Proper tattoo aftercare is critical to your tattoo’s overall healing process. To ensure proper healing:
- Remove bandages used at the tattoo parlor when your tattoo artist says to. This may be a few hours after the procedure or up to a week later.
- Gently cleanse your tattoo with plain soap and water two to three times per day.
- Apply an unscented moisturizing lotion by the end of the first week.
- Wear loose clothing over the tattoo.
Remember that peeling is a normal part of healing, even when using the above aftercare methods.
Wearing breathable clothes over it is fine as long as they are not causing friction. (Keeping tattoos wrapped in plastic or bandages will stop air from getting to the tattoo, slow healing, and make gross stuff grow in there.)
To prevent complications:
- Don’t use any soaps or ointments with fragrances.
- Don’t pick at your tattoo or any peeling skin.
- Don’t scratch your tattoo wound.
- Don’t use over-the-counter ointments, such as Neosporin.
- Don’t go swimming or spend time in a hot tub. (Showers are OK.)
- Don’t place your tattoo in direct sunlight, and don’t use sunblock on it yet, either.
- Avoid wearing overly tight clothing.
In all, your tattoo should heal within a few weeks. After this time, you shouldn’t see any peeling, swelling, or redness.
However, if peeling or other symptoms last longer than a month or two, see a dermatologist for advice.
Use a mild, fragrance-free soap or a specially formulated tattoo cleanser to clean the area. Your tattoo artist Jacques can recommend a tattoo-specific cleanser.
Soap options include the following products, which you can buy online:
- Dove Sensitive Skin Beauty Bar
- Liquid Neutrogena
- Dial Gold Antibacterial Deodorant Bar Soap (although this soap isn’t fragrance-free, tattoo artists often recommend it)
However, there’s one exception: Vaseline may be helpful while showering. Because Vaseline is nonporous (watertight), you can apply it to your tattoo before you step into the shower so that it can protect the area from getting sprayed with water.
It’s also been noted that Vaseline may be helpful on healed tattoos or the skin surrounding the tattoo if it’s exceptionally dry.
Just apply a thin layer. Putting on too thick of a layer won’t allow your skin to breathe.
After about 2 days, you can switch to a regular moisturizer. Some products that you can buy online include:
- Lubriderm Daily Moisture Fragrance-Free Lotion
- Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion for Dry Skin
- Curél Fragrance-Free Lotion
- Eucerin Intensive Repair Lotion
Whatever you choose, make sure it’s fragrance-free and alcohol-free. Also make sure it doesn’t contain additives, such as colored dye, that could dry out your skin.
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