Getting a tattoo is a life-changing process. In most instances, people get it either to show their commitment to a certain culture, group, or religion. Alternatively, there are those who simply got it out of peer pressure or to make a fashion statement.
Regardless, getting a new tattoo is a bold step that should be taken after much consideration. Now that you have already made that step, let us answer some of your concerns.
How long will take for my tattoo to heal?
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Tattoo healing time largely depends on the aftercare. The post-tattoo period is an integral step that you cannot afford to overlook. On average, it takes 2-6 weeks to completely heal.
However, in about 2-3 weeks, you will be able to enjoy the simple pleasures such as a hot bath, and a good swim. This broad range of healing time is due to the fact that some people heal faster than others. Similarly, how well you take care of your tattoo will determine how fast it heals.
What should I do to speed up the healing process?
There are certain instructions that you need to adhere to in order to avoid infections and to promote faster healing. They include proper cleaning and regular use of a tattoo-friendly lotion or ointment. After the ink, the tattooist will bandage the area.
Some may tell you to leave the bandage on for two hours or maybe for a whole day. It is important for you to follow the instructions of the professional. However, once you remove the bandage, you will need to properly clean the area to avoid infections. Here, you will need to:
- Wash and disinfect your hands. You need clean, bacteria-free, dry hands before you start washing your tattoo. At the same time, avoid the temptation to touch it with unclean hands. After cleaning your hands, damp the area with lukewarm water. You can do this by cupping the water using your hands and gently pouring it onto the tattooed area.
- Gently rub the lukewarm water around it in circular motions. This step will probably sting. Sadly, it is normal and you will have to bear the pain. It is advisable not to saturate the area with too much water as it can clog your pores and distort the ink.
- Next, apply an anti-bacterial soap. The soap you use should be fragrance-free and alcohol-free. If you have no idea what kind of soap to use, then try out some of the soaps in the market designed to be used for tattoos. For instance, the tattoo Deep Cleansing Soap. However, a basic antibacterial wash/soap can do the job. Do not scrub the area. Remember that it is a freshly made one. The area is sensitive. Also, do not use scrubs, a clean cloth or towel to clean the area. It is imperative that you use your hand in the first month to clean the tattooed area. If you have anything stuck in the area, for instance, stuck pieces of plasma and ink refuse, you remove them by gently rubbing. Alternatively, you can leave them as they will come off in time.
- Rinse off the soap by cupping some lukewarm water using your hands and draining the area. At this point, you might notice some ink draining off. This is normal as tattooist tend to use excess ink. Make sure that you drain all the soap.
- Pat dry using a paper towel, or simply allowing it to dry out naturally.
After getting the ink, you are likely to notice scabbing on the tattooed area. This is normal and it is part of the healing process.
At the same time, it is important to note that you will need to wear loose clothing to allow the area to heal. Similarly, wear loose clothing at night. Avoid wearing your favorite pajamas during the first few nights. This is because it is likely to ooze out plasma and the excess ink. This oozing is normal.
On the downside, it can ruin your pajamas and bed sheets. If you wake up to find your clothing is stuck on the tattoo, simply damp the area and it will come off. Do not pull it out.
What are the best lotions to use for a tattoo?
It is advisable to apply an ointment/lotion to avoid itching and over-drying of the area. Keeping the skin re-hydrated and re-nourished using a good lotion will speed up the healing process. The most recommended lotions include Bacitracin, Aquaphor, A+D ointment. The most popular aftercare lotions in the industry include Tattoo Goo, Ink Fixx, and After Inked aftercare lotion.
A good lotion is beneficial as it will improve the appearance of the tattoo. The lotion can help preserve the colors while masking the peeling. At the same time, a good lotion will nourish the skin, prevent infections, and relieve irritation. Use an unscented lotion at least 3-5 times a day until it is completely healed.
What should I avoid?
There are several things that you should avoid. First, avoid submerging your tattoo in water for at least two weeks. You can get it wet while taking a shower. However, it is important to note that too much water can draw out the ink. Avoid swimming and bathtubs.
Similarly, keep it away from the sun. Keep it covered with a t-shirt or a thin layer of clothing until it is completely healed. Do not over-work the tattoo. If the skin is constantly moving, it will take a longer time to heal. Lastly, do not use petroleum jelly on tit. The thick nature of the jelly is likely to clog the pores leading to over-scabbing.
When to worry.
Generally, failure to properly cover the tattoo, especially when going out, or failure to properly adhere to the stated instructions can lead to infections. Some common signals to look for that will indicate an infection include:
- A rash or hyperpigmentation a week after getting it
- Fever, especially over 1200
- Swelling of the tattooed area
- Prolonged severe pain, swelling, and redness
- Feeling dehydrated
- Nausea and vomiting
- Indentation on its surface
- Extreme scabbing
The best way to avoid infection is to clean it regularly and inform the tattooist of any allergies or sensitivities prior to getting it. Keeping it clean is not time-consuming. In just five minutes you will be done. If you do it for at least 3 times for about three weeks, then you are sure to end with a good looking tattoo that will heal in good time.