Your tattoo will be wrapped upon leaving the studio either with clingfilm and tape or a second skin dermal cover. Below are your instructions for care of your new tattoo.
You can remove this after 2 hours, but first ensure you have washed your hands with anti bacterial soap (you must wash your hands every time you touch your tattoo while it’s healing) and that you are in a clean environment to do so.
After removing the wrapping you must clean your tattoo. Wash the tattoo gently with warm soapy water, preferably a fragrance free flowing soap. I recommend Cetaphil or Lubriderm wash which you can buy from most supermarkets.
Pat dry with a clean towel, allow your tattoo to air for 5-10 mins then apply a very thin layer of your chosen aftercare product to the tattoo.
Aftercare balm can be purchased from my studio. The brand I stock is Balm Tattoo. I have two sizes available ($7 & $12) and both are Vegan. The larger size also contains a sunscreen and can be used on fresh or healed tattoos for sun protection.
Alternatively you can also use Cetaphil Moisturiser (which is available from most supermarkets and pharmacies). There should be no visible excess aftercare product on the tattoo; it’s easier to apply small layers and add more rather than having to take the product off. (I usually recommend moisturising about the same amount you would apply to your face before make up)
DO NOT WRAP YOUR TATTOO AGAIN unless explicitly instructed to do so.
It is advisable with larger scale, or heavily coloured tattoos that you apply an icepack the first night (for a half hour) and take ibuprofen to help reduce swelling.
For the next 7 days, wash the tattoo twice daily and apply a thin layer of your chosen aftercare product to the tattoo after washing, or if the tattoo feels dry or irritable. (Remember not to overuse your aftercare product and discontinue use if any reaction occurs).
After 10-14 days your tattoo should be healed. Everybody heals at different rates so it may take less time or in some cases it may take longer. Heavily coloured or solid black areas of your tattoo will take the longest to heal.
SECOND SKIN DERMAL COVERS:
Allow the wrap to stay on for 5 days maximum to get the best result, protection and accelerated healing of your tattoo.
When it is time to remove the cover, do so in the shower with warm water running over it. Start at one corner, slowly and gently peel the wrap off.
DO NOT pull the cover off dry or fast as you may risk damaging the tattoo and the surrounding skin.
Your tattoo will weep during the first few days and you may notice a build up or bubble of fluid under your cover - this will be a clear or coloured liquid (it is a completely normal reaction from your skin healing and is just a mixture of plasma and excess ink) It is fine to let this sit over the tattoo and you may find in a couple of days it absorbs back into your skin again.
If the fluid build up is excessive and you are worried about leaking or bursting, place a tissue on one edge of the wrap and gently push the fluid towards it to empty the bubble. The wrap should seal to your skin again.
If your cover lifts, peels away or any water seeps inside within the healing timeframe, remove the cover and use the normal aftercare instructions as above to care for your tattoo.
After you remove your cover, your tattoo should be mostly healed, but it may still experience a light flaking or shedding and it is advisable to use the normal aftercare steps listed above to care for your tattoo until it is completely healed (this should be approximately 10 days).
THINGS TO AVOID:
Due to a change in the ingredients in BEPANTHEN, I no longer recommend this as tattoo aftercare. There has been an increase in what is called lanolin (derived from the oil in sheep wool) and can cause allergic reactions, general irritation and pimple rashes.
I also do not recommend Pawpaw, Coconut Oil or Savlon as they have a natural drawing/pulling effect that can cause inks to lighten or drop out of skin resulting in a patchy or uneven colouration.
DO NOT apply Vaseline to the tattoo whilst the area is healing; this may cause ink discolouration and prevents the area being able to breathe. Also avoid Aloe Vera on the tattoo, as this is a natural bleach and can lighten the tattoo while it’s healing. Finally, avoid any moisturizers or aftercare products that contain perfumes or alcohols, as this can cause irritation.
DO NOT submerge your tattoo for prolonged periods of time in hot water whilst the tattoo is healing - showering is advised - no bathing. (Sauna is also not recommended).
AVOID excessive sweating or over-stretching of the tattoo.
If you do sweat a lot in the area of your tattoo make sure you are keeping it clean (antibacterial baby wipes are good for this if a shower is not accessible).
Tattoos covering big areas or those that are near joints (such as elbows and knees), may take longer if the skin is required to move too much, either during intense workouts or other physical activity. Working out could also cause the skin to break and become irritated, extending the tattoos healing procedure.
AVOID going swimming whilst the tattoo is healing - at least the first 10 days, this includes sea water. (Unless you have been given a second skin dermal cover which is waterproof and is still completely sealed to your skin).
Chlorinated or Salt water will affect the healing process and final result of your tattoo. Your tattoo is an open wound that is susceptible to infection from bacteria in the water.
DO NOT pick any of the scabbing on your tattoo this will cause slower healing and drop out of ink which will result in patchy/missing or uneven colouring of your tattoo.
DO NOT expose a fresh or healed tattoo to prolonged sunlight. (This includes sunbeds) The natural UV rays from the sun can degrade your tattoo over time.
To avoid this I advise covering healing tattoos with clothing or for already healed tattoos - using the strongest SPF lotion possible when going out in the sun.
AVOID contact with animals and children where you have your tattoo. Both animals and children can carry all manner of germs which can harm the healing process and in some cases lead to infection. If you are unsure of how to protect against this please ask.
AVOID wearing very tight clothing that may irritate or rub on your new tattoo, or materials with fibres that may get stuck in your tattoo such as woollen clothing.
If you have a tattoo in the rib or chest area and require wearing a bra, please opt for a soft cup (no underwire) or sports bra during the healing process to avoid irritation and damage to your tattoo.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
It is very common that a new tattoo be sensitive, red or slightly inflamed. Most people experience some irritation a day or so after getting a new tattoo (it differs depending on the size, placement and amount of work in the tattoo).
Your tattoo may feel hot like sunburn and be sensitive to heat or hot water. If these symptoms continues longer than 3 or 4 days, feel free to contact me so I can advise you.
Your tattoo will weep in the first couple of days. The fluid may be clear or slightly coloured the same as your tattoo. This is normal, and it does not indicate that your tattoo is coming out. Just clean it regularly as instructed and let it go through the healing process. Your body knows how to heal itself, you are merely assisting it.
Within a couple of days to a week, a thin layer of skin will start to peel or flake off from the whole tattoo, just like the peeling you receive from sunburn. Again, this is totally normal. It is essentially the scabby layer and dead skin coming off.
Do not scratch it or play with it! It will probably itch throughout this time, do not scratch! Your tattoo will still be extremely delicate and you could end up scratching it open. One remedy for the itch is to lightly pat or slap it with a clean paper towel.
Always ask for help when you’re not sure of how to take care of your tattoo. Do not hesitate to email me with any concerns or queries - I will be more than happy to answer your questions.
I will give you as much advice as I can before you leave the shop, however, that doesn’t mean you can not contact me again if you encounter issues or need help or any sort of assistance.
Do not forget! Looking after your tattoo isn’t really just for a week or so, it’s for life! The better condition your skin is in, the better the tattoo will look and last over the years. Moisturize daily and make use of sun block on every occasion.
The body art you collect will stay with you for the rest of your life. So it’s well worth the time and efforts to appropriately care for them while they are healing, and then beyond. (Remember, the less sun they get, the longer they will stay bright.)