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You’ve done your research, locked the design, raised the capital and spent 3 months on the waitlist of your favourite tattoo artist. But with all that preparation under your belt, it wouldn’t do to forget about the after-care.
So, before the ink dries, here are our top-tips for faster healing and crisp well-defined tattoos like David Beckham’s.
TRUST THE EXPERT
First things first; always listen to your tattooist. While the general aftercare guidelines are fairly straightforward, every artist brings his or her own experience.
They created your piece and have a vested interested in making sure it looks good for years to come. Follow their advice to the letter.
TIMING IS EVERYTHING
It takes a good two or three weeks for a tattoo to heal during which time you’ll be nursing an open wound that’s highly prone to infection.
So, don’t take your new ink to Carnival. Plan ahead so you can sufficiently slow down and chill in the weeks following.
KEEP IT CLEAN
As soon as you remove the bandage, wash your tattoo with lukewarm water and fragrance-free soap and let it air-dry. At this point, your skin is likely to be red, sore and will probably be weeping or oozing a little bit.
This is totally normal - you just need to go easy on yourself and give your skin some love. The cleaner you keep the wound, the less likely you are to scab up badly. Washing twice daily with clean hands will do the trick.
RESIST THE URGE TO ITCH
Ahhh, the dreaded itching and flaking stage. You have to go through it. But scratching your new tat is an absolute no-no as this could lead to infection and a loss of pigment.
Instead, apply a thin layer of medical grade non-fragranced moisturiser up to 6 times a day. Well-hydrated skin is less likely to give you grief and will reduce any uncomfortable tightness too.
LET IT BREATHE
Tight clothing is a no-go while your tattoo is still in repair. Form fitting fabric will only irritate the sensitive skin. You’re much better off letting the air circulate, so put your morph suit in storage for a few weeks.
BE WARY OF WATER
It’s strictly showers for the first two weeks sorry guys. That means no swimming, no hot tubbing, and no baths.
Soaking your new tattoo could draw out the ink, so don’t risk it. The same goes for sweating; give the gym a wide berth until you’re all healed up.
STAY OUT OF THE SUN
As tempting as it is to show off your new ink right away, wait until the skin has fully healed before exposing it to direct sunlight.
Even then, make sure to use a specific tattoo lotion, especially if it’s BBQ weather. The will keep skin hydrated and protected.
DON’T BE A STRANGER
If you experience any complications, get in touch with your tattoo artist to get their professional opinion.
Finally, drink a load of water and eat sensibly. Read up on diet tips in Feed your face. This will improve the quality your skin in general, tattoos included. Because faded denim is good, but faded tattoos are not.