Tattoo aftercare is arguably the most important step of getting a tattoo as it dictates how well your tattoo will heal. If you don’t look after your tattoo in the healing stage, it can cause problems further down the line.
So what is aftercare?
Aftercare is the ‘treatment’ of your tattoo after it has been done. Your tattoo is an open wound and should be treated as such, which many people don’t think about.
Getting a tattoo means you have just been stabbed with a needle hundreds of times for the ink to go into your skin, and it bleeds, which makes it an infection risk. This is why aftercare is so important, and looking after your new tattoo is not a complicated process, but a vital one if you want your tattoo to be healthy and look great.
If you don’t follow your tattoo artists advice on aftercare, the quality of the tattoo could be affected. Your artist should always go through the aftercare with you on how to correctly look after your tattoo.
What’s your advice?
Generally, most tattoo aftercare is the same, but different product brands are used for helping it heal.
Here is our aftercare advice:
- Leave the dressing of the tattoo on for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight if possible.
- Remove the dressing carefully!
- Wash the area gently with hot water (as hot as you can stand) with non perfumed, antibacterial soap until the tattoo has stopped feeling slimy.
- Rinse well and pat dry the area with kitchen towel or a clean towel. Do not rub the area.
- Once dry, dab on some of your choice of professional tattoo aftercare balm/cream. Do not rub in excessively as this can cause unnecessary trauma to the tattoo. We have balms by The Aftercare Company available to purchase for just £2.50 in the shop.
- Continue doing steps 3 – 5 two or three times a day for the next 3/4 days. Do not excessively clean the tattoo more than recommended.
- After day 4 you can stop using your aftercare product and switch to a non-perfumed moisturiser to help keep the tattoo soft and supple.
As expected, your tattoo will continue to seep fluid or ‘plasma’, which is normal for an hour or two after the tattoo. This can make the wrapping of the tattoo a bit messy, but it is important to leave the wrapping on for the recommended time. Make sure you always wash your hands before you begin cleaning your tattoo!
How will I know if my tattoo is infected?
While this isn’t a common thing, it still needs to be addressed. If your tattoo is infected you may get some irritating and painful symptoms. If you are worried and think your tattoo is infected always seek a medical professional. Here are symptoms of what might very well be an infection:
- Heat & Redness – It is normal for your tattoo to be warm a couple of days after tattooing but it should never be hot. Likewise with Redness, if your tattoo has a red haze around it after a couple of days this is abnormal.
- Discharge – Infected tattoos often have some sort of discharge coming from the area. Sometimes it could be clear yet golden in colour, or could come in white, green or yellow pus.
- Odour – If your tattoo has discharge and a strange odour, it’s probably infected.
- Blistering/Abnormal Scabbing – This can occur on top of the tattoo and come as red bubbled blisters or raised sores. Abnormal scabbing can also form over the tattoo, making it thick and bulbous.
- Pain – If you are experiencing extreme pain with your tattoo over the next few days then it is likely infected.
- Swelling – It is completely normal for your tattoo to swell, however if it increases in swelling over the next few days instead of decreasing in size then this could be a sign of infection.
- Streaking – If around the area of your tattoo is red and small red lines start forming, then this is called streaking. If you notice signs of streaking in your tattoo, seek medical advice immediately as it could be a sign of blood poisoning.
- Fever – If your temperature increases even by a small amount over the next few days, this could be a sign of your body battling the infection.
Unfortunately, even if you are very diligent and follow the aftercare to the tee, you may still get an infection, although it is not common. There will be times in everyday life where you go to the hospital to visit someone and get an infection or virus just because you cannot control outside influences. All you can do is keep your tattoo as clean and healthy as possible to give it the chance to live its best life by following the recommended aftercare.
Any more good advice?
Some other good things to know while you’re in the process of healing your tattoo:
- Wear loose clothing around the area if possible, for example, if you have a new leg tattoo try not to wear skinny jeans until it is fully healed to stop unnecessary rubbing and trauma to your new ink.
- Do not pick or scratch at your tattoo and try not to touch it unless you are washing it.
- Do not let other people or animals touch or lick your tattoo either!
- Do not soak the area. Showers are the best idea while healing your tattoo, but if you don’t have a shower, keep the tattooed area out of the bath.
- The same goes for swimming and saunas. Don’t go swimming, and don’t go out in the sun or on sun-beds until your tattoo is fully healed. Even then, make sure to always have UV protection on your skin, preferably Factor 50 to keep your tattoo vibrant.
- Generally, we don’t recommend the gym or any strenuous activities whilst the tattoo is in its healing period.
We want you to have a great tattoo that will look good for years to come. You pay a lot of money to have some great artwork, so treat it right when its settling in.
Remember that these are guidelines for tattoo aftercare and all bodies are unique and heal differently. If you are ever unsure about your aftercare, contact us and we will be happy to help! You can contact us on 01332 204240 during opening hours or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are ever seriously worried about having an infection, do not wait to hear from us but seek medical advice and treatment immediately.