If you have seen my last post you will know I recently got a new tattoo! If you haven’t seen that post, check it out to see the tattoo in all its beauty.
I thought today it might be a nice idea to share with you how I take care of my tattoo in the weeks after the tattoo has been done. I am by no means an expert, so please make sure you always talk to your tattooist beforehand to get their advice, but I obviously have quite a few tattoos at this point so there are things I have picked up over the years that I thought would be worth sharing.
The first thing you will need to do is make sure you have everything you need to take care of it, so I like to go shopping a couple days in advance to make sure I am well stocked. Don’t use old products, or products that other people have used, even if you have a full tube of something, it is always better to buy fresh.
On the day of your tattoo, your artist will wrap the tattoo in either a product called Dermaflex, or what is more of less Cling film (Plastic Wrap) and they will give you strict instructions on how long to keep the wrap on for.
Dermaflex is usually 2-3 days, whilst Clingfim can be anything from 30 minutes to up to 6 hours after the tattoo, it is important to keep it on as long as your artist recommends.
After the time frame given has passed, its time to remove the wrap and give the tattoo a good wash down with warm soapy water. I use the Tesco Loves Baby Sponges because they are super soft which is perfect for rubbing over the delicate tattoo, and I use Dove Beauty Cream Bar because it is super mild, and contains moisturiser to give back to the tattoo and help keep the whole area soft, smooth and hydrated. You don’t want to use anything overly scented or harsh on the tattoo.
On the first day give the tattoo a good clean in warm water, as hot as you can stand it, then rinse off with cold water, this will help to ease some of the swelling. After this let it air dry completely or pat dry with a clean towel, then it is time to apply the after care cream.
For aftercare cream, I always use Bepanthen. This came recommended to me by my artist and having now used it several times, I fully stand behind this cream. Make sure you listen to your artist, they may recommend something, or the studio may supply a cream of their own which is often used during the tattoo process, so feel free to pick up a pot of that if you would prefer.
Do not use Sudocreme – whilst it is similar to Bepanthen in terms of usage, it contains an antiseptic which can infact strip your tattoo, so go for Bepanthen or an over the counter cream called Acriflex (although you may need to wash your tattoo more often as this can leave a yellow / orange stain on the skin)
With the aftercare cream I tend to use it 3 times a day, and apply quite a lot but spend some time rubbing it in to make sure the whole tattoo is covered then leave the rest to sink in naturally, this usually tides me over to the next application.
Morning and night I gently wash the tattoo, to make sure any cream residue is gone, and any dirt that it have picked up is cleaned away. Reapply the cream and either go to bed, or go about your day.
It is important to note that whilst you can shower with a fresh tattoo, it is advised that you don’t hold your tattoo under the running water for long periods of time, and that you don’t soak the tattoo in a bath, So yes you can just clean your tattoo in the shower as long as your soap is gentle.
After around 3-4 days you will be able to move onto a good quality moisturiser, again look for something that is not overly fragranced and full of chemicals. I always go for Palmers Cocoa Butter as this provides 24 hour moisture and contains vitamin E.
Use this in a similar way to the aftercare cream and apply 2 – 3 times a days, in the early stages of healing, when the tattoo is drying and becoming a little flakey (yes it is as gross as it sounds) the feeling of rubbing cream in is amazing as it helps to soothe the itch. I tend to use this for around 2 weeks after the tattoo has been completed to make sure it is fully healed, but I drop the cream application to 1 – 2 times a day after the first week of using it as it doesn’t need loads of moisture at this point.
Some things to make note of –
Always make sure you have clean hands when you are applying creams to your tattoo, and if you have to go back to work with a fresh tattoo, it is always worth just cleaning your work space. Remember a tattoo is like an open wound so it is a good idea to make sure the areas you are touching are clean to avoid an infection.
If at any point you are concerned about the way your tattoo is healing, make sure you contact the artist that did the tattoo. They can take a look and give you further advice and let you know what steps to take next.
Always try to go back and show your artist your healed tattoo, some will take photos to add to their portfolio, others are just thrilled to see their work healed and see how happy you are with the final result. This is also a good time to discuss any touch ups that may need to be made (if you bleed heavily during the tattoo the ink in some areas may not take correctly and made need to be redone, this isn’t a reflection of the tattooist’s ability, this can happen to anyone)
So there we have it guys, tips and tricks on tattoo aftercare. As I mentioned at the start, I am not a professional, so please, please speak to your artist!
Talk to you soon!