SUGGESTED AFTERCARE FOR YOUR NEW TATTOO
YOU NEED TO KNOW
Read the whole thing... C'mon, you can do it!
The proper method of healing a tattoo has become a huge controversy in the tattoo community.
Everyone thinks their method is the 'right' way. That said, it really boils down to the overall goal
in healing, which is "to be healed" without infection, leaving your ink bright and bold.
It's about results. So, before we really get going here, don't ask us how to take care of your tattoo,
then immediately begin substituting parts with your own "thing". That approach simply will not work.
The worst thing you can do to a new tattoo is glob a thick layer of the goop of the week on it, expecting it
to heal properly. A tattoo that cannot breathe is perhaps the WORST investment ever.
There really are only two logical methods: the MOIST method and the DRY method.
While most people prefer the MOIST method (and it's my preference), at the end of a few weeks, the result is the same... your tattoo will be healed.
Be warned, though, the dry method is less desirable, and looks awful for several weeks.
DRY HEALING (not preferred)
The dry way is to avoid all skin products unilaterally. This DOES NOT mean to avoid washing/cleaning your tattoo altogether.
Antibacterial soap and lukewarm water will remove any discharge and bacteria and allow you to get on with your day.
Clean and loose clothing will protect the tattoo and allow it to get the oxygen it needs to heal.
This method is specifically for people who simply don't have the time or luxury to use the moist method, or tend to have allergies
to skin products. If you have experienced red 'bumpy' patches in or around your tattoo that resemble pimples or ingrown hairs, this is likely the method
you'll want. These are usually due to a reaction to the pigment or skin products you may have used. It's not 'common' but it's possible.
MOIST HEALING (preferred)
This method is our personal recommendation. If you can avoid dry healing, please do.
It will take less time, and you'll have better results. The dry method is only mentioned because the body will heal itself either way.
Your goal is to keep your new tattoo clean and moist until it's fully healed.
It is a little more involved, but it's worth it. It works great and minimizes your discomfort and risk of infection.
HERE IS WHY
We keep it clean to remove discharge and bacteria that can lead to unwanted infection.
We keep it moist to recondition damaged/dry epidermis and soothe the itch. That's all. It's NOT complicated.
Lotion is not meant to "heal" the skin, nor will it. In fact your tattoo will heal whether or not you put anything on it at all as is the case with
the dry method. It still transfers oxygen (very important), helps reduce the sloughing epidermis, and certainly soothes the itch in most cases.
Start now and continue 3-5 times per day until completely healed.
Vigorously wash your hands with antibacterial pump soap and a nail brush if you have one, paying particular attention to your nail beds.
Gently wash your new tattoo with antibacterial pump soap. DO NOT SCRUB it with a loofah, or anything abrasive. Clean fingertips only, no fingernails.
Gently blot dry your cleaned tattoo with a soft, absorbent paper towel. I endorse VIVA for this purpose. DO NOT WIPE it.
Gently apply a VERY thin layer of FRAGRANCE FREE CUREL LOTION or EUCERIN after it has been gently washed.
Since the emergence of CBD lotion which is now legal in most places, and has been tested on healing tattoos, this might also be a viable alternative to other lotions for you. Whatever you choose, DO NOT USE heavy ointments and salves. Again, vigorously wash your hands with antibacterial / antimicrobial pump soap. Protect the rest of us from your wound.
NEVER re-bandage your tattoo. It actually impedes healing. Let it breathe. Remember, it must have oxygen.
NEVER use salves or ointments on your tattoo except in the case of infection, only as directed by your doctor.
Your tattoo will itch while it heals, DO NOT dig, pick, or scratch it.
Don’t shave the tattooed area for at least 2 weeks, or until completely healed.
Keep your new tattoo out of the sun, period.
Don't EVER soak your tattoo. Long Bath Bad. Swimming Bad. Quick Shower Good.
Don't wear tight or dirty clothing while your tattoo heals.
Change your bedding. Wash your sheets and blankets. Give your tattoo a fighting chance to heal well.
If you follow this care method, you shouldn't have any problems.
