Getting inked is a lot of fun and a great way to celebrate a special moment, person, or just life. You wake up every morning, and it is there to remind you of the person that you were once and how it made you feel. But, here’s something you should know – it is permanent, and the tattoo processwill hurt.
Here’s the lowdown on what to do before and after getting a tattoo.
What precautions should be taken after making tattoo?
Tattoo aftercare is equally important as ticking things off your ‘before getting a tattoo’ checklist. Here are some pointers:
- Listen To Your Tattoo Artist: Once the process is over, your artist will give you a list of dos and don’ts to follow. Follow their instructions to the tee.
- Cleaning Your Tattoo: Washing your tattoo gently is an important process of post-tattoo care. Think of it as a wound that you need to take care of. Use a mild, fragrance-free soap to wash off the excess blood and ink gently. Don’t scrub it or with a towel or loofah, or you may get a bacterial infection. Make sure not to soak the tattoo in water for a long time under any circumstances. You need to wash your tattoo about twice a day. Do remember that washing it excessively will cause the tattoo to fade quickly.
- Moisturizing: Your tattoo artist will give you a tattoo ointment or a tattoo wax to apply a few times a day. In case they don’t, you can use a fragrance-free moisturizer. Sometimes, they may ask you not to moisturize at all. In any case, you could apply a thin layer of tattoo wax or moisturizer to prevent infections. Do not overuse it, or it may lead your tattoo to scab excessively. Let it breathe.
- Flaking And Peeling: After a few days, your tattoo will start to heal. It will dry out and start flaking and peeling. This is natural, and you may continue to use the tattoo wax or moisturizer based on the advice of your artist.
- Avoid Direct Sunlight: Make sure the tattooed portion of your body is not exposed to direct sunlight. It will burn and damage the open wound sooner than you can imagine. Direct sunlight will not only cause the ink to fade quickly and leave it patchy, but it will also ruin the appearance of the design, and you’ll be running back to the studio for a touch-up.
- Be Patient: Different people’s skins react differently to tattoos. Some may heal faster than others, but that’s no cause for concern. It will take a few weeks for it to heal completely, so be patient. Once it has healed completely, you may apply sunscreen or anything else that you usually would.
- Do Not Scratch: No matter what, don’t scratch your tattoo. Though the healing process may cause it to itch sometimes, resist the temptation to scratch. Scratching can cause major damage to your tattoo, and you could remove the top layer of your skin. It could also cause infection. Hence, be patient and try and ignore the itching.
Safety Precautions Before Getting a Tattoo
Knowing what you need to do before you get inked is crucial. You should be clear about what you want and why. If it’s your first time, it’s even more important for you to be aware of the dos and don’ts. Here are some tips on what to do before getting a tattoo:
- Consult Your Dermatologist: If you have sensitive skin or are prone to skin allergies, it is best to consult your dermatologist before you go for a tattoo. You never know how the chemicals and ink react with your skin. Even if you don’t have a history of allergies, it is best to be cautious.
- Be Sure Of The Design: This is something that you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life, so you need to be sure of what you want. It could be a design you have wanted to get for a long time or something you decided on an impulse. If it’s the latter, sit with a tattoo artist and tell them what you have in mind. Let them use their creativity to come up with designs.
If you want to play it safe, you can get something that you’ve seen on someone else and know will look good. You can try and personalize it with the help of your artist. Whatever it is that you decide, look at the tattoo every day for 30 days. If you’re not bored by the end of it, go for it.
- Placement Of The Tattoo: You may want the tattoo at a particular place – it could be your arm, wrist, thigh, chest, back, neck, or ankle. But sometimes, the design may not go with the natural flow of your bone structure. In such a situation, it is best to go with the advice of your tattoo artist. Be aware that areas with more muscle will be less painful than those with more skin and bones.
- Take A Second Opinion: If you are not sure that you will be able to love the tattoo design for the rest of your life, take a second opinion. Ask a friend or a sibling for advice. Research online and see what people have to say about it.
- Never Drink Alcohol Before Getting Inked: Yes, we have seen it in movies that people get drunk and land up at a tattoo parlor and wake up the next morning with no memory of where that came from. Let’s leave that to the movies.
