Getting a new tattoo involves breaking the skin surface so there is always a potential risk of infection to occur afterwards. Your tattoo should be treated as a wound initially and it important that this advice is followed so that the infection risk can be minimised.
Minimising infection risk guidance tips
Avoid touching the new tattoo site unnecessarily so that exposure to germs is reduced. For the same reason do not pick at or scratch a healing tattoo.
Always wash and dry your hands before and after handling a new tattoo site.
Sterile Dressing: the new tattoo will be an area of tiny skin breaks caused by the tattoo needles and thus needs to be kept covered with the sterile dressing applied by your practitioner for at least an hour until the skin stops any bleeding/fluid ooze.
After removal of the dressing, gently wash the tattoo site with warm water with or without a mild liquid soap and PAT dry with clean tissues. DO NOT rub or skin will become irritated.
Apply a moisturising skin cream such as Bepanthan after washing and drying the tattoo area so that the skin is protected from dryness and the amount of potential scabbing decreased. Wash the area and apply the cream 2-3 times a day for the first 3 days. Repeat cream application 2-3 times a day to keep skin moisturised until fully healed. There is generally no need to use any other skin creams or antiseptic products.
After approximately 2 weeks any scabbing should have gone and will be replaced with a ‘silver’ skin for a further week. The area should be finally healed in a further 10-14 days.
General aftercare tips
1. If possible, shower rather than bathe whilst the tattoo is healing so that unnecessary water exposure is prevented. Always PAT the area dry either using a separate towel or tissues.
2. Avoid petroleum based creams (eg Vaseline) as these ingredients ‘draw out’ the tattoo ink, and therefore a degree of colour from your tattoo.
3. DO NOT PICK at your tattoo as this will delay healing.
4. Do not use skin products that have not been recommended by your practitioner or are not meant to be used for open wound healing.
5. Avoid swimming, sun beds or sun bathing until a new tattoo is fully healed as direct sunlight or chlorine can interact with tattoo dye pigments causing skin irritations or inflammation.
6. Try to wear loose, cotton clothing to minimise rubbing and irritation to a new tattoo site.
7. Always keep a new tattoo covered and protected if working in a dirty/dusty/oily environment. Remember: If you have any problems or queries, please contact your artist initially. He/she will refer you onto your GP if there are signs of adverse reaction or infection.