Once the tattoo is under your skin, it is important to take good care of it. In the following we have some basic tips for you that we strongly advise you to follow.
Let's start with the protection. After the tattooing we cover the skin with a thin film to protect the treated skin area. You should not remove that film for at least 6 hours, ideally you leave it on overnight before replacing it with a new one. The film prevents dehydration of the skin and the formation of a crust of lymphatic fluid.
Before replacing the protection the following day, you need to thoroughly clean your tattoo with hot water. This is the only way to properly open the pores and to make sure that the wound is cleaned of all residual matter like blood, color pigment or lymphatic fluid. You may bleed a little, which is completely normal and no cause for concern. The tattoo will also excrete some wound fluid, all of which is part of the natural healing process. And even if it may look like it: your tattoo is not losing color.
Over the following 2-3 weeks, cream your tattoo twice a day with a thin layer of cream. Don't use too much product, otherwise you'll block the pores and obstruct the healing process. Before creaming, wash the tattoo thoroughly and carefully, and leave it to dry in the air for about 30 minutes. If you're pressed for time, dry it carefully with paper towels – do not use normal towels under any circumstance. If you're traveling with a fresh tattoo, scrap the cream and instead keep protecting your tattoo with cling film to make sure no dirt enters the wound. The rule of thumb is: cream OR film. Never use both, else your skin won't be able to breathe and heal.
There's a handful of tried and tested products for tattoo care out there. We recommend Panthenol Cream by Ratiopharmt you can get at any pharmacy. Bepanthen is often recommended, but we advice against it, as it is known to sometimes cause allergic reactions. If you notice that your skin turns red, you're probably experiencing some irritation. When that's the case, stop creaming for about 3-4 days and give the wound some time to heal without interference. New tattoos tend to be itchy, which is quite frankly a pain in the ass, but it's a completely normal side-effect of the healing process. No matter how big the itch, don't scratch it. We repeat this, because this is really important: no matter how uncomfortable, scratching is a complete no-go. If you're really desperate, try to gently cool down the area with a cold pack wrapped in a towel.
It takes a while for the color pigments which are inserted into the dermis layer of your skin to fully integrated with the surrounding tissue. This means that the pigments remain pressure sensitive during the entire healing process. Please try to avoid physical exercise as much as possible, especially if it involves any kind of pressure on your body. The same goes for tight clothing that could rub against your skin – this is in fact another crucially important point. For great and lasting results with your tattoo, please follow all of the above guidelines.
One more thing about sports: Bathing and swimming should be avoided, but showering is no problem. Tanning studios are a very bad idea for your skin to begin with, but even if you do like an occasional trip to the solarium you should never, ever set a foot in one with a fresh tattoo for at least 4 – 6 weeks after the session!
As a matter of fact, please be careful with natural sunlight as well: tattoo colors can fade when exposed to too much direct sunlight. Moreover, the natural protective properties of your skin are somewhat diminished in tattooed areas, so sunlight is a bit more dangerous for those regions. A word of caution: covering tattooed areas with a blanket or towel won't help - a towel won't protect you from UV radiation.
Whenever you use sunscreen, always use a bit more cream on the tattooed areas of your skin. Another important point: please be careful with pets. Under no circumstances should your new tattoo get in contact with animal hair or saliva – the result could be painful inflammations. Make it a habit to wash your hands before touching your tattoo. Better safe than sorry. For a final check-up, stop by at the studio about six weeks after the tattooing session. This time frame is important, even if you feel everything's healed and ready at an earlier point. The entire healing process takes a full 4-6 weeks. Sometimes, parts of your tattoo need a small touchup after the healing. This is not always the case, but if it's necessary, the service is included for free within the first year. After that, we will charge a fee for touch-ups.
So, to round it off, here's a little summary of the most important points:
1. Leave the protective film on during the first night
2. Wash the tattoo with hot water the next morning
3. Leave it to dry for half an hour
4. Carefully cream the area every morning and evening, don't use too much cream
5. No bathing, swimming or tanning
6. Final check-up after 6 weeks
If you follow these basic rules, you should not experience any problems at all, and your skin should heal swiftly. If you have questions at any point about how best to take care of your tattoo, hit us up at the Good Old Times studio at any time, we're happy to help.