You finally did it. You got the tattoo you always wanted. It’s bright and it’s colorful. But now you have to take care of it to make sure you don’t get a skin infection. So how do you even know what the right steps are? Should you trust the tattoo artist? Ask your dermatologist?
It depends on where you live, really. In the United States there are few guidelines for tattooing, and even fewer for aftercare.
So, how can you make sure that new tattoo is something you don’t end up regretting? Follow these steps while your new tattoo heals.
- Be sure your artist covers your new tattoo in a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage.
- Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Gently wash the tattoo with antimicrobial soap and water and pat dry.
- Apply a layer of antibacterial ointment twice a day, but don’t put on another bandage.
- Gently wash your tattoo area several times a day with soap and water and gently pat dry.
- Keep applying a moisturizer or ointment after you clean it to keep it moist.
You should repeat this process for 2 to 4 weeks. Also try not to wear clothes that will stick to your tattoo, and avoid swimming and the sun for about 2 weeks. And take cool showers. Scalding hot water will not only hurt, but it can also fade the ink.
If your tattoo scabs a bit or develops hard layers, don’t worry. It’s normal. But never pick, scratch, or peel it. You could get an infection or remove the color. If you think your tattoo is infected, or isn’t healing properly, go see your doctor.