From Consultation to Aftercare: Everything you need to know about the tattooing process
By now you have probably heard a 100 stories about the Experience you are about to undergo and although there will be an element of of truth in some of them, there will be even more “tall tales” and exaggeration. You have to keep in mind, that Everyone’s Experience is Different.
Tattooing as an art form is Evolving at a Awesome Rate. There have been several styles of artwork & techniques of hygiene developed in the last 50 years. There is a Safer way to make Art on Skin now than ever before.
The purpose of this series is to clarify the decisions, process and care needed when choosing and receiving a Tattoo. The end goal is to not only knowing what makes a hygienic studio, but also the recognition of genuine tattoos as an art form.
Part III : Aftercare
Once the ink is in your skin, it’s no longer the responsibility of the tattoo artist.It’s Your’s. What happens next is totally in your hands, so let’s check the options to get you through the next week or so. If you do not properly take care of the tattooed area it can lead to infection. If a few simple guidelines are followed it will remain a source of pride for many years.
If you have any doubts whatsoever about the care of your tattoo, give your Tattooist a call. Seriously – one simple telephone call could save you a world of hurt & no nobody will mind. Better a phone call than have bits of it re worked.
Following just the next three steps will put you way ahead in the healing game.
1) Treat the tattoo particularly for the first few days, as an open wound.
2) Whenever you have washed the tattoo Don’t give it a rub with a towel, instead DAB the tattoo a few times with a clean towel.
3) Don’t pick at the scabs.
What’s going on Inside?
Well, your skin has been broken & alien bodies have been put beneath it. As with any cut/open wound, blood will flow to that point & begin one of it’s most important jobs. Thus, in the days that follow, the body will set about fixing the damage.
First things first – A protective layer over the area in question. Once this protective layer begins to fall away, much like the effect of sunburnt skin, you will notice that the tattoo looks perhaps a little lifeless – even in the greatest of circumstances this will happen but this is as it should be.
As soon as the protective layer has done it’s job & falls away, it will be back to it’s former self.
The First Three To Four Hours –
After your tattoo application appointment the artist will cover your tattoo with a protective bandage. This prevents infection from air borne bacteria and pathogens. Leave this bandage on for the first three to four hours after the tattoo. You do not need to cover it again.
Cleaning and Breathing –
Once the time comes to remove the bandage you can rinse the tattooed area. People often ask if they can shower normally and the answer is yes, however do not let the shower hit it directly. But be sure not to soak the tattooed area. Depending on your skin type and climate, you may or may not want to use some antibacterial soap to clear any excess ointment or cream/colour. Always pat the tattooed area dry as rubbing can cause irritation.
Protective Layer –
A thin layer of moisturizer should be applied to the tattooed area ideally three to four times a day. The key healing time is the first few days. However the tattoo will not completely heal until one full skin cycle – 28 days. Keeping a light layer of moisturizer on the tattooed area throughout the first four weeks is highly recommended. It helps avoid irritation due to dryness in the area.
Mentioning it again, since it is that important.You have a tattoo because ink was pushed through the top layer of skin and deposited on the second or middle layer. When the needle was pushing through some ink will have been temporarily retained by the top layer of skin. In the first few weeks the top layer of skin over the tattoo will start to flake and peel. This is completely natural. Your tattoo is not falling off. Do not pick or scratch the area. Instead, let is flake naturally.
Stay Out Of The Sauna –
Saunas, hot tubs and swimming pools can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Normally your skin protects you by providing a waterproof barrier. However, your skin has been punctured during the tattoo process and the tattooed area is therefore susceptible to infection should you enter these areas with a recently applied tattoo. The same applies to baths and even showers – but the exposure is shorter and far less intense so the risk is minimized.
No Sun Tanning –
The first 28 days are crucial and you should limit exposing the tattooed are to the sun as much as possible. Once the tattooed has healed applying an SPF50 is recommended prior to hitting the beach. Plenty of tattooed people also have sun tans. But staying out of the sun for the first few weeks is critical. The reason that direct sun is bad for a tattooed area is that the sun will heat up the tattoo ink. When this happens your body reacts and treats the ink as a foreign element. It will then attempt to digest the ink so as to ‘flush’ the intruder. This is why tattoos exposed to sun will start to look faded.
This Information is free to be used, copied & reproduced by Tattoo Artists / Tattoo Collectors keeping public safety in mind.