tattoo aftercare faqs
Now these different instructions are not just arbitrary guesses by someone that knows little or nothing about tattoos. All the information below is from professionals with years of experience and who have tried several methods of aftercare before coming to a professional conclusion as to what is best. So, why is there such contradiction?
The first thing to consider is local availability. Not all products are available in every country, so you are limited to certain products. And also, people in lands across the world all have varied skin types which will react differently to these available products.
The Evolution of Aftercare
Through the years, as medical technology improves, new products have become available that are better than what was once considered the best method of aftercare. Petroleum jelly was once one of the most largely used products – it was highly available, inexpensive, and seemed to do the job fairly well. What has been found since then, though, is that petroleum based products tend to drain the color from a tattoo and also have no healing agents.
Then, along came the Bepathan and Savlon, it had a healing agent that was good at fighting infection, and it didn’t pull the color out of tattoos like petroleum jelly. After a few years of Bepanthan being the #1 product recommended for tattoo aftercare, it soon became apparent that it was falling short of its expectations.
More recently, a newer products showed up on the shelves. AfterInk, Tattoo Goo, etc – these new products have shown great success, but probably will be replaced with newer versions of themselves in the following years.
All our artists have tried to combine their experiences with after care solutions, we have come to this conclusion.
1. After you leave the shop keep the tattoo wrapped between 12 and 24 hours.
2. When you have a shower, wash the tattoo thoroughly with unscented soap.
3. Pat dry with clean paper towel.
4. Apply sparingly whatever lotion was recommended by the artist.
5. Make sure not to over apply lotion, only apply lotion when tattoo feels dry or itchy.
6. Do not pick at, scratch, or soak tattoo.
7. Do not sunburn tattoo, and always wear sunblock.
8. Look after oneself, take a multi vitamin on a daily basis.
9. If at any times you are having a problem, come back to the artist.
This is why many artists now will also recommend A&D ointment as an alternative to others. A&D is not anti-bacterial, but it does contain two crucial ingredients, obviously – Vitamins A and D. These vitamins are very good at healing abrasions and minor wounds because they keep the skin supple and protected from outside organisms. The downfall with this product is that because it does not include any actual healing agents, it is not going to help you if you are prone to infection. Most people really don’t have to worry about this, though – as long as a tattoo is kept clean and protected, infection fighting ointments are really more of a precaution than a necessity.
This brings us to the next alternative – lotions. Almost all artists will recommend using lotion after the first few days of healing to keep the skin moist, but some will actually advise using nothing but lotion from day one. This is where it can get a little tricky. All different brands of lotions contain different ingredients – some that are OK, but some that can be very damaging to a new tattoo. Watch the ingredients – lanolin is an ingredient some will use, and lanolin causes allergic reactions in a lot of people. Lanolin is the natural oil that comes from sheep’s wool – if you’re allergic to wool sweaters, you’re going to be allergic to lanolin! Some also contain products such as (unpurified) bee’s wax, which can clog pores and even contain contaminants. First and foremost, your tattoo needs to be clean, and it needs to breathe. If the pores are clogged, its going to cause infection. If you must use lotion, find one that is free of dyes and fragrances.
Specially made tattoo aftercare ointments have been highly recommended by the artists that use them, some will say they’re a waste of money. Now there are more products hitting the shelves that are specifically designed for tattoo care and include other helpful ingredients such as sunblock and pain reducers. Check with your local artists and see if they carry these products and whether or not they think they are suitable.
The best thing to do is to listen to your artist. If you experience any problems with the aftercare they recommend, discontinue use immediately. If you already know you are susceptible to allergic reactions, let your artist know and ask them what they would recommend as an alternative. Don’t be stingy because the product they recommend is $3.00 more than something else – your tattoo is going to last you for the rest of your life, especially if you take good care of it.
thank you to the researchers at tattoo.about.com