If you’ve just gotten a new tattoo, congratulations! You’ve made a big decision and now have a beautiful work of art on your body that will last forever. But as with any new artwork, it’s important to take care of your tattoo properly so that it can heal correctly and look its best for years to come.
Here are eight easy tips for taking care of your exposed ink!
Clean your tattoo regularly
It’s essential to keep your tattoo clean so that it doesn’t become infected. The process of tattooing creates tiny wounds in your skin, so it’s essential to treat them like any other wound by keeping them clean. Gently wash the area with soap and water, using your fingers to work around the design. Be sure to pat the area dry afterward, not rub.
Additionally, make sure to use soap that is gentle and fragrance-free so as not to irritate the area. You should also avoid using any harsh chemicals, such as those found in some cleaners and hand sanitizers, as they can damage your tattoo and the skin with it.
Moisturize your tattoo
After you’ve cleaned your tattoo, it’s time to moisturize! This step is important to keep your skin healthy and hydrated, which will in turn help your tattoo heal properly. Apply a thin layer of lotion or ointment to the area, using only enough to cover the tattoo. Be sure to choose a product that is unscented and hypoallergenic so as not to cause any irritation. There are many different products on the market that are specifically designed for tattoo care, so ask your artist for recommendations.
Also, if you get tattooed for the first time, ask any questions about the aftercare to your tattooist. Sometimes the area of your body where the tattoo is, asks for different care so if you need help with finger tattoo aftercare or need help with healing a new tattoo on your foot, don’t hesitate to ask for guidance. If you have anyone in your life with tattoos, they may also be a great resource for tips and tricks!
Avoid sun exposure
It’s important to avoid exposing your new tattoo to direct sunlight, as the sun can damage your tattoo in two ways: it can cause the colors to fade and it can increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
If you must be in the sun, make sure to cover up your tattoo with clothing or sunscreen with a high SPF, consider the one with natural ingredients to avoid any irritation.
Re-apply sunscreen often, especially if you’re sweating or swimming, as water can wash away the protection. And if your tattoo is still healing, be extra careful to avoid sun exposure, as it can delay the healing process.
And if you’re planning on spending extended periods in the sun (think: beach holiday or long hikes), it’s best to wait until your tattoo has fully healed before exposing it or plan on getting inked after the trip.
Don’t pick at your tattoo
It can be tempting to pick at your new tattoo, especially if it’s starting to itch as it heals. But resist the urge! Picking at your tattoo can damage the skin and cause the ink to bleed, which will make your tattoo look blurred or faded.
If your tattoo is starting to itch, try to distract yourself with another activity or apply a cool, damp cloth to the area. And if all else fails, ask your tattoo artist for advice on how to deal with the itchiness.
Don’t soak your tattoo
You should avoid soaking your tattoo in water for at least two weeks after getting it done. This includes activities like swimming, baths, and hot tubs. Soaking your tattoo can cause the ink to bleed and the colors to run, so it’s best to wait until it’s fully healed before taking a dip.
You should try to keep the tattooed area as dry as possible for the first few days after getting it done. Once the tattoo starts to peel, however, you can gently wash it with soap and water. Just be sure to pat it dry afterward.
Smoking is terrible for your overall health, but it’s especially bad for healing tattoos. That’s because smoking prevents your body from getting the oxygen it needs to heal properly. It also increases your risk of infection and can cause the colors in your tattoo to fade.
So if you’re a smoker, now is the time to quit! If you can’t kick the habit completely, at least try to avoid smoking for the first few weeks after getting a tattoo.
Eat healthy foods
What you eat plays a big role in how your body heals, so it’s important to eat healthy foods when you have a new tattoo. Foods that are high in vitamins A and C, as well as zinc, will help your tattoo heal quickly and reduce inflammation.
To get these nutrients, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains. And if you’re struggling to get enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, consider taking a daily multivitamin.
Some of the supplements that can help tattoos heal faster are:
- Vitamin A – found in carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale, and red peppers
- Vitamin C – found in oranges, grapefruits, strawberries, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts
- Zinc – found in oysters, beef, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds, and cashews
Finally, drinking plenty of water is essential for tattoo healing because water helps flush out toxins and keeps your skin hydrated. When your skin is properly hydrated, it’s less likely to develop an infection. Aim to drink eight glasses of water a day, or more if you can. You can also up your water intake by eating foods that contain a lot of water, such as cucumbers and watermelon.
Of course, you can drink other fluids like juices and teas, but water is the best for keeping your body hydrated. And avoid alcohol while your tattoo is healing, as it can cause dehydration and delay the healing process.
Following these eight tips will help you heal your tattoo quickly and prevent any complications. Just remember to listen to your body and contact your tattoo artist if you have any concerns. And once your tattoo is healed, be sure to practice sun safety to prevent the colors from fading.