When your tattoo session is complete, that area is completely clean and sterile – we therefore advise that if the tattoo is not going to be covered immediately by clothing that you allow it to air and begin healing straight away. If your tattoo is going to be covered by clothing (particularly appropriate in winter!) then we will wrap it with a cling film dressing.
When you get home, remove your dressing and wash the tattoo. This first wash is really important. You’ll notice that the tattoo is oozing a syrupy layer which is comprised of ink, blood, plasma and lymph fluid. This is completely normal for a new tattoo, but you want to get rid of as much of it as you can. Using your (clean) fingers only, gently wash the area using warm water (not hot) until you can feel that the syrupy layer has gone. If any of this layer remains, your scabs will be thicker which in turn make it harder to penetrate any kind of aftercare products through, leading to increased dryness and scab-cracking. Pat dry with a clean towel and (if desired) apply a thin layer of your preferred healing cream.
You then want to keep the tattoo as dry as possible while healing – you can shower / wash as normal, but avoid soaking the tattoo in a bath. The scab is the best defence for healing and you want to keep it as scabby as possible!
If your scab becomes soft after bathing, lightly pat dry / allow to dry fully before applying any healing cream.
DON’T PICK YOUR SCABS! This can cause holes in the design; healing creams can help soothe the area if the itching is too much!
During the healing stage you must be particularly careful with your tattoo – avoid exposing it to direct sunlight (the newly forming thin layers of skin cannot protect the tattoo colours) and be careful to keep it as clean as possible. Sports and saunas are absolutely taboo in this phase as sweat and irritation can lead to inflammation. The same applies to swimming, as swimming pools and open water are full of bacteria.
In the first week, scabs should form on the tattoo and the redness should slowly go away. If the redness doesn’t go away then the tattoo may be inflamed. Consult your tattoo studio in this case and they will advise you what to do.
In the second week the scabbing should slowly go away and you will be able to see freshly healed layers of skin on your tattoo. Keep in mind that only the upper skin layers have newly formed and the lower layers are still healing and will take a while before they fully regenerate. Swimming, bathing and direct sunlight should continue to be avoided, and the tattoo should be kept moisturised with your preferred healing cream so that it doesn’t dry out and can continue to heal.
After three weeks or so, the scabs should have completely fallen off and a thin layer of skin should have appeared over the tattoo. This layer is called “silver skin” and will make the tattoo look a little shiny and dull – the brightness will return in time, once the tattoo is fully healed. In this phase you can go swimming and take baths again, but you should make sure the tattoo in the upper skin layer has healed completely and the skin is completely closed.
After about a month your tattoo will have healed – the skin feels smooth and the epidermis is completely healed. However, the underlying skin layers will still take a while to heal and to absorb the colour completely. In this phase, you no longer need to take special care of the tattoo although it doesn’t hurt to apply tattoo cream from time to time and to be careful not to hurt the skin on top on the tattoo.
If you are going to be in the sun you should always make sure that you cover the tattoo, or at least protect it with sunscreen. There are special tattoo sunscreens with a high sun protection factor that optimally protect your tattoo.
After 6 months your tattoo has completely healed in all skin layers and the colour has been completely absorbed by your skin. You can now treat the tattooed area like the rest of your skin. Keep in mind that your tattoo, just like your skin, will age over time. If you have dry skin you should apply aftercare regularly so the skin stays hydrated and the colours stay vibrant – your skin lives and so does your tattoo! Fine lines will get thicker and initially visible dots in shades will sink further into the skin and blur a little – the actual result of a tattoo can usually be seen at this time.
Allergic reactions to inks are common enough that if you’re having a large colourful piece, you’ll probably find one colour that doesn’t work for you. You’ll experience some weeping and it will take longer than normal to heal – it will heal though and the tattoo underneath is usually far less affected than you would think. You’ll likely need a retouch once the tattoo is fully healed, and this would be offered free of charge.
Your tattoo may require a retouch once it is healed – this can be because it’s been knocked whilst healing, because of a reaction or simply because large / solid pieces crack whilst healing – retouches are all offered free of charge once your tattoo has healed.
If your tattoo is going to be on the hand, or another area which is highly mobile / exposed to the general elements or day to day working you’ll be advised by us regarding the likely need for reworks. We allow one free retouch as standard , however if we believe you will need future, more frequent retouches then we will advise, as these will be charged for. This also applies to tattoos where correct aftercare procedures have not been followed.