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Looking After Your New Tattoo

Apr 11, 2008
It's easy for people thinking about getting a tattoo to get a little nervous about the process. After all a tattoo is virtually a medical alteration to your body and concerns about health and care of the tattooed area are rational. Add to that how the movies portray tattoo parlors like they were opium dens and it's easy to get the wrong impression up front. So doing your homework early will help you to see that tattoo artists are usually professionals who have training and sanitary standards to make sure your first tattoo is safe and healthy and as much an exciting moment for you that you hoped for.

Yes there are some tattoo salons that are not operated in a clean and honest way. But you can find bad apples in any field of business so we can't fault the entire industry for a few bad operators. But it does mean that you should take the time to make sure the tattooist you want to use lives up to high health standards in giving tattoos. A salon that is doing body art should be a legitimate business and one that has a good reputation in the community. You are entirely within your rights to ask for references of happy and healthy former customers and to call those references. Then if you do all that and you even suspect the tattooist isn't trustworthy, just move on until you find one who is.

When you put the health of your skin in the hands of a tattoo artist, you want to know they take that responsibility seriously. Their care and concern will be reflected in three ways. First, they will know their stuff when it comes to ointments and cleansers to use while the tattoo is being applied so the entire process is antiseptic. Secondly, after the tattoo is on, you want to see them clean it and bandage it so you can walk out of there knowing it is well cared for day one. And third, the tattoo shop should give you instructions and perhaps even additional ointments and bandages to take care of it over the next week or two so it will heal up well while leaving behind a beautiful tattoo.

When you get home with your new tattoo, in that it might still sting or itch, you should resist the urge to wash it too much. The very act of getting the tattoo, if it's done right, is completely clean so it's fine. But it will be up to you to keep it sanitary and to change the coverings so the tattoo area is always free of anything that could contaminate it. But also work to keep it dry, at least for the first few days as the wound of the tattoo heals. And if you can go without the covering or bandage for a little while each day, you should because the oxygen will speed the healing process.

The tattoo parlor and the experts there can help you find good ointments and salves to put on the tattoo so make the healing move along properly and to keep it clean. And most treatments that work well are not prescription so you can get them when you go to the market. Be sure to find out what kind of tape or bandage to use and stock up so you can change it every day for a week or two. Also avoid harsh soaps on the affected area or anything else that could irritate the affected area.

After you finish the first week or two applying the ointments your tattooist recommends, the recovery time is not over. You should get a stock of good gentle lotions that have no perfumes or additives to keep the skin moist as the healing continues. Don't be shy to shop the baby supply aisle at the supermarket for a gentle lotion to use for this purpose because if that lotion is good enough for a baby's bottom, it's good enough for the skin of your tattoo area.

The final step of healing will be phase that may be the hardest for you of all of them but you have to be ready for it so you preserve the beauty of the tattoo you have worked so hard to get. When the tattoo area develops scabs, you will feel an instinct to work on them with your fingers. Resist that instinct because allowing the skin to heal as it already knows how to do will sure you don't remove some of the tattoo itself by working on that scabbing before it has finished doing its job.

Getting a tattoo is just the beginning of your life as a tattoo owner. Taking good care of it and the skin under it will assure that it will continue to look cool for a long time to come. And that's what you want from something that you made an investment for both time and money in and that will be with you for the rest of your life.
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