If you suspect an allergic reaction, quit using products on your skin and take an antihistamine like Benadryl
if you are able. In most cases, this will also soothe any itching discomfort.
Don't expect a tattoo to heal well if it's suffocating under tight clothing, shoes, straps, bandages, or heavy
If you have a dirty job, clean the tattoo as often as possible or pay the price.
If you have a pet or an unkempt dependent, keep them away from it.
If you develop an infection, sparingly use antibiotic ointment as directed or consult a physician.
If the area has been shaved, it's possible to develop a skin irritation or what appear to be ingrown hairs.
This can lead to an infection.
A little skin irritation is normal. Let's take a closer look.
Minor redness and swelling is the way the human body deals with skin irritation and irritants.
Pigment used in the process may have different compounds that the body doesn't really know what to do with, so the skin reacts with redness for a little while.
Usually, an over the counter anti-inflammatory will help. An ice pack is also helpful in the reduction of both redness and swelling.
To reiterate, anything that comes in contact with your new ink has the possibility to cause infection. So be certain to clean everything before and after to minimize the risk.
It's always normal to bleed and discharge "lymph", but sometimes it can mean other things. A cloudy/milky discharge could signify an overabundance of bacteria leading to infection.
A clear/transparent discharge indicates that you may have had an allergic reaction to one of a number of things from latex in some types of gloves to a particular pigment. Unfortunately, there is no way to know what your allergies are until you have had an allergy test. Allergen testing is out of the scope of our services.
Most tattoo artists will gladly use Nitrile gloves upon request, if you know you have a latex allergy.
Over the years, pigment has gotten more vivid, more "light-fast", and holds up better overall through the years.
Sadly, there still seems to be an occasional allergy to certain pigments. In my experience, it's usually the reds
that are the most risky ones, though I have also seen it in dark blues, oranges, dark magenta, and other opaque concentrated tints.
That being said, pigment allergies are not necessarily common, nor a reason to avoid all colored inks/pigments.
If you are worried about it, talk to your dermatologist or stick with black/gray work.
There is a strong possibility that your tattoo will itch intensely while it heals, especially if you are forced to use the "Dry Method". The skin is healing all the tiny holes full of pigment, skin is recovering, tightening up, and beginning to shed the dead tissue created by the process. Dry tissue itches. It's just part of the deal. If the itching becomes intense you can temporarily relieve it by patting the area very gently for a few seconds. Another way is to splash a little cool water on it. Of course, if you are using the "Moist Method" as described above, you'll already know how soothing the reconditioning effects of fragrance free lotion can be.
There's no way around it in some cases. Some high wear places on the body, around the joints especially, have a slight possibility to scab. If it happens, you just have to stop yourself from forcing them off. Time and self-control are your best friends here. The pigment placed into your dermis is still underneath that scab. If you remove the scab manually, you will likely take pigment from the dermis as well, leaving a patch without pigment. Of course "touch ups" are always an option. So hey, don't pick at a scab... just let it heal and give it plenty of time to do so.
Q: "...huge pieces of color are falling out...what did I do wrong?"
A: Relax! Things are right on schedule. You have several layers of tissue that are tattooed, one of which is the outermost layer of the epidermis. The dead skin cells grab onto some pigment, and as it dries and heals, the extra pigment simply sloughs off to reveal that beautiful tattoo underneath. One thing to remember, don't scrub it off to "speed up the process". Let the skin slough naturally. You'll like the result.
The human body can sufficiently heal itself under normal conditions. That said, we really have no way to guarantee you'll heal up without any issues. Ultimately the risk is YOURS. This is why we offer the advice above. Quite simply put, if you aren't willing to assume the risk, don't get tattooed. We don't have a crystal ball to see your future, nor can we control your actions when you leave. We can only help you in the present, giving you the same advice we've given thousands of others before you.
If you follow our suggested aftercare process, you increase your chance to heal up naturally and minimize your risk of infection.
When asking their opinions, friends will always mean well. Respectfully, and yet like the plague, avoid their opinions on healing your tattoo.
They simply don't know what they don't know.
That's why I'm here... Give me a call.