Okay, so I’m no expert but I thought I’d share how I look after my tattoos. Mainly because I think we forget about the seriousness of a tattoo sometimes. Well, I know I do.
Like I’m absolutely fine with the fact that there’s permanent ink on my body. What I didn’t think was so serious back when I was planning all my embarrassing body art at the age of 14, was the aftercare. After all, you’re getting poked with a needle injecting ink into your skin god knows how many times. It’s not exactly natural.
It’s a pretty big deal.
So the first few months of care are so important. The artists that have tattooed me have both said it takes around 6 weeks to fully heal. But it obviously depends on the size and detail. My thumb tattoo healed in about a week because of it’s simplicity. Well, the design is a little complex but ultimately, it’s just a few lines, so not a lot of ink.
Either way, I always keep up my aftercare routine for at least 2 weeks after I feel the tat has healed, just to be sure all is good.
You’ve probably seen a fresh tattoo wrapped up in cling film. After a few hours, it’s time to take off that first wrap. Gently clean the tat with warm water and a fragrance free soap (I use Imperial Leather). Then cover it in cling film again overnight. After my second tattoo, I was told that there would be a strange “goo” all over the tattoo when it’s under the film for a while.
This seems to be the part everyone hates, but me being gross, I actually enjoy it.
Usually, I wet some kitchen roll with warm water (to save ruining a flannel, like I did the first time) and wipe over the tattoo to get all the excess junk off. I think it’s strangely fun, to the point where I now get a little disappointed when there’s no more goo. I have a feeling that’s because the tattoo doesn’t feel so new anymore though.
After the tattoo is free of goo, I clean it with some soap again and dab it dry. When I got my arm tattooed, the artist gave me a new cream they were using, Fade the Itch. You rub a thin layer of this onto the artwork after you’ve washed it. The cream speeds up healing time without the annoying itchiness so I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for something to use on a fresh tat! I’m pretty sure you can get it on Amazon.
I wait until the cream has air dried and then I wrap it up in cling film for the day again. I repeat all of that before I go to bed. I tend to repeat this whole routine for 2 – 3 days. Then the only difference is that I don’t use the film anymore as it’s not needed.
The Fade the Itch cream often lasts about a fortnight when I use it twice daily, so I keep using that until it runs out.
Then I still keep cleaning the tattoo morning and night, but just replace the cream with cocoa butter. The artist recommended using it after I got my arm done and it’s been my saviour since, for all my skin, not just the inked areas.
I still moisturise my tattoos every day even though they’ve healed. You can never be too smooth, right?
My calf healed a lot quicker than my arm did. Probably because it’s a tad smaller, but I’m certain it’s because of this aftercare routine. I was more confident I knew what I was doing this time after how well my arm tat healed, so naturally it seemed to work better.
Like I said, I’m not a pro. I (currently) only have 3 tattoos. But this aftercare routine works really well for me, so hopefully it’ll give at least one of you some ideas, whether you’re new to tattoos or not!