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So you’ve finally gotten that tattoo you’ve always dreamed of.

Before you can get up and leave your Essendon tattoo studio however, your tattoo artist stops you and lathers your new ink in cream or jelly, before tightly bandaging it.

While they do so, they’re also explaining the importance of tattoo aftercare, and what you need to do in the crucial few days and weeks after your new tattoo.

We understand it’s a bit disappointing not being able to show off your new tattoo right away if it’s bandaged – however, it’s for the best.

Tattoo aftercare is the most important part of your tattoo journey (after choosing a style and getting inked, of course!)

Once your tattoo is finished, the responsibility is on you to ensure that your tattoo heals properly, and that it looks as good as possible.

As such, we recommend following your tattoo artist’s advice to the letter!

Why is tattoo aftercare important? Our Essendon tattoo artists explain

Simply put, when you finish getting inked, your skin will essentially be a raw, open wound.

Your tattoo artist will do their utmost to protect you from infection by ensuring that:

  • Their tattoo studio is clean and hygienic
  • All their tools are disinfected after each use
  • You’re provided with a thorough and detailed aftercare plan

The problem is that the healing process can go on for weeks.

Your tattoo artist won’t be there with you after their work is done – as such, keeping your tattoo safe from infection is your responsibility!

So, how can you take care of your new tattoo?

Protect yourself from infections and other complications

It takes time for the skin to scab over and heal – until then, there’s essentially no barrier between you and nasty bacteria.

As such, it will be extremely vulnerable to all sorts of infection.

Tattoo infections are no laughing matter. You may experience a range of complications depending on the extent of the infection, including:

  • Blisters and boils
  • Fevers
  • Abnormal scabs (though, scabbing is a normal part of healing)
  • Swelling and inflammation
  • Pus discharge

Tattoo infection can be extremely painful.

Thankfully, this only happens in extreme cases, where tattoo artists are negligent – just another reason to avoid “backyard” tattooing, and instead choosing a team of talented tattoo artists working out of a reputable studio.

That’s also why we’re so insistent that you adhere to a proper aftercare routine. If you want to avoid a nasty (and painful) infection, you’ll want to follow your prescribed aftercare routine very closely.

And if you notice signs of infection, we suggest booking an appointment with your GP as soon as you can!

Can infection ruin your tattoo?

Maybe.

Tattoo infections can affect colours, necessitating a touch-up. 

Specifically, infection can affect how the skin heals. This in turn may impact the way that tattoo pigment is retained in the skin. Some areas affected by infection may lose some ink, or it may run.

Luckily, your tattoo artist will be able to go back over your tat and restore the parts affected by infection… after the skin has healed, of course!

In some rare cases however, bad cases of infection can completely ruin your brand-new tattoo!

What’s involved in tattoo aftercare?

Bandage covering

One of the first things your tattoo artist will do once they’re done slinging ink is to coat it with a layer of petroleum jelly and a bandage or wrapping.

This serves as an immediate protection from infection, as well as less obvious dangers like sun exposure and direct contact with clothing.

Generally speaking, this bandage should be left in place for several hours. The exact duration depends on the size and location of your tattoo – your tattoo artist will advise how long will the bandage should stay there.

Tattoo washing

Your tattoo should be washed regularly to remove any bacteria and other nasties that can potentially result in an infection.

Of course, you can’t just wash your tattoo – you’ll need to follow a specific routine if you want to prevent infection.

For starters, you can’t apply too much pressure while cleaning your tattoo, as this can damage the unhealed skin and delay healing. We also strongly recommend antibacterial or hypoallergenic soap, gently washed away with lukewarm water.

Importantly, keep your cleans short, to minimise the amount of water that can get into the tattoo.

You’ll also need to be gentle when drying – we suggest using a lint-free paper towel or tissue (bacteria might be hiding in a towel) and softly pat the area dry – no rubbing here!

As a general rule, wash your new tattoo 2-3 times a day for as long as it takes for your tattoo to heal.

Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

Moisturising is one of the most important parts of tattoo aftercare, and should be performed several times a day (after washes is a great time).

Of course, there’s such a thing as too much moisturiser!

Specifically, over-moisturising can delay healing, as the skin won’t dry out sufficiently to scab.

Additionally, too much moisturiser can also cause scabs to become “soggy” and they’ll suck pigment and colour from your tat.

Your tattoo artist will tell you before you leave how often you should moisturise, and how much lotion you should apply depending on your tat. They might also recommend specific lotions.

For example, here at Sin City, our tattoo artists recommend (and sell) Hustle Butter.

Specially designed for tattoo aftercare, this lotion will help you look after your brand-new tat. 

Not to mention, it’s also 100% vegan, gluten-free and certified cruelty free!

More tips during tattoo healing

Don’t pick and scratch at your tattoo

Avoid pricking and scratching the tat, no matter how itchy they may feel. This can this lead to infection (especially if you don’t wash your hands frequently), and can slow down healing.

Additionally, it can also result in your tattoo fading!

Often, ink may trapped in surface layers of your skin before eventually setting in deeper layers of skin. By picking, you may take some of that trapped ink with you.

Avoid direct sun exposure

Tattoos and UV rays don’t mix – especially in the first couple of weeks, while your skin is still vulnerable!

Do not expose your tat directly under the sun in the first couple of weeks, as this can burn and damage the open wound.

Stay out of the water! Avoid beaches and pools 

Until your tattoo is completely healed, avoid going to pools and beaches. All of these contain bacteria and other nasties, which you’ll essentially be submerging the wound in.

This dramatically increases your risk of infection, so we strongly advise against it. Unfortunately, that also means no long, comfortable baths – a small price to pay for your tat!

Visit our Essendon tattoo parlour today!

Aftercare is a crucial part of getting inked – of course, it’s also important that you get inked by a skilled and talented tattoo artist!

At Sin City, our tattoo artists are the best in the business.

What’s more, we also take great care to ensure that you’re prepared for the simple yet critical task of looking after your new tattoo!

In addition to helping you choose the perfect design, we’ll also provide you an extensive aftercare routine. We’ll talk you through what you should and shouldn’t do.

Get in touch with our Essendon tattoo studio today – give us a ring on (03) 9379 1181 or click here to touch base online.

And if you’re in the neighbourhood, feel free to stop by our Essendon tattoo parlour – we welcome walk-ins!