using sunscreen 30, bathing with moisturizing soaps and not spraying it with perfumes or colognes, since alcohol usually takes intensity away from the inks.
If we follow these tips to take care of a tattoo, and pay attention to any reaction our skin has, we will ensure a beautiful and healthy result for years.
Tattoo artist with more than 10 years of experience, versatile plastic artist and aesthetic world lover.
She has a unique style that shows in every single work. Vegan and animal protectionist.
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