So you’ve decided on a design, found an artist you want to tattoo you, and sat through the pain of being stabbed by a needle to get your new artwork on your skin – but you’re so not done with the tattooing process. Next up is aftercare, a hugely important part of getting tattooed. On leaving the studio you essentially have a on open wound, therefore it has to be cared for to heal properly and keep your tattoo looking fresh. I am in no way an expert but after getting 11 tattoos here are some of my tips for aftercare:
Follow your tattoo artist’s advice
Hopefully you’ve picked an artist because they are a professional, so listen to their advice when it comes to aftercare. Each tattoo artist will have slightly different guidelines so don’t be afraid to ask questions and use their knowledge. Some tell you to take the wrap off after an hour, some say 6-8 hours; some will tell you to rewrap whilst you sleep, others will tell you never to rewrap. Each tattoo is different so take their advice as well as listening to your own body. The winning formula for me seems to be keeping the wrap on for a few hours, washing gently then rewrapping to sleep for the first 3 nights, but listen to your own body and do what works best for you.
Gently wash the tattoo
When you take the wrap off your tattoo gently wash it then pat dry with a clean towel, do not rub! Though it is advised not to submerge your tattoo in water for at least two weeks showering is totally fine and it’s important to keep your tattoo clean.
Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturising cream
Most artists advise a Vitamin A & D ointment or Bepanthen for healing, but make sure that you only apply a very thin layer as not to suffocate the tattoo. It’s a fine balance between over moisturising and your tattoo drying out. My personal preference for tattoo cream is Dream Cream from Lush, which I carry with me in the first two weeks of tattoo healing so I can apply when needed and to prevent cracking.
Tattoo healing takes two weeks for the top layer of skin to heal then much longer for the deeper wound so be patient and gentle, don’t give into the temptation to pick or scratch.
After the aftercare
I feel like much of the above is common sense, but what I didn’t realise for a few years is the importance of the next step: tattoos are for life and so is the aftercare. Keeping your tattoos out of direct sunlight whilst healing and beyond is the best way to prevent fade. Also, keeping up a moisturising routine helps your skin stay nourished and tattoo remain vibrant.
I have been using standard high street brands to protect my tattoos from the sun and moisturise my skin, but now their is a new collection by Eco Cosmetics* which is specifically created for long term tattoo care.
‘For Tattoo Lovers’ is a brand new range of products which uses traditional knowledge to create products that gives colour protection as well as caring for your tattooed skin. One of the ingredients that makes these products different is noni; originating in Australia the juice and oil of this fruit contain essential fatty acids and encourages rapid healing. This, in combination with mild tensides and pomegranate, sustains skin and helps to maintain longterm tattoo colour. The pomegranate is not just used for its sweet scent, but also for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which assists with anti-aging keeping skin supple and hydrated.
First up is the Tattoo Shower Gel; I had never thought of caring for my tattoos whilst cleansing my skin but if you think about it, it totally makes sense. I buy products with a specific purpose for cleansing my face, so why not treat the rest of my body the same way. The tattoo shower gel has mild tensides which do not wash out colour from the skin as well as nourishing noni and pomegranate, giving a lovely light fragrance as well as caring for the skin.
After showing I have been slathering my body with Tattoo Body Lotion once again containg pomegranate and noni, but also pantheon to protect the colour in your tattoos.
UV is a nightmare for tattoos and fades colour fast, so I always wear sunscreen even on the cloudiest of days, however, this is the first Sun Lotion I have seen that is specifically for tattoo aftercare. This product is SPF30, water resistant and (once again) contains noni and pomegranate, continuing that light citrusy fragrance throughout the entire range. The lotion is also ocean friendly, using mineral sun protection to reflect the suns rays off the skin rather than using nanotechnology which can be harmful to marine life – which is a huge plus point for me.
Adding all three Eco Cosmetics products to my daily routine for the past few weeks I have already seen improvement in the colour of my tattoos and the softness of my skin.
So, that’s my current tattoo routine; if you guys have any favourite products, hints or tips leave them in the comments below, I always love hearing your thoughts.