Alcohol thins your blood. While you are getting a tattoo, your skin will bleed because it is essentially a wound. And the thinner your blood gets, the more you bleed. This may compromise the visibility of your artist and lead to the design getting messy. It can also thin the ink, and the design may come out patchy.
- Do Not Tattoo Yourself: You may be a good artist or feel like since it is a small tattoo, you could probably do it yourself. Don’t! Hygiene is essential, and there is a lot of sterilization that goes on before your artist even thinks of touching you with their needle. You may end up getting an infection, and there are high chances you may ruin the design (unless, of course, you’re a fabulous tattoo artist yourself).
- Watch For Cleanliness: There are tons of tattoo artists these days – some charge a bomb, while others might offer to do it for a low rate. No matter what, make sure your artist is hygienic. Observe the workspace. If it is too dusty or dirty, chances are they will not be particular about tattoo hygiene either.
Contaminating your body while getting a tattoo can lead to a lot of infections. Make sure the tattoo artist is wearing disposable gloves, and all equipment is sterilized before they use them on your body. Also, ensure that whatever they use on you comes out of a sealed packet – watch them open it – because cleanliness is key.
- Know The Process: Diving blindly into something as permanent as getting a tattoo is not ideal. Do your research and be aware of the entire process. If you feel something is off, let your artist know. If you have any questions about a certain step in the process, ask the artist.
Here are a few more things to keep in mind.
How To Care For A Tattoo
- Research on your tattoo design and tattoo artist and be sure of where you want the tattoo done.
- Eat well before your tattoo appointment because pain and loss of blood can cause lightheadedness and make you feel faint. Eating will also reduce your sensitivity to pain, and you will not be uncomfortable.
- Make sure your clothing is appropriate for where you plan to get your tattoo. If you want it on your arm, wear a loose sleeveless t-shirt. If you want it on your back, make sure your outfit has your back exposed and hair properly pinned up. Ink could get splattered during the process, so make sure to wear something old.
- Make sure the tattooist and their equipment are clean. This will prevent infection.
- Be patient with the healing process. It can take some time, but it’s totally worth it.
- Do not drink alcohol before your tattoo appointment. Alcohol causes blood to thin, and thinning of blood will lead to excessive bleeding.
- Do not soak it in water as it will cause the tattoo to fade very quickly.
- Do not expose it to direct sunlight. Sunburns can be painful and will ruin the appearance of the tattoo.
- No matter what, do not scratch. Not even in your sleep.
Now you know what you need to keep in mind before and after getting a tattoo. Remember, it is permanent. So, even if you have to pay a little bit more for good quality and hygiene, do not hesitate, because it will take you a long way.
If you don’t like your tattoo a few years down the line, you can cover it up. The tattoo artist will be able to camouflage your old design to give it a completely transformed look. And if you don’t want your tattoo at all, you can get rid of it through medical procedures. But that will be a painful, long, and expensive affair. The bigger your tattoo, the more money you’ll have to shell out, and the more sessions you will have to sit through. So, do give your tattoo a good thought and consider all things before getting one.
It’s your mark, it’s personal, and it’s for your memory. Own it and wear it like your badge of honor – after all, it’s now a part of you. Happy getting inked!
Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions
Should I shower before a tattoo?
Yes, it is always a good idea to shower before a tattoo so that there is little chance of you catching an infection. Taking a shower will also help calm your nerves. If you don’t have time for a shower, at least wash off the portion of your skin thoroughly where you intend to get inked.
What should I eat before getting a tattoo?
You must eat a good wholesome meal before going in for your appointment. Anything that has protein and vitamin C is a great option. If you are planning on getting a bigger tattoo, it will take time. You can carry some snacks so that if you are hungry in the middle of the session, you will have something to munch on. Stay away from dairy and sugar and remember to drink plenty of water.
How long does it take for a tattoo to heal?
On average, it takes 2-3 weeks for a regular tattoo to heal. A lot of it will depend on your post-tattoo care. However, the skin below it will take longer to heal, about 4 to 6 months.
Can you use coconut oil for tattoo aftercare?
Yes, coconut oil is great for tattoos, but try and use virgin coconut oil. It has antimicrobial properties, speeds up the healing process, and prevents inflammation. When your tattoo starts to look dull and faded, apply some coconut oil to make it look shiny. Coconut oil has vitamins E and K, which are both great for the skin. It also acts as an effective moisturizer.
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