First, let’s begin by saying we’re glad that you are now part of the elite group of society that has chosen to embrace their freedom of self expression by the way of getting a tattoo. Second, there is no official “right way” of taking care of a healing tattoo. No doctors advocate getting tattooed, so the medical community is not going to preach that everyone must do this or that to heal a tattoo. In most cases, tattoos are still frowned upon; and some doctors will simply give any of their patients antibiotics, regardless of the actual problem, and call it a day. Antibiotics have their place, but the natural healing of a tattoo will be sufficient more often than not. If you follow these instructions, your chances of needing any kind of medical treatment will be very slim. With that said, if symptoms of a bigger problem do arise, come by the shop and we will be happy to point you in the direction of what we feel would be the best course of action.
Some of our clients will be wrapped in TatuDerm™. If you are one of these clients, leave this clear film on for the entire 24 hours. TatuDerm traps in all the plasma that your body likes to push out from the open wound of the tattoo and prevents any type of scabbing. The wrap is breathable and waterproof, so you are encouraged to shower or go about normal life. When it’s time to remove the wrap, wash your hands first and slowly peel is off of your skin. Baby oil or removing it in the shower lessens the discomfort, if any from the removal process.
For the majority of tattoo clients, a thin layer of A&D Ointment or Aquaphor will be used to protect your tattoo from the cling wrap put over your tattoo before you leave the studio. Alabama state law requires that all people receiving a tattoo be bandaged properly before leaving the studio. This is for two reasons: First, to protect yourself from outside germs and viruses. Second, to protect anything you may touch from becoming a contaminated area. We know that the idea that your body being contaminated is absurd, but think about if everyone was allowed to leave with their fresh arm tattoo dripping or bumping into walls on the way out of the store. Most people don’t carry any diseases, but we aren’t willing to play Russian roulette with diseases.
The wrapping should only stay on for a few hours at most, unless told otherwise by your tattoo artist. Typically, this is enough time for your body to begin to healing process and considered a safe amount of time to begin unwrapping your tattoo. Should you decide to leave the wrapping on for too long, the open wound and bacteria from outside mixed with your trapped body heat can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
When you have taken off your wrapping or TatuDerm™, wash your tattoo thoroughly. Do not scrub your tattoo. Ink was just injected under your skin, so best to not remove the irritated skin above the ink. Use your fingers, mild soap, and warm water to wash away all ointments, body fluids, and excess ink. Recommended practice is washing your tattoo in the shower. Do not use a washcloth or loofah on your fresh tattoo as this may result in bacteria from other parts of your body being brought to the tattoo site and bacteria trapping onto the washcloth/loofah. Also, let the water from the shower hit your body just above or beside the fresh tattoo site. If you use cold water just before leaving the shower beside the tattoo site, your pores will close and help any color pigment heal nicer.
This is a very controversial area of tattoo aftercare. Meaning, some people still take care of their tattoos like it’s 1983. Advances have been made in wound care, so please update your tattoo aftercare as well. We have partnered with Griffin Salve and we highly recommend their products.
Griffin Salve sets a new industry standard for quality and performance. Shattering the mold, raising the bar, and changing the way aftercare is done forever. The ingredients in Griffin Salve were individually selected for their unique abilities.
Their proprietary blend of herbs is infused into their product and is specifically formulated to:
Griffin Salve is an all-natural, handcrafted, work of art. Quality comes with care - three entire days are required to produce just one batch. This is what makes it so special and unique. Our salve promotes beauty and wellness by acting with the body – not on the body. No product other product can compete or even come close.
However, because our process is so intricate, we can only make so much. We anticipate, that at the most, we will only be able to partner with a limited number of galleries. Therefore we want to make sure our product is found only in premier establishments with elite artists.
It is also true, that once individuals use Griffin Salve they become avid promoters of it. You will never forget the first time you experience it – and we want that experience to include us placing the sample in your hand and sharing our story with you. Because from that point on, we believe we will be partners for a long time.
I can tell you for a fact, you will love it. I can say for certain that you, as elite artists, will want this for your customers. I could recite countless testimonials.
But at the end of the day, what really matters is looking you in the eye and giving you the product.
Because, in this visual industry, talk is cheap – seeing is believing.
So, assuming that your new tattoo hasn’t fallen off yet, you’re now reading what to do after the initial cleanup.
