When preparing to get inked, it’s also very crucial to learn how to heal a tattoo. Unfortunately, not a lot of people pay as much attention as they should in getting better acquainted with the process of healing a tattoo. As a result, they end up having to go through a more painful experience than what it should be.
Since you’ll create deep wounds and introduce foreign elements on your skin, it should be expected that one’s tattoo healing time won’t be that simple. This is why you should prioritize learning about the things you should do to ensure that your tattoo will heal properly.
To help you do so, we’ll discuss the most important points that you need to know about the tattoo healing process below.
How long do tattoos take to heal?
Due to the amount of damage your skin will experience from getting a tattoo, the average healing time for tattoos can take up to 6 weeks with proper care. In case of an infection and other complications, it can take even longer to heal. This is why it’s an absolute must to take care of your tattoo so it will heal properly and faster.
While most experts say that most tattoos heal in 6 weeks, it still depends on each person’s body, really. Some might heal faster than others while there are others who might heal slower. With proper care, however, you can expect the healing process to not hit a snag.
Tattoo Aftercare: Tips and Tricks
If you want to ensure that your tattoo recovery will come along swimmingly, you should know exactly what to do and not do after you get inked. There are tons of things and factors that can affect your healing process so you have to know each and every one of them to be sure that you can react accordingly.
To help you get a good idea of what to do with your tattoo aftercare, below is a quick guide that you might find useful. We’ll discuss the different tattoo healing stages so you can have a good idea of what to do to properly recover from the inking process.
Post-Tattoo Session Care
1. Keep the covering on your tattoo for a few hours after getting inked. Don’t be tempted to remove the covering to take a look at the piece but toughen your resolve to resist. It’s crucial to keep it on to protect your open wound from bacteria and sunlight. It will also keep it from rubbing against clothing. How long should you keep the tattoo covered? It depends on the location of your ink. Your tattoo artist will let you know about this. However, it usually doesn’t go beyond 5 hours in most cases.
2. Wash your hands before touching your tattoo. Don’t forget to wash your hands before removing the covering and handling your tattoo. Even if you only really need to wash it after undressing it, you should still wash your hands before doing anything.
3. Thoroughly but gently wash the area with hypoallergenic soap or a mild antibacterial cleanser and some warm water using your fingers. Don’t soak it in water for long periods and don’t be alarmed if the tattoo looks like it’s oozing. That’s normal as it’s just from the excess ink and fluid used during the tattooing process.
4. Pat dry the new tat with a paper towel. Never rub or use a towel on your new tattoo. Your bath towel is teeming with bacteria so to avoid infection, use something disposable instead. Rubbing can also hurt the skin more so it should be avoided at all costs.
5. Air-dry the tattoo for an hour before applying a moisturizer or an aftercare product. If you’re not using the recommended product of your tattoo artist, make sure to only go for a mild, unscented moisturizer. Fragrance usually contains oils and other ingredients that will irritate your skin, so avoid them.
6. Leave the new tattoo uncovered to let it breathe. Some experts recommend covering it again before going to bed, however, to prevent it from getting itchy. It can also keep you from scratching or touching it in your sleep.
7. For the first week right after getting inked, you will need to keep the tattoo clean and moisturized. Sweat is an enemy for those with fresh ink so you might need to wash the area every few hours if you tend to get sweaty during the day. If you work in an air-conditioned space, however, washing it once during the day will be enough. Follow the washing steps above to get good results. Cool it with the moisturizer, however. Apply a thin layer only as applying too much can clog your pores and keep the skin from breathing and healing properly.
8. Tattoos scabbing will start a few days after getting inked. It can get itchy so strengthen your resolve to not scratch or pick on it. Continue the washing schedule mentioned above and do so gently and thoroughly with only your fingers to avoid accidental peeling.
Week Two Care
1. How long does it take for a tattoo to peel? You’ll find out at around this time. Are tattoos supposed to peel? Yes, it’s normal for a tattoo to peel. By week 2, your tat will start flaking. It will get very itchy as well so you have to be extra gentle with it. Absolutely avoid soaking the fresh tat in water or any other liquid and don’t use other materials to scrub it clean.
2. Continue to moisturize the tattoo to prevent it from getting very itchy. However, keep an eye on it as it might get over moisturized that it stays fresh instead of continuing to heal. When you notice bubbles coming out on the surface of your tattoo, stop applying moisturizer for a bit and let it dry out completely first.
Weeks Three Onwards
1. This is the final stage of your tattoo healing process so a bit more patience is required. By this time, the scabs and flakes will start to fall off around this time so be patient and continue to avoid scratching and picking on them.
2. Your fresh ink might also start to look dull around this time so make sure to protect it from the sun and keep it moisturized.
3. Your ink will also start healing at the later parts of this phase. How do you know when your tattoo is healed? It’s the time when your ink starts looking vibrant. When there are no more scabs and flaking as well as itching and burning sensations, even in small amounts, it means that your tattoo has already healed. When you’ve reached this point, it’s still ideal to moisturize the area regularly and apply sunscreen daily.
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Other Things to Remember
Aside from knowing the tattoo healing process day by day, there are also a few more things that you should keep in mind to ensure proper healing. Here are a few of the most important points that you should remember:
1. Large tattoos require a more specific aftercare procedure. You might need to wash it more often, use the wrap healing method, and skip the ointment/moisturizer step. You’ll need more patience and discipline in order to ensure that it heals properly.
2. Wrist tattoo healing, as well as tattoos near other joints, are trickier. You will need to be more careful and patient because the skin in those areas is constantly getting stretched and compressed. Depending on your lifestyle, such tattoos might take longer to heal.
3. Avoid exercising, shaving, and exposing your new art to bacteria while it’s still healing. These activities can cause your skin to stretch, cause new wounds, and get your open wounds infected. They will not do you a favor if you want to heal quickly.
4. If you want to know how to heal tattoos faster, there’s no magic trick to do so. You just really need to follow the proper steps in healing your tattoo. By doing so, you won’t complicate things with an infection and prolong the healing process.
5. Your tattoo before and after healing may look slightly different but that’s not a problem. Fresh ink really fades out a bit, especially with your skin healing over the area that got wounded. With proper care, however, it will still look vibrant.