Tattoo Aftercare: Everything You Need to Know

Tattoo Aftercare: Everything You Need to Know

Tattoo aftercare is very important if you want your tattoo to look great. Check out this guide to learn the top tattoo aftercare tips.

What percentage of Americans has a tattoo? Any guesses? Well, according to a recent study, it turns out that a whopping 46% of us have been inked at least once! That is nearly half the population. Believe it or not, the United States doesn’t even take the honors when it comes to the countries with the most tattooed residents. Both Italy and Sweden have a higher percentage of citizens with tattoos, coming in with 48% and 47%, respectively.

If you have gotten a tattoo before, you know that there is nothing quite like the adrenaline rush that accompanies the buzz of the needle. It’s one reason why so many people refer to tattoos and other body modification procedures, like piercing and scarification, as addictive.

One essential element of getting inked, however, is tattoo aftercare. You can run into serious trouble if you don’t take caring for your tattoo seriously. Read on to learn about the risks and ramifications of permanently marking up your skin, and how to avoid them!

What Are Some of the Risks of Tattoos?

Tattoos, like any procedure that is performed on the human body, carry with them some risks. It’s possible to be allergic to the ink that is used for tattoos. If your tattoo artist isn’t scrupulously clean and careful about her tools, there is also a risk of blood-borne diseases such as Hepatitis C, Hepatitis B, and HIV.

By far the most common negative side effect of getting a tattoo, however, is infection. You put yourself at risk for an infection any time your skin is broken, and of course that happens hundreds or thousands of times as a tattoo needle piercing your epidermis.

Infections can range from a mild redness and swelling that your body fights off without any issues to potentially fatal. In between, there is a whole host of things that can go wrong if the infection spreads.

The Best Way to Avoid Infection

The good news? It’s not that hard to avoid an infection if you practice good tattoo aftercare.

At the end of your tattoo session, your artist will cover the tattooed area of your skin with a thin layer of petroleum jelly and some plastic wrap or a gauze dressing. Leave these on for at least the first few hours. They not only protect against infection, but also keep your skin from being irritated by rubbing against your clothing.

Later that day or the next day, you can remove the dressing and wash your tattoo with very mild, fragrance-free soap and water. It is no longer necessary to keep it covered, and in fact, you should avoid wearing tight clothing until it’s healed.

Cover the tattoo with petroleum jelly or another heavy-duty ointment or cream.  You want to keep your tattoo moist, but steer clear of anything with fragrance or added chemicals. Do not use sunscreen on your tattoo until after it heals. Instead, wear sun-protective clothing or avoid being in the sun at all.

Another no-no is immersing your new tattoo in water. It’s fine to take showers, but don’t take baths, go swimming, or relax in a hot tub unless you can easily keep your ink out of the water.

What You’ll See During Tattoo Aftercare

First-timers can be caught unawares by the transformation that a tattoo undergoes during the days and weeks following the procedure. It will take up to three months for your tattoo to look as bright and crisp as you want it to. In the meantime, its appearance may even be alarming.

In the first few days, you might see ink exuding from the tattoo. This is totally normal. It’s just excess ink, and there is no need to worry. There’s still plenty of ink to do the job of making your tattoo vibrant and beautiful.

While your skin is probably going to be red and maybe a bit tender for the first day or two, the tattoo itself might look dull or cloudy. Continue to wash your tattoo with mild soap, twice a day.

Since a tattoo is technically a wound, it will scab. You will also notice dried ink flaking off your skin. This can cause a lot of people to panic, thinking that their tattoo is flaking away. Remember that this is absolutely to be expected. When scabs start to form, make sure to keep your skin moisturized with a gentle cream or a natural oil.

Whatever you do, do not pick at the scabs! Doing so can alter the ultimate appearance of your tattoo. It also invites infection to make itself at home.

These Are the Signs of Infection to Watch Out For

Be on the lookout for signs of infection, especially in the first two weeks or so after getting the tattoo. Here are some symptoms that you should not ignore.

  • Continued or excessive redness of the surrounding skin
  • A rash or bumps on the skin
  • A fever, sweats, chills, or shaking
  • Swelling that does not resolve
  • Excessive drainage
  • Pain in the area

While getting a tattoo can be painful, the pain should subside within a few hours. If your ink causes you pain in the days or weeks to follow, contact your tattoo artist or your doctor. You should seek medical attention if you notice any of these signs of infection.

You can always return to the tattoo studio to have yourself checked out. Don’t be afraid of looking silly or being overcautious. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to your physical health.

Ready To Get Some Ink?

Tattoo AftercareIn the final analysis, tattoos are generally safe if the artist follows best practices concerning cleanliness and sterile tools. And although the risk of infection is there, you can mitigate it by taking excellent care of your tattoo during the healing process. Learn what proper tattoo aftercare consists of, and follow the instruction to the letter. You’ll be showing off your gorgeous new ink in no time!

Ready to get inspired for your next tattoo? Take a look at some of these tattoo ideas and let your imagination run wild!

Give our newest Las Vegas tattoo shop a call on (702) 530 4012 to schedule your appointment.