Care during the first week is relatively simple. DO NOT RE-BANDAGE THE TATTOO. This will prolong the healing time and porous bandages such as gauze can result in thicker scabs, which in turn can result in pigment loss in the tattoo. To maintain the healing tattoo, moisturize lightly with a non-scented lotion 2 to 3 times daily. To ensure a smooth healing process, make sure that you’re washing the tattoo prior to any reapplication of lotion. This is to avoid any build-up which can result in unpleasant, thick scabs that may jeopardize your tattoo. We recommend washing the tattoo with Noxzema facial cream (the “Original” formula) or its generic equivalent if a two-dollar difference is going to bankrupt you. Noxzema is a gentle water-based cleanser designed to avoid the clogging of pores that provides a deep cleaning of your tattoo without being abrasive or traumatizing the tissue. As an added bonus, it’s markedly less expensive than “specialized for tattoo” products that many studios carry, which the majority of are variations of pre-existing skin care products… only with more “extreeeme” labeling and a higher price tag.
We recommend using non-scented lotion and Noxzema for the duration of your tattoo’s healing. While the general consensus is washing/moisturizing two to three times daily, feel free to lightly moisturize if your tattoo feels dry. Everybody’s skin is different, and do what works the best for you. It is very important to remember, however, that caking on lotions or ointments will result in your tattoo becoming scabby, disgusting, and result in pigment loss or changes. So remember to use moderation when moisturizing.
Do NOT pick at your new tattoo. We understand that, for your entire life up until this point, you probably picked at, touched, scratched, and generally interrupted any natural healing of any scratch that you could feel. With a healing tattoo, those simple, absent-minded actions can cause anything from bacteria under your fingernails spreading onto the new tattoo to pigment loss. While we do offer touch ups on work that we do, there are tell-tale signs that a tattoo was picked at; and depending on the amount of damage, we may not offer a free touch up for someone who obviously did not listen to our instructions at all.
It’s best to wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing to avoid any source of abrasive rubbing against your tattoo. This is imperative especially during the first three days of healing. Also avoid clothing that’ll overheat you and cause you to excessively sweat where your tattoo is located. If possible, keeping your tattoo free of any type of clothing or fabric is ideal. If that’s not feasible, however, the general rule of thumb is to wear something soft, loose-fitting, and comfortable.
Keep the tattoo site clean. We cannot stress this enough. Your tattoo is an open wound and letting strangers touch your fresh tattoo (this does happen, we don’t understand it, but it really DOES happen) or your pets lick your tattoo is just asking for trouble.
Apply baby powder to your tattoo before you go to bed for the first few days to avoid sticking to your sheets. Be prepared that the lymphatic fluid that likes to ooze from a fresh tattoo as well as excess ink will probably still make it onto your sheets. Do not use sheets that you aren’t willing to stain. An investment of “tattoo sheets” might be in order if you plan on getting many tattoos. Use these just for healing.
Avoid swimming or soaking in water for the first few days to avoid bacteria from getting into your new tattoo and causing any problems. If you have no signs of scabbing after a few days and there appears to be no signs of an open wound (oozing, etc), then swimming will not affect your tattoo. If you have any hint of scabbing, avoid swimming or soaking in water until your skin is free and clear of scabs.
A note about Preparation-H. Dr. Jeff Herndon, resident assistant professor at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at Virginia Commonwealth University’s Medical College, says Preparation-H should *NOT* be used for Tattoos:
“Preparation-H contains shark liver oil (similar to cod liver oil) and it is used primarily as a carrier of the active ingredients and as a protectent, forming a physical barrier on the skin. While this may be helpful in the healing of hemorrhoids, it provides no benefit and perhaps impeded the healing of new Tattoos. Furthermore, while phenyl mercuric nitrate (anothe principal ingredient) may have antiseptic properties (similar to mercurochrome or tinctureof iodine; niether of hwich should be used on fresh Tattoos) it possesses very little anti-infective properties when compared to traditional antibacterial agents such as Neosporin and Bacitracin, etc. Its use in such low quantities in Preparation-H is more likely as a preservative. The active ingredient of Preparation-H is the skin respiratory factor and this does nothing to relieve the itching and/or swelling associated with a new Tattoo. Not only will it NOT help your Tattoo, it was actually probably do more harm than good. The product was developed for hemorrhoid tissue only.”
The worst thing for a tattoo is prolonged exposure to UV light. Avoid direct, prolonged sunlight as much as possible during healing. After a few days, if there is no sign of scabbing, we recommend beginning the habit of using sunscreen on your tattoo if you work or spend a lot of time outside. A strong sunscreen over your tattoo will be the best way to take care of your new investment of a high-quality tattoo. Tanning beds and sun exposure lead to many skin issues, faded tattoos are one of them. Unless you like that aged biker tattoo look, then by all means, bring on the sun!
After you have taken care of your new tattoo and it has healed fully, when the “silver skin” is gone, we here at Evol Ink. want you to enjoy your new tattoo. When you’re ready for another one, let us know.