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Your Ink, Your Health! Healing Your New Tattoo

Aug 20, 2008
Whether you are a seasoned veteran of skin art, or this is your first foray into the beautiful world of tattooing, there are some important things to know about your healing process!

Generally, it takes about two weeks to heal a tattoo, depending on its size and the health and habits of the inked individual. Tattoo artists will all tell you to keep out of the sun and avoid soaking your tattoo until it has fully healed. Beyond that, there are many schools of thought and lore about the best way to proceed to ensure that your art will be beautiful for years to come.

According to seasoned tattoo artist Ann at Art With a Point in Minneapolis, your tattoo should remain covered with its protective bandage overnight on the first day. Resist the urge to show it off, as air exposure during this critical time can cause over-scabbing, and that can blur your lines. Also, it's important to remember not to eat or drink anything that will cause inflammation. That means no alcohol, hot peppers, or MSG. You won't die if you consume any of these things, but you will impede your body's natural healing process. A couple of ibuprofen tablets or other anti-inflammatory wouldn't be a bad idea, either!

On the second day and throughout your healing process, it's important to keep your tattoo very hydrated. Be careful to use only natural, un-tinted moisturizers to avoid discoloring your art. One of the best preparations around is Tattoo Goo. It's sold at most quality tattoo shops, and is worth every penny (about $12). Once your tattoo has healed, keep the tin and use the goo for chapped lips and skin protection in the winter.

It's a natural part of the healing process for your tattoo to scab and flake. The most important thing is to resist the urge to pick at your tattoo! If you do, you run a very high risk of turning your beautiful art into a horrible mess! Also, remember to cover your tattoo in the sunlight, or it will darken and blur. Blurring can occur if a tattoo is soaked in water. Soaking also encourages infection, so take quick showers until you are completely healed. If you suspect an infection, call your tattoo artist and go to the doctor immediately. Antibiotic ointment can sometimes reverse an early infection, but it's best to be safe and see a medical professional right away. Infection is nothing to play with, and can actually result in death. Don't take chances! Signs of infection include sudden swelling, increasing tenderness and redness, fever, chills, and swooning.

If at the end of it all, you decide you're not happy with the tattoo, several removal methods are available: laser removal, which has come to be regarded as the industry-standard removal method, or, for a low-cost, the Nuviderm Home Tattoo Removal System.
About the Author
Jonathan Scott has been in the tattoo industry for over 20 years. He is an expert on the application of tattoos and serves as the in house expert on tattoo removal at
Nuviderm tattoo fade and removal.
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