Humans have been tattooing our skin for a very long time. The practice has been used for religious and ceremonial purposes, as well as for aesthetic purposes for thousands of years.
Two of the earliest examples of figurative tattooing known to modern archaeology were discovered by UK researchers on the skin of two Egyptian mummies. Known as the Gebelein mummies, this early form of tattooing dates back all the way to 3017 B.C.E. Even older still, are the tattoos discovered on the skin of Ötzi the Iceman. This mummy is approximately 5,300 years old when he was discovered in the Italian Alps in 1991.
Separating humans from tattoos is nearly impossible. Not even rudimentary tools and methods could stop us from adorning our bodies with ink made from plant materials.
Thankfully, the methods of tattooing have changed and developed over time. Nowadays, tattooing is more popular than ever as a form of self-expression. While some tribal cultures still practice traditional methods of tattooing, in the modern age, tattoos are made on skin using surgical-sharp needles for aesthetics and more. In fact, it’s estimated that roughly 45 million Americans have at least one tattoo. When you break this down further, it’s estimated that 58% of women and 41% of men have some sort of tattoo on their skin.
Even though our methods have become cleaner and evermore precise, these needles can pierce the skin anywhere between 50 and 3000 times per minute. Any time you open the skin, you leave yourself vulnerable to scarring and infections. This makes investing in the proper tattoo care extremely important, not only for preventing infection, but also for keeping your ink looking its best.
If you’ve recently gotten your first tattoo, or are planning to get one, it is very important to make sure that you know the steps of proper tattoo care. Keep reading to learn more!
Proper Tattoo Care
After your tattoo is finished and you prepare to leave the tattoo shop, the artist will cover your new ink with a bandage or plastic wrap. It is important to leave the bandage on the tattoo for the next several hours in order to protect the tattoo from harmful bacteria.
When the bandage finally comes off, you may notice some fluid leaking from the tattoo. This fluid looks like sweat, but it is actually blood plasma and excess ink being released from the skin. This is completely normal and shouldn’t be cause for alarm. The tattoo may also be a bit red and warm to the touch. Once the bandage is off, the next step is to wash the tattoo using a bar of unscented soap. Apply a tattoo-shop approved lotion such as Eucerin Aquaphor or a comparable tattoo aftercare lotion, like Tattoo Goo. Leave the tattoo uncovered so that it can begin to heal.
Day Two and Three
By the second or third day, your tattoo may begin to look a little bit cloudy and dull. But don’t be alarmed! This is a normal part of the healing process. At this point, the tattoo will begin to develop a bit of scabbing since it’s going through the healing process. However, it’s important to remember:
Do not pick the scabs!
If you pick the scabs, permanent scarring may damage the apearance of your tattoo. From here, you should continue to wash the tattoo once or twice per day with mild, unscented soap. Every time you wash it or it feels dry, be sure to apply a thin layer of ointment with clean hands to keep the skin moisturized. While washing, you may notice a bit of ink coming from the tattoo, but you should avoid picking the scabs here, too.
Day Four through Six
By the fourth day, the redness should start to fade and any swelling and warmth should eventually subside. You’ll probably notice a fair amount of scabbing over the tattoo. These scabs shouldn’t be as thick as the scabs you get when you cut yourself, but they will be raised and have the potential to get caught on clothing.
Continue to wash your tattoo with mild antibacterial soap once per day, and apply a moisturizer to prevent the tattoo from drying out.
Day Seven through Fourteen
By the seven-day mark, the scabs will begin to peel and flake off. Again, you should not pick or peel at these scabs. Just let them dry out and flake off naturally. The tattoo may also begin to itch a bit around this stage. This is to be expected. Continue to apply a moisturizer to the tattoo, and be sure to use UV protection if in direct sunlight. Continue to moisturize and wash with a mild antibacterial soap until the tattoo is fully healed.
With these tips, you should have no problem performing the proper tattoo care. For more tips and advice, rely on the experts at Tattoo Goo for all your tattoo needs.