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The Best Way To Help Your Tattoo Heal

May 13, 2008
Some people wait until the evening after they've gotten their tattoo to read their tattoo aftercare instructions and really pay attention to what they need to do. The truth is, the best time to learn about aftercare is before you get your tattoo.

The aftercare products that tattoo artists recommend vary from shop to shop, and sometimes from artist to artist. These are professionals with years of experience. If they recommend certain products and don't recommend others, there are good reasons for that. They aren't going to recommend something that may harm their work or their customer. Be sure to let your artist know if you are prone to allergic reactions before you get your tattoo.

Right after your tattoo is done your tattoo artist will clean up your tattoo and apply aftercare ointment. Then a bandage is applied. Your artist will instruct you to leave the bandage on for a certain length of time. Generally this is a couple of hours, but it may be more or less.

After leaving the bandage on for the amount of time specified by your tattoo artist, slowly and carefully remove the bandage.

With your hand (not a washcloth), gently wash your tattoo with mild antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Use a patting, rather than a rubbing motion when washing. Once your tattoo is clean, pat it dry (don't rub) with a soft washcloth. Let it air dry for about 10 minutes.

Now apply a thin layer of the aftercare ointment to your tattoo, being careful to cover the entire tattoo. Don't apply too much ointment or it can overhydrate the tattoo as well as trap germs. Do not re-bandage. Wear loose, clean clothing over your tattoo if needed.

You can take showers, but no swimming, hot tubs or taking baths for two to three weeks. You will need to avoid prolonged sun exposure, although you should expose your tattoo to air as much as possible. You also should not shave the area for the first month.

Keep applying a thin layer of ointment two or three times throughout the day as needed to keep it from drying out.

After the first few days you will notice some peeling or scabbing. It will be itchy as well. Don't peel, pick at the scabs or scratch it. Let your skin peel and release any scabs on its own. If you peel the skin off or pick at any scabs, the ink can come off with it.

At this point, your tattoo will also feel tight and dry like a sunburn. Keep applying a thin layer of your aftercare ointment a few times a day to keep your skin supple. Many tattoo artists will recommend switching to a simple lotion after the first few days. Follow your artist's instructions on ingredients to avoid when choosing a lotion for this period of tattoo healing.

It usually takes about three weeks for a tattoo to be completely healed. Once it is healed it is important to apply sunscreen to help protect it from sunburns and fading. Making a habit of protecting your tattoo from the sun will keep the colors strong for many years to come.
About the Author
Thinking of getting a tattoo but can't find a good design. We can help. We have reviewed a lot of the webs tattoo design sites and can tell you which ones have the best tattoo designs. Find the tattoo you will want for the rest of your life.
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