1. FOLLOW YOUR TATTOO ARTIST'S ADVICE
Aftercare advice will vary from studio to studio, and sometimes even artists in the same studio will have different ideas of what heals best. Listen to the instructions your artist gives you and ask any questions you have while on site.
2. GENTLY WASH THE TATTOO
Leave the covering on the tattoo for the first 2-5 hours, afterwards carefully remove it (with clean hands) and gently wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and amild antibacterial or scent free soap.
3. APPLY A THIN LAYER OF UNSCENTED moisturizing LOTION
Apply a thin layer of an unscented aftercare lotion – your artist will tell you which they recommend. You can either then recover with clingfilm/gauze, or leave it open to the air, depending on your artists advice. Generally, studios will advise you to repeat the cleaning process 1- 3 times a day - or whenever you sweat or encounter dust/debris in the tattooed area.
4. KEEP THE TATTOO CLEAN AND DRY
Keep the tattoo clean, dry and avoid submerging it in water until fully healed (showers are ok, baths are not). If you are likely to rub on it and cause damage, keep it covered and protect your tattoo while it’s healing.
DO NOT swim in lake or pool water while the tattoo is healing - doing so will increase the rate of infection and may also impact how well your tattoo heals. Avoid submerging your tattoo in water for a month to be safe.
5. AVOID DIRECT SUNLIGHT
Avoid exposing it to direct sunlight. Healed tattoos, especially coloured ones, can fade in the sun – so when it's completely healed, it's best to cover with a high SPF (SPF 30 or higher), if you're going to be out in the sun.
6. BE PATIENT WITH HEALING TIMES
Healing times depend on how well you heal and the size of the design. This can range anywhere from around two weeks for simple, small line designs, to several months for complex, larger designs. Keep following your aftercare instructions for as long as the artist told you to, and make sure the tattoo is kept well-moisturized and clean for a until fully healed and avoiding abrasive skin products.
7. DO. NOT. ITCH
As the tattoo heals, it may scab or flake slightly. Avoid picking at it, as this may remove the ink in that area and lead to patches fading or being removed altogether. If it itches, do NOT scratch. This should only last for the first few weeks or so – You may slap it to relieve the itch, or use a moisturizer.
8. LOOK AFTER YOUR TATTOO
Keep your tattoo clean and protect it from infection, TATTOOS ARE WOUNDS AND SHOULD BE TREATED AS SUCH, ANY SIGNS OF INFECTION ON ANY LEVEL – TAKE ACTION! Reach out to your artist or seek medical advice. Infected tattoos are rare but can happen, and it's always worth getting it checked out if you're worried about it.
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