Tattoo Aftercare Advice
Aftercare following a tattoo is important to promote good healing and prevent the risk of infection. Getting a new tattoo involves breaking the skin surface, so there is always a potential risk for infection to occur afterwards. A new tattoo should be treated as a wound initially and this advice must be followed so that the infection risk can be minimised.
If appropriate aftercare is not followed, an infection may occur. For the first week or so it is normal for the area to be red and tender. Monitor your tattoo regularly (daily) so you can tell if any changes have occurred. The signs of an infection are:
- Swelling and redness increase around the wound.
- A severe burning and throbbing sensation around the site.
- Increased tenderness and increasingly painful to touch.
- An unusual discharge (yellow or green) with an offensive smell.
Speak to your tattoo artist immediately if you suffer from any of the above or have any concerns regarding infection in your tattoo or if there are any signs of an allergic reaction to any of the products used.
- Avoid touching the new tattoo site unnecessarily so that exposure to germs is reduced. For the same reason, do not pick or scratch a healing tattoo.
- Always wash and dry your hands before and after handling a new tattoo site.
- The new tattoo will be an area of tiny skin breaks caused by the tattooing needles; therefore, it needs to be kept covered as advised by your practitioner.
- After removal of the dressing, gently wash the tattoo site with warm tap water (with no soap or non-perfumed) and gently pat dry with a tissue.
- Apply the appropriate aftercare cream to the area as advised by your practitioner.
- After approximately two weeks, any scabbing should have gone and will be replaced with a sliver skin for a further week.
- The area should be finally healed in a further 10-14 days.
- If possible, shower rather than bathe while the tattoo is healing so that unnecessary water exposure is prevented. Always pat the area dry by either using a separate towel or tissue.
- Avoid petroleum-based creams (e.g., “Vaseline”) as these ingredients draw out the tattoo ink, and therefore a degree of colour from the tattoo.
- Do not “pick” at your tattoo as this will delay the healing and create scar tissue.
- Avoid swimming, sunbeds/sunbathing for at least 6 weeks after your tattoo session or longer if the tattoo has not healed at that time.
- Try to wear loose, cotton clothing to minimise rubbing and irritation to the new tattoo site.
- Always keep your new tattoo covered and protected if you are in a dirty/dusty/oily environment.