Taking care of a brand new tattoo might stress you out if it’s your first time, but there’s no reason to panic. As long as you follow these hacks for making a tattoo heal quickly, your new ink will look and feel amazing in no time. Proper aftercare is incredibly, incredibly important to avoid any infection, fading, or blurring, so don't slack off.
When I got my first tattoo, I remember asking my tattoo artist exactly what to do to take care of it, like seven million different times. His first piece of advice was to chill the hell out, and he then proceeded to repeat the cleaning instructions a few times. Afterward, he promised everything would be fine and sent me on merry way.
I wouldn't call myself an old pro at this point, but several tattoos later, I'm much calmer when making sure a tattoo heals correctly. I've learned not to freak out over every little scab, have harnessed massive amounts of will power so I never itch it ever, and also have no shame calling my artist about questions if they emerge.
Whether you're a tattoo pro or rookie, the hacks below can help your freshest ink heal properly and fast.
1. Don't Re-Bandage It
After you remove the initial bandage from your tattoo, never cover it again. Your tattoo has to breathe to scab over and heal, and wrapping it back up will create to much moisture and slow the process down.
2. Clean With Lukewarm Water
The last thing you want to do when cleaning your new tattoo to help it heal fast is use scalding hot water and accidentally burn yourself! Remember, a tattoo is essentially an open wound and you need to be gentle to have it heal fast.
3. Get The Right Ointment
Getting the right ointment to help your tattoo is essential to dodging any infection that could slow down healing. Most of the artists I've worked with recommend Aquaphor, but Bacitracin and A+D will work, too!
4. Apply Ointment Sparingly
You don't want to drown your tattoo in ointment because that might create an overly moist environment. Instead, apply enough to barely coat the tattoo and create a hardly-visible sheen.
Once you switch over from ointment to lotion, make sure to reach for non-scented. The chemicals in certain fragrances could react with your tattoo in a not so awesome way and substantially slow down your healing time.
6. Don't Scratch It
Oh man, I know this is hard, but fight all urges to scratch. Feeling itchy is a good sign — it means your tattoo is almost all the way healed and the scab is coming off!
7. Don't Peel Dead Skin
You can't rush a tattoo during the healing process, and ultimately, giving it the time it needs to have the scab naturally fall off ensures the skin underneath will be healthy.
8. Avoid Baths
Even if you're a hardcore bath addict, soaking your tattoo could wreck the design. To help it heal fast and properly, stick with showers for a few weeks.
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Images: Getty Images (6); Courtesy Of Brands