Tattoo aftercare is just as, if not more important than getting the tattoo itself. You need to be sure that you are taking the best possible care of your fresh tattoo. Beginner mistakes can be:
1. Exposing it to the sun
Over the years, sun will fade and age your tattoo. Do not expose your tattoo to direct sunlight under any circumstance. A sunburn on a new tattoo can cause a lot of problems. The ultraviolet rays of the sun can dry out your tattoo and cause it to form a horrendous scab much of the time causing the tattoo to fade before it is even healed. It may also cause blistering and bleaching of the tattoo. Make sure you apply a sunblock of at least SPF 30 before going out in the sun.
2. Using hot water
While washing your tattoo with lukewarm water is a good idea for getting rid of all the blood and plasma quickly, make sure you never use hot water to wash your tattoo! Your skin will be extremely sensitive and the hot water will cause pain and stinging to the area, as well as possibly causing the area to swell more than it already has done. Hot or lukewarm water may feel nice when you wash your tattoo but be careful not to overdo it because it also has the ability of opening your skin pores up and cause leaching of ink out of your skin. It will also make it easier for the germs to get in. So at the end of your quick shower, use cold water or cold compress to close the skin pores.
Do not re-bandage your tattoo. Remove the bandage as soon as you get home or after one hour, whichever comes first. All wounds need to breathe if they are to heal properly.
Although moisturization of the tattooed area is crucial for it to heal, yet stay away from over moisturization as it is often the hidden cause of an infection. If you over moisturize or do not moisturize enough, a thick hard scab may form that may crack when you move. It is important to try to avoid this kind of scab through proper washing and moisturizing. Moisturizing is a personal balance that can be different for each individual. Remember to apply your lotion at regular intervals, but allow it to assimilate before putting on another layer.
5. Dealing with irritation
Your tattoo is a wound. So, give it the time to heal. Do not pick or scratch your skin, no matter how much it itches. If you are scratching/rubbing it with your hands you can transmit dirt and germs from your hands to the open area. Instead, wash it with an antimicrobial liquid and apply some antibiotic moisturizer. Stay away from all sources of abrasion.
6. Showering tips
Yes, you can and should shower with a new tattoo. It’s okay to get your tattoo wet as long as you don’t soak it. Just try to keep your tattoo away from the actual water flow. Submerging your tattoo in a bath or hot tub can cause serious damage, so avoid those for 2-3 weeks, but showering is perfectly fine as long as you don’t saturate your tattoo. If you get soap or shampoo on your tattoo, just clean it quickly with water.
7. Exposure to chemically treated water, saunas, spas, seawater
Stay away from that beach vacation for at least a month after getting inked, unless you want to develop a serious infection from the microbes, algae and other sources of contamination that thrives in the sea. Also, refrain from swimming as pools contain chemically treated water or chlorine water which can be very harmful for your tattoo and cause some painful reaction. Do not hit the spa at least for two to three weeks.
8. Practicing highly dynamic activities and sports
It’s better to stay away from the gym and other highly strenuous sports which cause excessive sweating for at least two to three weeks, till your tattoo completely heals. Working out with a new tattoo can be done, but you must be careful with your approach. Tattoos that are placed out of the way during an exercise or workout you’re undertaking will mean it’s less likely to become damaged, whereas if your tattoo is in a location relevant to what you’re doing, there is more of a chance of an incident occurring with your ink. Carrying out intense exercise too prematurely after getting a tattoo and not giving your body the time it needs to rest can cause delayed recovery times and lesser quality healing.
9. Picking and scrubbing
After few days of getting inked, the skin on your tattooed area will begin to peel, often leaving few scabs on the surface, which is perfectly normal in the healing process. Do not pick the scabs! It’s a normal part of the healing process and it will just fall off by itself. After all, you don’t want to damage your tattoo, right? Doing so might also cause an infection. Always remember to clean your hands before touching the tattoo.
10. Sporting tight clothing
Your skin becomes very sensitive in the days after getting your ink. For this reason, you shouldn’t wear tight clothing around your tattoo. Remember your tattoo needs to breathe, in order to heal. Wear clothing that does not interfere with the healing of your tattoo. Tight clothes can stick to ink and seep plasma. It not only stains your clothes, but also smudges your tattoo. The tight clothing can be painful to remove and peeled off any freshly formed scab and serve as excellent breeding grounds of bacteria, which might invite an infection, which you certainly do not want.