The dos and don’ts of aftercare to ensure your tattoo looks its best

The dos and don’ts of aftercare to ensure your tattoo looks its best

Start by asking the tattooist how to take care of your tattoo

IF you have decided to get a tattoo, you now need to take care of it properly, read these tips on aftercare to avoid complications and ensure your tattoo looks its best.

A tattoo is a reflection of your life, your tastes and your personal style; you have gone through the process of choosing which tattoo you want and where to have it, found a reputable tattoo studio and undergone the procedure, now what you need to do is make sure that it heals nicely without scars or infection.

Having chosen a reputable tattoo artist who maintains proper hygiene procedures you have already have taken a huge step to avoid complications, now it is up to you to care for your tattoo at home. Once you have your tattoo, make sure your talk to the tattooist about aftercare before you go and ask about products they recommend, while also taking into account your skin type.

Step 1 – Before you leave

The tattooist should put antibiotic cream on your tattoo before covering it with a bandage or plastic wrap to prevent bacteria getting into it as well as preventing it getting rubbed by your clothes. They will probably recommend that you keep it on for several hours.

Step 2 – First wash

DO: After the recommended time, which will vary depending on the size and type of the tattoo, wash your hands with soap and water, and remove the bandage or plastic.

Gently wash the tattoo with warm water and soap, preferably with no fragrance, then gently pat the area dry with a soft towel or cloth. Apply moisturiser and leave uncovered to let the skin breathe. Some people recommend using coconut oil on tattoos to moisturise.

DON’T: Use moisturiser with ethanol alcohol, because it dries the skin, nor fragranced creams or ointments. Don’t use Vaseline or petroleum-based products to moisturise, as they can cause ink to fade. However, a thin layer over the tattoo while you shower can be useful as it will prevent water from getting on it. You can also use it on the area around the tattoo if it’s dry.

DON’T WORRY: If you notice fluid coming from the tattoo, that’s normal. It is a mixture of blood, plasma and some ink. You shouldn’t worry either if it is red, slightly warm and a little painful to touch.

Step 3 – Wait with care

DO: While you wait for it to heal, which will depend on the size, keep your tattoo protected from the sun. You can have showers, and gently wash and moisturise the tattoo as explained above at least once a day. After about five days, the redness should be fading.

DON’T: use sunscreen on it or tight clothing. Remember not to swim or bathe. Do not scratch the tattoo or pick off scabs.

WORRY: If anything appears to be infected, contact the tattooist or your doctor.

DON’T WORRY: If you have had a large tattoo, remember that it will be red and swollen for longer. If you see some ink running away while washing, it’s just the excess. Don’t worry if the scabs are slightly raised.

Step 4 – The week after

DO: To ensure your tattoo looks its best, about a week after you get it done you should continue to moisturise it and let the scabs fall off.

DON’T: It’s very important not to pick or pull the scabs off as you can take out the ink and leave scars.

WORRY: If skin is still red and swollen it may be infected, so speak to the tattooist or doctor.

DON’T WORRY: If your skin feels very itchy, just keep moisturising.

Step 5 – Final healing

DO: Between two weeks and a month after your tattoo is done, continue to moisturise your skin until it recovers its normal appearance.

DON’T: If your tattoo still doesn’t look quite how you expected, don’t worry, it can take up to three months.

WORRY: If your skin is still red, swollen or painful, get it checked out.

DON’T WORRY: If there are still a few scabs or dead skin, they will clear up. By the third week the outer layers of skin will have healed, but it can take up to four months for other layers to heal.

Some people prefer not to use moisturiser for tattoo aftercare, which is known as dry healing, as they believe it eliminates the possibility of irritation or allergic reaction. However, some believe that it can worsen itchiness. If you do decide not to use moisturiser, it is even more important not to go out in the sun.

These tips to ensure your tattoo looks its best will help you to understand how long the healing process is likely to take and what to expect, but it is always best to talk to the tattoo artist about how your own tattoo is likely to heal and how to proceed if there are any complications.

Where is the best place to get a tattoo in Fuengirola

If you are thinking of getting a tattoo on the Costa del Sol, then check out Jaganath Tattoos and Piercing, Calle Ramon y Cajal 42, Fuengirola

Jaganath tattoos and piercing Costa del Sol

See designs by Jaganath Tattoos on Facebook and Instagram.

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Written by

Jennifer Leighfield

Jennifer Leighfield, born in Salisbury, UK; resident in Malaga, Spain since 1989. Degree in Translation and Interpreting in Spanish, French and English from Malaga University (2005), specialising in Crime, Forensic Medicine and Genetics. Published translations include three books by Richard Handscombe. Worked with Euro Weekly News since November 2006. Well-travelled throughout Spain and the rest of the world, fan of Harry Potter and most things ‘geek’.