Welcome back to my blog series on how best to prepare for getting a tattoo. Throughout the series I offer advice for each stage of your appointment. Here we will go over the post-tattoo experience, so that you can feel confident taking care of your tattoo after you leave the studio.
The Evening Of
When you leave the studio after your tattoo appointment you will be sent home with detailed aftercare instructions. So you will leave your appointment feeling confident that you know how to care for your tattoo. If you're feeling unsure about something or you have questions of any kind, ask your artist!
It is important thet you relax and take it easy after your tattoo. Getting tattooed is HARD WORK, treat yourself kindly and your body is now working overtime to heal, so the more relaxed you are, the better and easier your healing will be!I recommend not making any plans after, just chill, eat and get an early night. Do not plan a night of drinking after your tattoo! This is just a really bad idea.
When your tattoo session is complete your artist will cover your tattoo with some sort of bandage. I use the classic bandage method, which you will keep on for 3-4 hours. After this time you will remove the bandage (with clean hands!) and wash it immediately with unscented soap and water. Any brand of unscented liquid soap will do, such as Cetaphil or Aveeno unscented. After washing it thoroughly to remove any excess ink, you will then pat the tattoo dry with clean paper towel. You will repeat this process twice a day until your tattoo is fully healed.
I always recommend sleeping in CLEAN dark clothing as well as dark bedsheets in order to avoid ink stains on linens, which can happen throughout the healing process.
The Next Day
It is normal to feel sensitive in the area of the body that got tattooed. A small amount of swelling and redness can also be normal, and you can take a standard painkiller as directed to help with these symptoms if you wish.
Again, I recommend dark clothing particularly over the first couple of days while your tattoo is the most fresh, as well as eating healthy meals and resting to keep your body happy and your healing in check.
The Week After
Throughout the week following your tattoo, you should be continuing with the aftercare (cleaning and patting dry twice a day). After the first day or two you will notice that your tattoo starts to feel dry and becomes flakey (you won't likely be showing it off right away, so plan accoringly for special events), at which point you will begin to apply an unscented lotion twice a day, or as needed. Do not over-saturate the tattoo! Just apply a small amount. In fact, a small amount of lotion more often is better than too much at once, so up the frequency of applications not the quantity of lotion!
Here is an example of what a tattoo can look like throughout the first week of healing to give you an idea of what you can expect (but keep in mind that everyone's skin is different and it might look slightly different from person to person):
This particular tattoo was done with some grey wash (the top pattern) and so is meant to appear lighter. You can see the changes best in the peak between the shoulder blades.
It is important to avoid sun exposure throughout the healing period (no suncreen either which can irritate). Your tattoo must also not be submerged in water, which means no swimming, hot tubs, or baths. This means you should plan your appoinmtent accordingly, and avoid booking it right before you go on a summer beach vacation.
Overall, the main thing to remember is to keep your fresh tattoo clean and dry. For a more succinct checklist on aftercare check out this aftercare blog.
Once healed, to keep your tattoo looking fresh and bright in the long run, you can keep your skin moisturized and keep your tattoo out of the sun, which can cause the ink to fade with repeated exposure over time.
And that's that my friends! I hope this information has helped put your mind at ease and lets you go into your healing journey feeling prepared and confident. There's nothing I love more than seeing my work nicely healed and hearing that my clients had a positive tattoo experience! If you leave my studio feeling happy and bad-ass, then I know I've done my job right.
To see some of my work fully healed, check out my instagram.
To hear about the tattooing experience straight from my clients themselves, check out my series of interview blog posts, like this one with Jaya, which we started back in 2018.
And if you haven't already seen them, have a look at part one (how to prepare before your tattoo appointment) and part two (how to prepare for during your tattoo appointment) of my 'get ready' series.
Thanks for being interested in what I do!
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