QUICK BASIC RUNDOWN OF TRADITIONAL AFTERCARE:Congratulations you have a new tattoo, applied in a clean, safe environment by a professional tattoo artist. Your tattoo is bandaged when you leave. Now the rest is up to you. There are many different opinions about aftercare because there are many different types of skin and people. Here is the general industry standard for aftercare and what we suggest:
• Leave your bandage on for a minimum of 3 hours! No longer than 12 hours. This is very important, your skin needs time to “close”. It is best for your skin to be protected from the environment while this happens. All those tiny holes in your skin must fill with white blood cells so it can grow together and start rebuilding the epidermis. You may feel pressure to show your friends or family but they can wait, and so can you. If you sleep with your pets, we recommend you leave the bandage on overnight.
• When you remove your bandage, WASH your tattoo. Use warm water with a mild soap. Liquid unscented antibacterial soup is highly recommended, as well as any unscented bar soap (dove, dial, ivory). Your tattoo will feel slimy, this is from the ointment your artist put on you, and any bodily fluids that have weeped during bandaging. Gently wash by hand until there appears to be no residue left. Pat dry with a clean, UN-ABRASIVE towel. Allow to air dry for 24 hours prior to using any lotions or ointments. Witch Hazel is highly recommended. It is an astringent that is often used as a natural topical remedy. It contains several compounds with potent anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. You can use witch hazel up to 3-4x a day.
• Wash your tattoo as directed by your artist during its first stages of healing, ie: once a day showering or up to two times a day if needed. Allow your tattoo to DRY completely (about 15 minutes) BEFORE using a moisturizer. We recommend Aquaphor, AQUATAT H2Ocean, or Lubriderm unscented lotion. Apply lightly, so that it is absorbed completely by your skin. Too much lotion and ointment will suffocate your tattoo. A thin layer is all you need. This allows your tattoo to still breathe during its healing process.
• NEVER soak your new tattoo in a bath, hot tub, river, lake or pool. Wait at least 2 weeks to do so as healing times vary person to person. This ensures your tattoo will not be contaminated during the healing stages. When washing your tattoo in the shower, keep it away from shampoo and conditioner, or rinse thoroughly after contact. These all have chemicals in them that you do not want in contact with your fresh tattoo during the first stages of healing. When showering, your tattoo is the last thing to wash and the first thing to pat dry with a clean, soft towel.
• It takes 5-15 days for a tattoo to heal (superficially), this varies person to person. Within in the first 4 days of receiving your tattoo, it may start the scabbing process. This is normal and NEVER PICK YOUR SCABS! This can pull ink right out of your skin. Allow the scabs to fall off naturally. Do not exfoliate. After the scabs are gone, you will have a new layer of skin underneath. Your tattoo may look dull or faded during this process, that is OK, in another week or so this layer of skin will heal and your new tattoo will regain its vibrancy as the skin continues to heal.
• Your tattoo will itch; itching is a sign of healing. As we know its hard to resist, DO NOT SCRATCH IT. Scratching will damage the tattoo, cause scaring and ruin the healing skin. Try either lightly rubbing it, or a quick slap to stop the itching, if necessary.
• KNOW what you’re allergic too, do NOT use Neosporin or antibiotic ointment on your new tattoo, the majority of shops agree it can pull the tattoo pigment out of your skin during healing. If at some point you get your tattoo dirty and it turns red around the edges, you may want to see a medical professional and they may use it to fight an infection, regardless of the damage it could cause to your tattoo.
• Please avoid direct contact with animals / pets on your tattooed area . If you have pets make sure your hands and ensure they are clean before touching your fresh tattoo. Animal hair and skin can carry bacteria, and or the dander can cause lots of irritation and even potentially cause your tattoo to be susceptible to infection.
THE RUNDOWN OF TEGADERM, SANIDERM, SECONDSKIN AFTERCARE:
Welcome to the world of easy tattoo aftercare and peace of mind. We carry and utilize several types of transparent film dressings, each having a purpose based on the skin/ area of your tattoo. 80% of our clients here at Malicious Ink prefer this type of bandage in comparison to the traditional type of bandages. It’s preferred as it minimizes the traditional aftercare regimen with little to no scabbing and makes the healing process almost effortlessly.
• You will keep this type of adhesive bandage on for 4-6 days (we recommend 4 days), unless it becomes compromised. If it does become compromised (soaked in water, dirtied, lifting) please don’t hesitate to contact your artist directly or the shop. Depending on the day and time, we may be able to have you come in so we can properly remove it, clean it, and reapply a new one.
• You may experience some redness around the tattoo where the bandage was applied to the un-tattooed skin. This is also completely normal and may occur with any type of medical adhesive. Gently lift that area and snip it back with scissors.
FLUID under the bandage
• PLASMA BUILDUP: The tattoo naturally exudes plasma and excess ink during the initial healing process. We call this weeping. Since the bandage is impermeable, that means the plasma will be trapped inside the bandage. Don’t panic and it looks gross. Do not worry. The ink is not falling out, smearing or ruining the tattoo. It is possible that the buildup may dry out inside the bandage, looks smeared, cracked or blurred. Once again this is not a concern. Monitor the bandage a couple times a day to check that it hasn’t been compromised, and watch for signs of possible infection: extreme swelling, excessive heat accompanied by redness. If any of these symptoms are present contact the shop or your artist directly.
• The shower is the ideal place to remove your bandage. Running water will help loosen the adhesive and relax the skin, making the removal much more comfortable. Dry removal of your bandage may cause discomfort and added trauma to the skin. Find an edge of the bandage and pull it back over itself in the direction of hair growth while holding your skin taut (Do not pull it straight up away from the skin). Remove carefully in the shower. Wash thoroughly using liquid soap. Rinse, pat dry with a clean paper towel. Air dry 1 hour. Apply fragrance free lotion. Do not re-bandage. Wash once or twice daily for around a week or until fully healed. You may also use witch hazel, lotion as needed, when skin feels dry or tight. Tattoo may or may not peel and may be itchy but if so, minimal in comparison to traditional bandaging. Avoid sunlight, submerging in water, touching or scratching.