Unless you're covered head to toe in tattoos or you ink people for a living, you're probably not an expert on the topic of healing tattoos. Sure, you may have some experience but it's always good to know and recognize the signs your tattoo isn't healing correctly. After all, nobody wants an infection!
Everybody's different, so although your inked friends may kindly dish out their tales of their own approximate tatt healing times to you, this doesn't mean that your experience will be exactly the same. I am certainly no ink expert, but I imagine it being akin to trying to tell someone how long their headache will last — chances are, it won't be forever but it all depends on the individual's ability to heal, plus how well they look after themselves.
Much like any open wound, a tattoo needs to be treated with care and looked after correctly. There's no point in spending your hard earned cash on a rad tattoo and going through the pain, if you're going to fall at the last hurdle and not take care of your new body art.
Therefore, I spoke to TJ Cantwell owner of Studio 28 Tattoos, to learn about what to look out for when your tattoo isn't healing correctly.
"My first recommendation is that you should always speak with your artist if you have any questions about your tattoo," Cantwell tells Bustle over email. "We provide our clients with written and verbal instructions after every tattoo and sell products we recommend to use at the shop. This would be the same at any reputable studio," he says.
"So sometimes a tattoo will scab while it is healing," Cantwell explains, "if the tattoo is done well and the client does a really good first washing on the tattoo, then it can be minimal or none at all but it does happen. If you are having excessive pain around the scab and start seeing puss, then you are having a bad time and should consult your artist. If you are getting an infection, which is rare, it is typically quite painful, hot to the touch, and will usually have a bright greenish discharge to it," he elaborates.
"Everyone knows their body better than anyone so if you think something is wrong, then there probably is and you should go to your artist and get their opinion on it," adds Cantwell.
"A common misconception is that a tattoo is done poorly because it has become hazy looking, like the color is not there anymore. This is not true!" Cantwell says, "While the tattoo is in the final stages of healing, the new layers of skin that are healing on top will be hazy while they are forming. Once they are fully healed it will all come back again, just part of the healing process," he explains. So don't go jumping to conclusions when it comes to haziness.
Keep your peepers peeled for signs that your tattoo is not healing properly, but don't worry about your new tatt looking hazy. If you're in doubt, consult your artist!