You finally did it. You got the tattoo you always wanted. It’s bright and it’s colourful. But now you have to take care of it to make sure you don’t get a skin infection. So how do you even know what the right steps are? Should you trust the tattoo artist? Ask your dermatologist? It depends on where you live, really. In the United States, there are few guidelines for tattooing and even fewer for aftercare.
Currently, 7 states have no regulations at all; 30 states license tattoo artists and require them to give you written or verbal instructions on how to take care of your new work of art.
But just 7 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, and North Dakota, require tattoo artists to provide their customers with aftercare instructions mandated by the public health department.
Dermatologists think this needs to change so that everyone who gets a tattoo also gets instructions on how to take care of it to prevent infections and serious complications.
Aftercare for Your Tattoo
So, how can you make sure that new tattoo is something you don’t end up regretting? Follow these steps while your new tattoo heals.
- Be sure your artist covers your new tattoo in a thin layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage.
- Remove the bandage after 24 hours. Gently wash the tattoo with antimicrobial soap and water and pat dry.
- Apply a layer of antibacterial ointment twice a day, but don’t put on another bandage.
- Gently wash your tattoo area several times a day with soap and water and gently pat dry.
- Keep applying a moisturizer or ointment after you clean it to keep it moist.
You should repeat this process for 2 to 4 weeks. Also try not to wear clothes that will stick to your tattoo, and avoid swimming and the sun for about 2 weeks. And take cool showers. Scalding hot water will not only hurt, but it can also fade the ink. If your tattoo scabs a bit or develops hard layers, don’t worry. It’s normal. But never pick scratch, or peel it. You could get an infection or remove the colour. If you think your tattoo is infected or isn’t healing properly, go see your doctor.
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