You've gotten your tattoo, and now it's time to make sure it stays as clean, and heals as well as is humanly possible. Proper aftercare is incredibly important to ensure that your tattoo ages well and looks good for a lifetime to come! Some areas may heal more with more difficulty than others, including areas around joints (fingers, elbows, etc.), hands, and feet.
AFTERCARE IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY
Ok, we did our job. Now it's time to do yours! As much as we'd love to be able to follow you home and give proper aftercare instructions around the clock, that's just creepy (And we're certain, around 4 felonies) . So we're counting on you! :)
What you need:
Tattoo Aftercare Ointment
Tattoo Aftercare Lotion
Soap (preferably liquid antimicrobial)
1. DAY ONE
After your tattoo has been finished, the tattoo artist will place a layer of plastic for you to wear a minimum of 2 hours. After the 2 hours have passed, you can remove the plastic foil and clean the tattoo. Remember to wash your hands first, and then carefully wash the tattoo with soap and water. Gently pat dry with a paper towel or clean washcloth. When this is done, you can apply a THIN layer of aftercare ointment which can be bought from us here in the studio or at any pharmacy.
If your artist uses Saniderm or an equivalent to cover your tattoo, follow their instructions.
2. DAY 2-4
As healing time varies from person to person, and is dependent upon your tattoo's size, intricacy, and location, full-heal times will vary. However, during this time period, the order of operation is pretty straight forward:
Keep it clean, keep it from getting dry, and let it breathe.
The best way to accomplish this: Start by washing your hands with soap and water to ensure you're not transferring bacteria from your hands to your open wound. Once your hands are clean, wash your tattoo, using your clean hand only, as well as soap and water. Pat dry, and apply a thin layer of Tattoo Aftercare Ointment. Repeat as necessary as to not allow your tattoo to dry out. Now, we don't want to go to the other end of the spectrum and over saturate it either, as that comes with a host of problems all of its own. We're preventing dryness, not frosting a cake here.
We recommend starting with three applications, minimum, per day. If you notice you need more than that, apply more often.
3. DAY 5-14
Your tattoo will likely begin to lose that uncomfortable, "sunburn" feeling somewhere inside of this time period. Also during this period, you may notice it acting much like a sunburn, and beginning to peel/scab. Our goal is to prevent scabbing (By keeping it clean with soap and water, which prevents plasma buildup on the skin, which forms scabs), and peeling altogether, but it does happen. Be sure to follow aftercare instructions to minimize this.
By day 5, we recommend halting the use of Tattoo Aftercare Ointment, and switching exclusively to Washing, and applying Tattoo Aftercare Lotion. Follow the same instructions above for application (wash hands, wash tattoo, apply lotion) with a similar level of repetition as to avoid drying out.
Repeat until tattoo is healed.
Total Healing time can and will vary. But you'll know when she's good to go :) A good way to tell: If you can still feel that your tattoo is there without looking at it, it's not healed yet. It will be completely indecipherable by touch from the skin surrounding it.
4. AFTER IT'S HEALED
Use sunblock on your tattoo to minimize exposure to UV rays and direct sunlight. The less sunlight it sees, the better.
- Scratch your tattoo
- Use Neosporin or Bag Balm.
- Submerge your tattoo (showers are fine)
- Let your pet lick it (yes their mouths have more antibodies than ours, but also carry more colonies of bacteria. Plus it's weird. Don't do that)
- Expose your tattoo to anything that you wouldn't feel safe putting into any other open wound
Spoiler alert: The answer is NO. It's a bummer, I know. Summers in Michigan are short and sweet. Maybe you just got your monthly unlimited tanning package, and the timing is terrible. Perhaps you're on vacation for the next few weeks, and then you're headed back to reality. We feel for you. But our job is to make sure your tattoo looks its best for a lifetime. So we can't in good faith tell you that any of that is a good idea. If we were in the tanning biz, it'd be a different story. Just let us do our thing eh? :) So here's a list of things not to do:
- No hot tubs, or swimming pools (Chlorine = Bleach. Would you pour bleach on your tattoo? Hell no.) Plus, that kid swimming next to you probably peed. No bueno.
- No tanning/sunbathing until your tattoo is healed. Once it's healed= Sunblock each time to increase longevity)
- No sand/dirt on your tattoo
If at any point your tattoo becomes troublesome, or you believe it may be infected, we highly recommend that you consult a physician. If you have any questions, always feel free to call us @ (231)425-4009.
Thank you for choosing Phoenix Rising Tattoo! :)