So you’ve just gotten a new tattoo! Congratulations! Your artist explained how to take care of it, and you feel confident that you can handle it. But what are some things that you shouldn’t do with a fresh tattoo? You’ve been told how to take care of it, but not what to avoid. Read on to find out the 12 things you need to stay away from while your tattoo is healing!
Obviously you can’t completely avoid water, but you should keep a few things in mind. You can shower, and sometimes it’s easier to wash your fresh tattoo while you’re in there. However, you shouldn’t soak your tattoo. You should wait at least 2 weeks before you do.
When it comes to swimming, just avoid it for at least 3-4 weeks. That chemically treated water in pools isn’t good for a fresh tattoo, and lakes and natural bodies of water are worse! They contain SO much bacteria and stuff that you definitely don’t want getting into your tattoo. These can lead to some serious infections. So it’s just best to avoid swimming all together until your tattoo is completely healed.
#2. Direct Sunlight
While you can’t become a hermit and stay indoors until your tattoo is healed, you should avoid DIRECT sunlight. It can cause some serious damage, such as bleaching and fading. If your fresh tattoo is exposed to the sun too long, it can even blister. The further along in the healing process you are, and the scabs have all come off your tattoo, then you’ll be okay. Remember to always apply sunscreen, to new and old tattoos, to prevent from fading!
#3. Removing the Wrapping Too Early
I know, I know. You just got a your tattoo and you want to look at it! That dang bandage that the artist puts on after your session can be annoying, but it’s there for a reason. Your fresh tattoo is basically one giant open wound. The wrapping that they put over it keeps any bacteria or airborne particles from getting into it.
How long should you keep it on? Well, listen to your artist. Some will tell you 2 hours, some will tell you overnight. Your artist knows what he/she is talking about, so it’s best to just listen to what they advise and stick to that!
Once you’ve removed the wrapping on your fresh tattoo, keep it off! It’s time to let the healing process begin and let your tattoo breathe. If you rewrap it, you’ll be trapping in moisture, which leads to bacteria growth, which leads to infection. And that’s the last thing you want! So let that tattoo fly free in wind!
#5. Too Much Sweating
We all sweat; it’s just part of being human. But you shouldn’t put yourself in a situation where you’ll sweat more than normal, like intense workouts, or somewhere outdoors where it’s particularly hot (plus remember #2??). Like previously stated, excessive moisture isn’t good for a fresh and healing tattoo, so it should be avoided as much as possible for the first few weeks.
#6 & #7. Picking Scabs & Medicated Ointments
You shouldn’t pick scabs no matter what kind of wound you have, but you really shouldn’t pick the ones that form on your fresh tattoo. As your tattoo heals, some light scabbing will occur. This is totally normal. The scabbed parts fall off on their own, so you’ll see little colored bits here and there, especially when you wash your tattoo. If you pick them off, it won’t speed up the healing process and can actually slow it down. Not only that, but you’re risking infection, too!
What do you normally apply to a cut or wound? Neosporin, or some kind of medicated ointment, because duh, you want it to heal. And your fresh tattoo is essentially one big wound, right? It only make sense to apply something like that to it! WRONG! These medicated ointments do their jobs TOO well and your tattoo can heal too quickly. There’s also zinc in medicated ointments, which can take the ink out of your skin, and make your tattoo fade! I speak from personal experience, so just put the Neosporin down and back away slowly. Stick to something like H2Ocean tattoo ointment or A&D! And remember, only a very thin layer is needed for the first 3 days, then you can switch to a nonscented lotion.
Listen up ladies, we live in a time where if someone looks at you weird for having body hair, you can tell them off. Eff those backwards beauty standards! At least, just for about a month until your tattoo heals! If you get a tattoo on a body part that you’d normally shave, like your legs, you’ll need to wait to shave. Taking a razor over a healing tattoo is definitely not a good idea. Not only are you scraping over a fresh wound, you could pull off any healing scabs (and we don’t want that! Remember #6??). So if you need to be smooth as a baby’s bottom for an upcoming special occasion, keep that in mind before getting a tattoo!
#9. Scented Soaps
Save the fancy scented soaps for your house guests, and avoid using it on your fresh tattoo. The fragrance, no matter how light, can irritate the sensitive area of your tattoo. The best thing to use is an unscented, antibacterial soap for the first few weeks. You should wash it twice a day, once in the morning and once a night, and no more than that. If you wash it TOO much, you can dry out your tattoo.
#10. Tight Fitting Clothing
Now I’m not saying go nude, but avoid the overly tight clothes over your fresh tattoo as much as possible! A tattoo needs to breathe and get air, and it can’t do that if you’re smothering it with skinny jeans. There’s also the fact that depending on the type of fabric, tight clothes can make you sweat, and as we’ve covered excessive sweating and moisture is what? That’s right, bad. So opt for something flowy and etherial for the first few weeks instead! Your tattoo will be happy and you’ll look like a God or Goddess. Win/win!
#11 & #12. Scratching & Over Moisturizing
If you ask anyone who has a tattoo what the worst part of healing is, they’ll probably tell you the itching. You must resist the urge! Scratching an itch that just won’t go away is so satisfying, but trust me on this, it won’t be this time. You can scratch off those scabs too soon! Plus who knows what bacteria is lurking under your fingernails!
Moisturizing your healing tattoo is a vital step in the healing process, but you can easily over moisturize it. As we’ve covered, too much moisture on a tattoo is bad. It can harbor and grow bacteria, and bacteria leads to infections. All you need is a thin layer of moisturizer 2-3 times a day. If you wash your tattoo before applying moisturizer, be sure to let your tattoo dry completely before putting it on, because the lotion can trap the moisture in. So just go easy and light with the lotion, and you’ll be good to go!
Tattoo by Nick (Modesto Location)
So there you have it! You can handle these 12 things to avoid, right? If you do, you’ll come out the other side of healing with a beautiful tattoo that will last you years and years!