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Tattoo aftercare – everything you need to know before having tattoo

Tattoo Aftercare

Getting tattoos can be very painful, but the level of pain varies. Because getting a tattoo involves being stuck several times with a needle, it can feel like getting a bunch of shots or being stung by a hornet several times.  A lot of people define the feeling of the tattoo as “itchy.” It also depends on your pain threshold, how skilled the person wielding the tattoo machine is, and what part of the body you are getting the tattoo. Also, keep in mind that you may probably bleed a little. Here is everything you need to know about tattoo aftercare.

It is important for the artist to put the pin deep into the skin, because not going deep enough will lead to a shabby tattoo, and going too deep can lead to excessive bleeding and pain. Getting a tattoo can take about 15 minutes to few hours, depending on the design and size chosen.

Are you thinking about getting a tattoo?

If you’re considering about getting a tattoo, there is one essential thing you have to keep in mind — getting it done accurately and tattoo aftercare. Although it might look cooler than a large scab, a new tattoo looks like a wound. Like every other slice, scrape, cut, puncture or penetration of your skin, a tattoo is at the risk of disease and infections.

First, ensure you’re regular with your immunizations (especially tetanus and hepatitis shots) and know where to get medical care if your tattoo becomes infected (symptoms of infections include intense redness or tenderness around the tattoo, pus, or changes in your skin color across the tattoo).

If you have any medical issue such as allergies, heart disease,  diabetes, skin disorders, bleeding disorders or a condition that affect your immune system,— or if you are pregnant — ask your doctor if there are any special treatment you must have or precautions you should take beforehand. Also, if you’re susceptible to getting keloids (an overgrowth of scar tissue in the region of the wound), it is advisable to avoid getting a tattoo altogether.

How to Prevent tattoo Infection

It is essential to ensure the tattoo studio is clean and secure, and make sure that all the equipment used is disposable (such as needles, mask, gloves and so on.) and sterilized (everything else). Some states, towns, and communities set up standards for tattoo studios, but others don’t. You can call the health department to know about the laws in your place, ask for recommendations on certified tattoo studios, or check for any complaints about the studio.

Professional studios take pride in their cleanliness. Here are some things to check for:

  • Make sure the tattoo studio has an autoclave (a tool that makes use of pressure, steam and heat for sterilization). You must be allowed to observe as the tools are sterilized in the autoclave.
  • Ask if they use one-time ink cartridges which can be disposed of after use
  • Check that the tattoo artist is a professional. If so, the tattoo artist should be able to give you references.
  • Ensure that the tattoo studio comply with the precautions of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Universal. These are regulations that define techniques to be followed while handling bodily fluids (in this case, blood).

If the studio is looks untidy, or if you feel you’re not safe, you can always find a better studio to get your tattoo.


Eight things you need to understand about Tattoo aftercare

Follow your tattoo artist’s advice

Tattoo aftercare instructions ranges from places to places, and sometimes even artists in the same studio could have different ideas of what heals a tattoo the most. Listen and follow the instructions your artist gives you – most will have a booklet with their recommendation printed out for you to take along.

After a few hours wash the tattoo carefully

The majority of recommendation will tell you to leave the covering on the tattoo for some hours, then to carefully take it off and gently wash the tattoo with mild liquid soap and warm water.

Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturizing cream

You must then add a thin layer of an unscented moisturizing cream (nappy rash cream) – your artist will tell you which of them to use. You can either then recover with Clingfilm/gauze, or leave it open to the air, depending on your artist’s recommendation. Studios will tell you to repeat the cleaning process 3-5 times a day.

Keep the tattoo clean and dry

Always keep the tattoo clean and dry, and avoid soaking it in water for at least a month (showers are good, baths are not). If your clothes seem to rub on it, keep it covered with medical tape or Clingfilm/gauze.

Avoid direct sunlight

Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight unless when necessary. Healed tattoos, especially colored ones, can fade if exposed to the sun – so when it is completely healed, make sure it’s protected with an excessive SPF in case you’re going to be catching some rays.

Be patient with healing Period

The healing time depends on how well you heal and the size of the tattoo. This can range between a week for simple and small line designs, to several months for larger and complex designs. Always ensure the tattoo is kept well-moisturized and clean for some months. After that, stay off abrasive skin products and keep following the artist’s instructions for as long as possible.

Do Not Itch.

As the tattoo heals, it will gradually scab or flake slightly. Avoid picking it, as this may remove the ink in that place and lead to patches, fading or being removed altogether. If it itches, do not scratch – slap it lightly. This will last for the first few weeks or so – if it itches uncontrollably around the design, keeps bleeding for more than a day or so after having it completed, or it is hot to the touch, go back to the artist or look for medical solutions. Infected tattoos are uncommon but usually happen, and it is always worth getting it checked out if you’re worried about it.

Go back to the studio for touch-ups, if needed

If the ink fades, your studio should retouch it free of charge – bad tattoos lead to bad reputations, so it’s in their interest to make sure you’re satisfied with the final product. After about six weeks, go back if you want touch-up on any area of the tattoo.


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