Getting a new tattoo is exciting, and you might be wondering what you need to help it heal quickly and protect it from fading.
In this blog post, you’ll learn:
- Tattoo facts
- What to do before getting a tattoo
- What to do immediately afterwards
- The importance of long-term tattoo care
Let’s dig in.
Thirty-five percent of Americans have at least one tattoo. The most common place for a tattoo in women is the ankle, and most men get a tattoo on the shoulder. Forty-three percent of tattooed people get a tattoo to honor a loved one.
Most importantly, 100% of those people want those pieces of inked artwork to last and new tattoo care is crucial. Here are some tips to keeping tattoos looking sharp for years to come.
1. Take your Vitamins
Getting a tattoo is an invasive procedure, and it places a strain on your immune system. It’s important to eat healthy and take multivitamins at least a few weeks before and a few weeks after getting new ink.
2. Wash your Hands
Your skin needs some time to heal and doesn’t need the introduction of germs to exposed areas. Before you start to clean your fresh tattoo, thoroughly wash your hands and fingers with antibacterial soap and water. Rub your hands together until you see bubbles, about 20 seconds of more. This is such a simple step and should not be avoided.
3. Remove Bandage + Wash your Wound
Follow your tattoo artist’s orders (each has their own recommended procedure) about when and how to clean the area. Most will suggest leaving the bandage on for about 2 hours and then using an unscented, clean-label soap, fresh hot water and very lightly patting dry with a dry cloth (do not rub).
4. Cover with Natural Ointment
Your tattoo artist will likely have a favorite brand of aftercare cream. We love 100% all-natural shea butter for any kind of irritated skin — it is loaded with fatty acids and antioxidants to soothe and nourish skin.
Many prefer organic coconut oil which can also aid in the protection from bacteria entering the wound and can repair skin tissue. Read your labels though and don’t put anything with harsh chemicals on the wound. Repeat washing and applying ointment for several days, but don’t forget to let it breath, too. The area needs air to heal properly.
5. Avoid Scratching or Picking
Resist the urge to scratch or pick at your new tattoo, even if it gets itchy. Scratching can introduce bacteria and prolong the healing process. Instead, gently tap or pat the area if it becomes itchy, and if necessary, apply a small amount of fragrance-free moisturizer to alleviate dryness.
6. Stay Hydrated
Proper hydration is essential for healthy skin and can promote the healing process of your tattoo. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated from the inside out. Moisturized skin is less prone to peeling and cracking, which can affect the appearance of your tattoo.
7. Avoid Swimming or Soaking
Avoid swimming pools, hot tubs, and soaking in baths or saunas until your tattoo has completely healed. Prolonged exposure to water can increase the risk of infection and cause the ink to fade. Stick to quick showers during the healing process and pat the tattoo gently dry with a clean towel afterward.
PRO TIP Do not submerge your new tattoo in a bathtub, jacuzzi, lake, ocean or pond for at least 3 weeks!
8. Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure
Protect your new tattoo from excessive sun exposure, especially during the initial healing stages. Direct sunlight can fade the colors and cause damage to the skin. If you need to be outside, seek shade or cover your tattoo with clothing. Once your tattoo has fully healed, continue to shield it from the sun using sunscreen.
9. Wear Non-toxic Sunscreen
Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight with clothing or a cover for at least 1 week. UV damage is the leading cause of tattoo fading, so make sure they're always protected by sunscreen of uncommonly high quality.
Wait until the wound has completely healed (3-4 weeks) and then protect your tattoos with a clean-label, broad spectrum, non-toxic, zinc oxide sunscreen. You’ll also want to look for ingredients that will moisturize and nourish your skin, while providing full UVA and UVB sun protection.
The sun’s UV radiation can lead to sunburn, premature skin aging, cancer, as well as speeding up the tattoo fading process, so choose a good sunscreen for tattoos.
10. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can contribute to the longevity of your tattoo. Avoid smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, as they can hinder the healing process and negatively impact your skin's overall health. Regular exercise, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep can also improve your body's ability to heal and keep your skin looking vibrant.
One hundred percent of tattooed people want their skin to heal quickly and properly and want it looking good for years to come. There’s just a few simple but important steps you should follow: eat healthy, stay clean, use clean skincare, and always use safe skin-nourishing sunscreen.
Remember, if you have any concerns or notice unusual symptoms during the healing process, it's always best to consult with your tattoo artist or a medical professional for guidance.
1. Know your ingredients — Flip over your sunscreen and read the ingredients. We want everyone to know what good ingredients are, regardless of whether they use our products or not. Your health is worth it.
2. Buy safe sunscreen — Waxhead is dedicated to using only the healthiest, safest, most effective ingredients in our sunscreens. Shop Safe Sunscreen here.
3. Teach a friend — If you know someone who might still be buying sunscreen with questionable ingredients, please share this post with him/her.