I am almost done with my tattoo healing for my tattoo that Hannah Aitchison did for me a few weeks back.
Wait a minute – a few weeks you say? Shouldn’t you be done with tattoo healing by now? Welllll – not quite. If you have never been tattooed then you may not realize what the tattoo healing process involves. Tattoo healing can be easy and fast and completely stress-free OR it can turn into a bit of a nightmare if you’re not careful. And by careful I mean CAREFUL. You have an open wound and you better take awesome care of your new tattoo or things could turn ugly…quick.
Any decent artist will tell you what to do in regards to healing. Most, if not all give you an “aftercare” sheet (cause your brain is so blitzed after being inked if it is not written down you WILL NOT remember it) and if you follow the instructions to a tee everything will turn out fine. But tattoo healing can be a little stressful.
My big problem (well, actually one of my problems – plural) is I do enjoy picking things. Books, movies, ice-cream flavors and, oh yes, skin. Any scab represents a monumental exercise in self-restraint for me. God forbid I ever try meth
- I will have myself flayed down to the bone in less than a week. Just thinking about it makes me want to scratch. And pick.
I KNOW I am not supposed to pick or scratch or touch it at all, believe me I know.
So consider this a public service announcement. Cut your nails really short and keep your tattoo covered. Believe me you do NOT want to see what happens to a new tattoo when it gets infected…
There are TONS of articles on tattoo healing. I recommend you follow your artists advice if this is your first tattoo. If you have been tattooed numerous times you have probably arrived at your own system that works for you. Whatever you do Don’t Pick It
Finally – if things starts to go wrong with your tattoo call your artist FIRST and go from there. An experienced artist should have solid advice on tattoo healing protocols for you. If you have been inked by a scratcher or kitchen wizard however you might want to get googling. I would start here:
If this article doesn’t convince you to only get tattooed by an experienced artist then good luck to you! A beautiful tattoo properly healed is a joy forever. So please – don’t pick that…
an excellent example of a well-healed (and well executed) tattoo.
and as promised…
10 Tips for Tattoo Healing
1. Don’t pick, peel or scratch it. Seriously. Do. Not. No matter how much it itches or how badly you want to you truly need to leave it alone. Peeling or prying skin off of the tattoo will disrupt your tattoo healing and may lead to ink loss, scarring or infection.
2. Keep it covered in loose, clean, 100% cotton fabric. Might want to make it a dark color. And maybe not your favorite piece of clothing.
3. Follow the instructions given to you by your artist EXACTLY. You have an open wound that you paid good money for. Now is NOT the time to improvise or cut corners.
4. No Sunlight. You are a night-walker now, a Vampire. Stay out of the sun for …forever. Seriously. Even when you are fully healed you want to use liberal amounts of sunscreen or your tattoo will age very poorly.
5. No hot-tubs, no beach, no long therapeutic tub soaks. This is probably on your care sheet but it bears repeating. Open wound + standing water (especially warm water) = Petri Dish.
6. Now is not a good time to engage in naked cuddles with your pet. You don’t actually do that, do you? Good (ahem), me neither. Also don’t let them sleep in your bed. Keep your bedding clean and free of pet dander, fur and dirt which if introduced to your healing tattoo can quickly lead to infection.
7. Don’t try to show off your healing tattoo to people – they will be repulsed. Unless it is a “freshie” (and then why oh why are you unwrapping it and showing it off?!) your new tattoo probably looks like a raging case of leprosy. When I got back from Pittsburgh everyone wanted to see my tattoo. My solution? Showed them the pic Hannah snapped in her shop before she wrapped me up. Problem solved.
8. Ignore all wives tales regarding tattoos. My husband (who does not have a single tattoo) SWEARS that you are supposed to slap a brand new tattoo “to set it” Seriously?! WTF!! He picked up this useful tip from a former-coworker who received most of his ink in prison. I don’t want to step on any toes here (prison tattooists please do not murder me, thanks) but I do not believe this is good advice. Unless maybe you are in prison? Tip #8 – avoid prison.
9. Give your skin at least 2 weeks to heal and calm down. You have this tattoo for life. Don’t rush your tattoo healing process. Some tattoos may take longer to heal than others based on location and how densely packed the ink is.
10. Put your skin box away people. And your meth because….Don’t Pick That Tattoo!!
If your tattoo gets infected be sure to contact your artist ASAP and/or seek medical attention (for real. Medical. Attention.) depending on the severity. An infected tattoo can be a serious nightmare – don’t mess around! Read this to learn about some of the more common types of Tattoo Trouble.