Grooming Editor /
Getting a new tattoo is a great experience; you gain a new and unique piece of art to your collection and it will stay with you forever. However, once its finished you want to keep it looking fresh, bright and new, right? To keep your tattoo free from infection and looking it’s very best for years to come you must keep to an effective tattoo aftercare routine. With so much advice given out here, there and everywhere, it can be tricky to distinguish between old wives tales and genuine, helpful advice, so here at Mankind we’re sharing our fool proof tattoo aftercare tips and tricks to keep your ink truly pimped!
A tattoo can take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to look fully healed depending on the type, style, size and placement. However it can take up to a month to fully heal below the surface of the skin, locking the ink in completely. Therefore, your tattoo is essentially a pleasant-looking open wound – it must be wrapped straight after being done to prevent bacteria from entering your skin. After 2-4 hours you can then remove the wrap ready to cleanse the area. If you are unable to cleanse your tattoo after this time period, you may leave the wrap on for 6-8 hours but do not exceed 8 hours as bacteria will start to breed, causing infection.
If your tattoo begins to weep either clear or slightly with the colour of your tattoo, don’t worry because it’s completely normal. Even though you may want to re-wrap it to make sure that the weeping liquid doesn’t go on anything, do not wrap it back up. Your tattoo needs air to be able to breathe and dry a little; otherwise it will become soggy and affect the overall healing process.
The first thing to remember about keeping your tattoo clean and infection-free is to only use unscented products. Scents can irritate the skin and cause healing issues so the more delicate the product, the better. We found that Derm Ink Tattoo Cleansing Soap works wonders on recently tattooed skin by reducing redness and targeting sore, swollen skin to restore comfort. It’s also fragrance and paraben free so take care to gently massage the gel into the tattoo, being careful not to scratch or scrub and lightly pat dry.
It’s also important to keep your tattoo moisturised to avoid cracking and keep the skin hydrated. Depending on the size and location of your tattoo along with the condition of your skin, you should apply moisturiser 3-5 times a day. When applying a moisturiser you must ensure to only apply a thin layer – too much will stop your skin from being able to breathe, altering the tattoos overall healing time and quality. As Derm Ink is a specifically designed skincare product for tattoo aftercare, their Tattoo Balm is fast-absorbing, non-greasy and fragrance and paraben free.
Along with keeping your tattoo clean, there are a few things you should avoid to keep the tattoo from fading and ensure it heals as neatly as possible. The first thing to remember is that it needs room to breathe; therefore loose fitting clothing is a good choice. This will keep it from becoming excessively sweaty and unclean as well as protect it from having material closely rubbing against the area. Keeping your tattoo sheltered from the sun is also crucial. The UV rays can cause scarring, tattoo lightening or fading as well as uneven healing and many other issues, so it’s better to not risk it and keep it covered.
Some other things you should note to avoid are swimming, bathing, saunas, steam baths or anything which will leave your tattoo overly saturated with moisture and bacteria. You should also avoid high strenuous activities, contact sports and gym workouts along with everything else previously mentioned for at least the first two weeks of getting the tattoo. Finally, do not pick at any scabbing which forms as this will result in a patchy tattoo which will be in need of a touch up once healed.
Before getting inked, take a look at how the artists are wrapping others tattoos. If they use paper towels, scotch tape or masking tape in the bandaging process, that is a great sign to get out and choose a new studio. Sterile gauze pads, plastic wrap and medical tape are the correct things to use so don’t settle for somewhere else with an unsuitable wrapping process just because the tattoo may be cheaper.
Last but not least, do not under any circumstances get a tattoo from someone claiming to be a professional, yet planning to ink you up at someone’s house. There’s not only a high risk of HIV, Hepatitis, MRSA, infection and tonnes of other issues from the needle, there is probably a reason they aren’t working in a tattoo shop! You don’t want to end up with ink you’ll regret so go with your gut instinct and find a reputable artist for your desired tattoo to be brought to life.
Are you planning on getting some new ink? Or maybe you’re a newbie looking for some tattoo aftercare tips?
Let us know over on Twitter at @MankindCoUk!
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