So you took the plunge and got your new tattoo! What’s next? Everybody who has had a tattoo before knows that the tattoo hurts (unless you’re using our numbing cream!) but the aftercare is the most irritating. When a tattoo is healing, you have to endure the itching, the stinging and the peeling. The aftercare process is the worst, especially if you don’t know the remedy for a quicker healing process. This problem can be especially bad if you don’t get any aftercare advice from your tattoo artist… 7 states in America have no regulations at all on tattoos! Don’t fear, we have you covered. This blog will discuss how to look after a new tattoo and speed up the healing process. Without further ado, let’s get into it!
First up, how long does it take for a tattoo to heal?
The healing process of a new tattoo may vary from person to person, depending on several factors such as the tattoo's size, complexity, placement on the body, your health, and how well you care for it post-tattooing. Generally, the tattoo healing process follows this timeline:
The initial healing phase takes approximately 1-2 weeks. During this time, the tattooed area may appear red, swollen, and feel warm to the touch. It might also leak a bit of ink and plasma. Scabs may start to form over the tattoo. It is crucial during this stage to keep the area clean and avoid scratching or peeling the scabs.
After 2-3 weeks:
The scabs will usually start to flake off, and itching may intensify. Do not pick at the peeling or flaking skin, let it come off naturally.
Tattoos are usually healed on the surface layer of the skin. At this stage, the tattoo might look duller than expected – this is a normal part of the process.
2-3 months and up:
The deeper layers of skin should be fully healed.
Remember: This timeline can greatly vary from person to person, and this does not substitute for medical advice.
If you have it, follow your artist’s advice
Different artists have different opinions regarding how to look after a new tattoo. After all, everybody has different experiences. Your tattoo artist will have the best advice catered to you. This is because they know exactly what procedure suit’s their style and ink. They also know what you have had done, so can personalize the healing methods (for example, a fully coloured tattoo could take longer to heal). Most tattoo artists will print out a leaflet with advice on how to look after a tattoo.
Leave the covering over the tattoo for 2-5 hours
After getting your tattoo, your artist will cover the tattoo with clingfilm or another form of coverage. This will help keep any nasty germs at bay and also helps to stop any clothing or material from rubbing and irritating the tattoo. Most people leave the original clingfilm on for 2-5 hours and then gently wash the area with tattoo soap. Some people then re-wrap the area before they get into bed so that their bedding material doesn’t irritate the tattoo.
Gently wash the tattoo until it is completely healed
Whatever you do, don’t use normal soap on your tattoo for the first 3 weeks after getting it. The chemicals in the soap can irritate the skin, making you want to scratch it more often. As a result of this, your tattoo will take longer to heal. Don’t worry you can still wash your tattoo, just use tattoo aftercare soap (soap specific for new tattoos). Your tattoo should heal in 2-3 weeks, just keep an eye on it. When it stops peeling and itching, it should be ready to use normal soap.
Apply unscented moisturizer
You should apply unscented moisturizer 3 times a day. Your tattoo artist will advise which moisturizer is best for how to look after a fresh tattoo, we recommend using an aftercare salve. The best time to apply the moisturizer is when you are likely to remember it. We recommend applying it when you wake up in the morning, after a shower and before you go to bed at night.
Don’t go in the bath
Soaking your tattoo in water for a substantial amount of time could increase the likelihood of your tattoo getting infected. This is because it is exposed to bacteria. Soaking it in water can also dry out the skin, which can lead to cracking and scarring. Don’t worry – showers are fine!
Use a high SPF in the sun
Some colours are more susceptible to fading in the sun. When in sunlight, use a high SPF on your tattoos (after they have healed) and cover them up if you are going to be exposed to sunlight for long periods of time.
NEVER scratch your tattoo
When the tattoo is healing, it will scab up and flake. During this process, fighting the urge to scratch the tattoo can be extremely difficult. If you really can’t resist scratching the area, try slapping the area gently instead. Slapping the area can stop you from peeling off the skin further. The tattoo won’t fade as much and parts of the tattoo won’t be missing if you use this method!
Your tattoo will heal eventually, you just need to be patient and take good care of it. If you follow through with how to look after a tattoo, it should take about a month to fully heal. If the tattoo is still bleeding after a couple of days or the tattoo is raised, send your tattoo artists a few photographs and ask for their advice. Getting infected by a tattoo is rare, but it can happen.
If you’re reading our blog on how to look after a new tattoo and need some professional products, check out our website for all of your tattoo needs.