So, you’ve finally gotten the tattoo that you wanted. It looks great and shiny and compliments you. However, if you don’t take proper care of your tattoo, it’s going to begin to fade, and it could even get infected while it’s healing. The good news is that cleaning your tattoo and taking care of it isn’t a difficult feat, as long as you do it properly and promptly.
We wrote this article to guide you on how to clean your tattoo painlessly and easily. In this article, you’ll receive tips, as well as detailed information on how to take care of your tattoo while it’s healing, as well as extending its longevity.
Cleaning Your Tattoo Is Important
As you may already know, the process of tattoo involves a tiny needle that pierces through the outer layer of your skin to draw an ink, turning your tattoo into a piece of art that it is. Every time your skin is pierced through, it’s leaving the inner layers of your skin exposed to potential bacterial infections.
Dozens of bacteria linger around our skin and in the air, and leaving the skin open allows them to enter your bloodstream. To prevent the unnecessary rash, soreness, and potential infection that won’t end happily for you, it’s important to take care of your tattoo while it heals and afterward.
We’re not the only ones to tell you this. If you haven’t gotten your tattoo done yet, your tattoo artist will likely advise you to do the same, as long as he has the expertise and is a certified tattoo artist, that is.
Once they’re finished, your tattoo artist will clean your tattoo with antibacterial soap, and probably advise you to do the same. They’ll also patch and wrap your tattoo in a sterilized wrap. However, it’s your first tattoo wash that counts on the quality of the tattoo and preventing unwanted side-effects.
It’s important to clean the tattoo as soon as you remove the wrapping at home and below, we’ll teach you how to handle that very first wash and the first month as the tattoo is healing.
Aftercare For Your Tattoo
After your tattoo artist has finished your tattoo, it’s time to enter the healing process which can last from a week to a couple of weeks or a full month. During that time, it’s important to take proper care of your tattoo and clean it regularly. Here are some tips on how to do it.
Talk To Your Tattoo Artist
The first thing you should talk about to your tattoo artist is how to take care of the tattoo once that it’s made. They will advise you to use sterilized and antibacterial patches and antibacterial soap when cleaning the tattoo, as well as avoid direct baths.
They will also cover your new tattoo in a tiny layer of petroleum jelly, and bandage it afterward to avoid any air getting into the wound.
Note: Always work with tattoo artists who are certified and work professionally. Read reviews, hear the recommendations, and discuss different prices. Although tattoo artists may charge more here and there, it’s important to be on a safe note with the person who’ll sting a needle in your skin and ink you.
The First 24h
After your tattoo artist takes care of your tattoo and bandages it, you should avoid touching or removing the bandage in the first 24 hours. The skin will likely burn and make a pulsating sensation while the wound itself will hurt. You can try to soothe it by using some painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.
After the first 24 hours are over, remove the bandage, and clean your tattoo with cold water and antimicrobial soap. Gently rub it against the wound circularly and let the water wash it off.
Don’t scrub the wound, instead, use a cotton-made towel that feels smooth and pat dry the wound.
Note: Here are a few antimicrobial soaps that are great for cleaning the tattoos.
- Dettol Body Wash
- Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap
- H2Ocean – Blue Green Liquid Soap
- Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
- Dial Gold Antibacterial Deodorant Soap
Also Read: Can I Use Dial Soap to Clean My Tattoo?
Cleaning Routine During And After Healing
After the critical first 24h have passed, it’s time to continue caring for your tattoo as well as in those 24 hours until it cleans completely. Many health experts, as well as tattoo artists, recommend that you avoid taking a bath or swimming, but use quick showers to clean yourself.
Below are the tips for the cleaning routine for your tattoo as it’s cleaning.
- Purchase an antibacterial ointment and use it on your tattoo when cleaning once or twice a day.
- Use only one bandage per day when cleaning it and using ointments.
- A good antibacterial ointment alternative can also be Vaseline.
- Clean your tattoo with an antimicrobial soap and cold water. You can use lukewarm water after some time passes.
- Always pat dry after cleaning instead of scrubbing.
- Don’t wear clothes made of synthetical material, or tight clothing that sticks to your skin.
- Wear baggy and breathable clothes that will allow your tattoo to breathe.
- Avoid taking shower with too hot water.
This cleaning routine should go on anywhere from one week to a full month. Also avoid other activities like heavy exercising that can make your skin sweat too much, as well as pool activities such as swimming and heavy exposure to the sun.
Even after a month has passed and the tattoo has nearly completely healed, it’s advisable to put a moisturizer over your tattoo every time you clean it.
Note: During the healing process, avoid scratching or peeling the skin from your tattoo. Naturally, as your skin is healing, old skin deposits will form, let them fall off. The tattoo will hurt and even burn for some time, which is normal. Still, you should avoid touching it until it heals completely.
- Tattoo Aftercare Instructions: How To Take Care Of A Tattoo?
- 8 Best Tattoo Aftercare Products Based On Experience (2022)
- Showering With a New Tattoo: Can You Do It and How?
Visit The Tattoo Studio After Your Tattoo Healed
As we mentioned earlier, scratched and peeled skin can leave your ink falling behind, which is the normal process of tattooing. After your tattoo has healed, you shouldn’t hesitate from visiting your tattoo artist and discussing further aftercare plans with them.
The studio, if reputable and reliable, will also offer the retouch services free of charge, just to ensure that your tattoo looks lovely and in the right shape. Usually, people re-visit the tattoo studies six weeks after the process, once the tattoo has fully healed.
How To Care For Tattoo In The Summer?
Tattoos are made to last a long time, if not pretty much forever. However, due to water, salt, sun exposure, scratching, peeling, and other factors, it will lose its shine and begin to peel and fade after some time. Preventive is better than cure, so here’s what to do to preserve the tattoo in its original shape and have it looking dashing for a long time.
Sun exposure is one of the key culprits over a weary tattoo that begins fading too soon. That’s why we provided a list of tips to stick to during the hot summer days.
Here are our tips:
- Moisturize daily. Even a roll-on can prevent unnecessary sweating which could cause the tattoo to lose its original shine.
- Sunscreen daily, especially when you’re going to be working outside and leave the tattoo exposed, go to the pool or the beach.
- It’s best to cover the inked area with an SPF 45 sunscreen or even higher.
- Ensure that the physical blocker sunscreen contains at least 7% of zinc oxide.
Note: If you’ve just gotten your tattoo and the summer temperatures are outside, make sure to avoid the sun. Cover your tattoo with cotton clothing, or some other breathable cloth to protect it from the sun.
When To See The Doctor?
Again, tattooing is painful and the healing can take time, especially if there are some side-effects. However, if your tattoo is scrabbing too much, you rinsed or cleaned the wound too roughly and it causes some unwanted side effects, including skin infection, you should visit the doctor.
Visit the doctor if:
- Your tattoo wound begins to ooze.
- Your tattoo begins excess scabbing which lasts for a long time.
- You experience the symptoms of fever or have a high fever.
- The swelling of the tattoo wound hasn’t soothed for over a week after getting your tattoo done.
- There’s an excessive rash that isn’t soothed even after using a moisturizer or other ointment.
Lastly, you should visit your doctor if you still experience the pain that you experienced at the time when the swelling was present. The itching sensation, rash, and other redness and soreness could hint at a serious skin infection that was associated with the tattooing.
And remember, getting tattooed by a certified, knowledgeable, and experienced tattoo artist is a must. You should never gamble or play with your health as it could end up badly for you and your health.