While you might want to prance around in your fresh inks after you’ve gotten out of the parlour, there are some things that you need to keep in mind if you want that new tattoo looking fresh and fly. Post-tattoo care is extremely important for anyone who wants to avoid complications with their new ink.
Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a handy little guide on what to do after getting a tattoo – the things you should or should not do, the products you can get (like tattoo cream), and the best way to care for yourself at all stages in the tattoo healing process.
How Long Does A Tattoo Take To Heal?
There are plenty of factors that can affect how long a tattooed spot needs to heal. The general rule of thumb is that coloured tattoos and bigger tattoos need longer – because they take more of a toll on your skin – but where you get the tattoo on your body also plays a role.
There are some areas of your body that are more sensitive than the others. For example, a tattoo on your arm would take faster to recover than an eyebrow tattoo on the account of all the nerve endings around your eyes.
One thing is for certain: it’ll always take longer than you think it will. Even after the tattoo has healed on the surface level, the skin beneath needs more time to recover. It will take more than three months for a tattoo and the skin below to heal completely, and that’s what makes tattoo aftercare so important.
And while it can be tempting to just let the tattoo dry on its own without doing anything else aside from cleaning it (also known as dry healing) remember that your skin is far more sensitive than it looks. It needs to be moisturised and treated with antiseptics, especially if the tattoo is fresh.
Tattoo Care Products In Australia
Luckily, there’s no end to the lotions, balms, ointments, moisturisers, and creams that you can use to help you in tattoo recovery. We’ve chosen our five personal favourites here:
You may have already heard of this over-the-counter drug (or more likely, already have a tub of it somewhere in the house). This moisturiser is probably the bare minimum that you’ll need in order to kick-start your body’s healing process.
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion with Vitamin E
A sweet-scented favourite, this cocoa butter-based moisturiser is also another favourite ointment for many tattoo enthusiasts. Not only does it smell good, but it does a pretty decent job at making sure your skin doesn’t flake off after the ink has dried.
Savlon Antiseptic Cream
Another important consideration to tattoo aftercare is antibacterial ointments – it’s easy for the little nasties to get under your skin through the micro-cuts made during the tattooing process. Savlon’s antibacterial properties (combined with a mild formulation) can keep your skin healthy and free of germs.
Okay, before you protest: we know that this is normally used for babies’ bums. But it turns out, there’s a reason why most people swear by Bepanthen. Tattoo artists regularly prescribe these to people who’ve been inked in areas suspect to chafing, and the vitamin content helps with accelerating the healing process.
Lidocaine (or lignocaine)
Getting inked isn’t necessarily the most painful part – the recovery process can sting a fair bit due to your skin being moved around. While getting painkillers may seem like the most obvious choice, getting a topical numbing cream like Lidocaine is far better.
You may have used this product right before you got your ink – it’s one of the most effective numbing creams on the market and is really good as a pain reliever. It’s especially good if you’ve got the tattoo in a sensitive part of your body or for people with low pain tolerance.
If you’re particularly concerned about your tattoo healing (especially if it’s your first time getting one) there are two people you should definitely consult: your tattoo artist and your physician. They may offer their own advice on how to look after a tattoo, so make sure to listen to what they have to say.
But regardless, keeping some of those bottles in your medicine cabinet and following some of the tips we’ve given above will definitely keep you and your tattoo protected during the lengthy healing process!