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How To Clean Your Tattoo: Step By Step Guide

So, you finally got the tattoo you wanted. It looks great and shiny and compliments you. However, if you do not take care of your tattoo, it is will start to fade, and it might even get infected while it heals. The good news is that cleaning and caring for your tattoo is not a difficult task, as long as you do it correctly and quickly.

We wrote this article to guide you on how to clean your tattoo painlessly and easily. In this article, you will receive advice, as well as detailed information on how to take care of your tattoo while it heals, as well as how to extend its longevity.

Cleaning your tattoo is important

As you may already know, the tattoo process involves a small needle piercing the outer layer of your skin to draw ink, turning your tattoo into a work of art. Each time your skin is pierced, it leaves the inner layers of your skin exposed to potential bacterial infections.

Dozens of bacteria linger around our skin and in the air, and leaving the skin open allows them to enter your bloodstream. To avoid unnecessary rashes, pain, and potential infections that won’t end well for you, it’s important to take care of your tattoo while it heals and after.

We are not the only ones to tell you this. If you haven’t had your tattoo done yet, your tattoo artist will likely advise you to do the same, as long as they have the expertise and are a certified tattoo artist, that is.

Once complete, your tattoo artist will clean your tattoo with antibacterial soap and will likely advise you to do the same. They will also fix and wrap your tattoo in sterilized wrap. However, it is your first tattoo wash that counts on the quality of the tattoo and the prevention of unwanted side effects.

It’s important to clean the tattoo as soon as you remove the packaging at home and below we’ll teach you how to handle that very first wash and the first month while the tattoo heals.

Caring for your tattoo

Once your tattoo artist has finished your tattoo, it’s time to start the healing process which can take anywhere from a week to a few weeks or a full month. During this time, it is important to take care of your tattoo and clean it regularly. Here are some tips on how to do it.

Talk to your tattoo artist

The first thing you should talk to your tattoo artist about is how to take care of the tattoo once it’s done. They will advise you to use sterilized and antibacterial patches and antibacterial soap when cleaning the tattoo, as well as avoiding direct baths.

They will also cover your new tattoo with a small layer of petroleum jelly and then bandage it to prevent air from entering the wound.

Note: Always work with certified and professional tattoo artists. Read reviews, listen to recommendations, and discuss the various prices. Although tattoo artists may charge more here and there, it’s important to be careful with whoever sticks a needle into your skin and inks you.

The first 24 hours

Once your tattoo artist has taken care of your tattoo and bandaged it, you should avoid touching or removing the bandage for the first 24 hours. The skin will likely burn and pulsate while the wound itself will hurt. You can try to soothe it by using painkillers like paracetamol and ibuprofen.

After the first 24 hours, remove the bandage and clean your tattoo with cold water and antimicrobial soap. Gently rub it against the wound in a circular manner and let the water wash it away.

Do not rub the wound, instead use a soft cotton towel and pat the wound dry.

To note: Here are some antimicrobial soaps that are great for cleaning tattoos.

  • Dettol body wash
  • Tattoo Goo Deep Cleansing Soap
  • H2Ocean – Blue Green Liquid Soap
  • Dial Antibacterial Liquid Hand Soap
  • Dial Gold Antibacterial Deodorant Soap

Cleansing routine during and after healing

Once the critical first 24 hours have passed, it’s time to continue caring for your tattoo as well as for those 24 hours until it’s completely cleansed. Many health experts, as well as tattoo artists, recommend that you avoid bathing or swimming, but use quick showers to cleanse yourself.

Below are tips for your tattoo cleaning routine while cleaning it.

  • Buy an antibacterial ointment and use it on your tattoo when cleaning once or twice a day.
  • Only use one dressing a day when cleaning and using ointments.
  • A good alternative to antibacterial ointment can also be petroleum jelly.
  • Clean your tattoo with antimicrobial soap and cold water. You can use lukewarm water after some time.
  • Always dry after cleaning instead of rubbing.
  • Do not wear synthetic clothing or tight clothing that clings to the skin.
  • Wear loose, breathable clothing that will allow your tattoo to breathe.
  • Avoid taking a shower with water that is too hot.

This cleansing routine should last anywhere from a week to a full month. Also avoid other activities such as strenuous exercise which can cause your skin to sweat too much, as well as pool activities such as swimming and heavy sun exposure.

Even after a month has passed and the tattoo is almost completely healed, it is a good idea to put moisturizer on your tattoo every time you clean it.

To note: During the healing process, avoid scratching or peeling the skin from your tattoo. Naturally, as your skin heals, old skin deposits form, let them go. The tattoo will hurt and even burn for a while, which is normal. However, you should avoid touching it until it heals completely.

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Visit the tattoo studio after your tattoo has healed

As we mentioned before, scratched and peeling skin can cause your ink to fall out, which is the normal process of tattooing. Once your tattoo has healed, you should feel free to visit your tattoo artist and discuss further aftercare plans with them.

The studio, if reputable and reliable, will also offer the touch-up services for free, just to make sure your tattoo looks good and in the right shape. Usually, people review tattoo studies six weeks after the process, once the tattoo has completely healed.

How to take care of a tattoo in summer?

Tattoos are made to last a long time, if not forever. However, due to water, salt, sun exposure, scratches, peeling and other factors, it will lose its luster and begin to peel and fade after a while. Prevention is better than cure, so here is what to do to keep the tattoo in its original shape and keep it looking dashing for a long time.

Sun exposure is one of the main culprits of a tired tattoo that starts to fade too soon. That’s why we’ve provided a list of tips to follow on hot summer days.

Here are our tips:

  • Hydrate daily. Even a roll-on can prevent unnecessary sweating that could cause the tattoo to lose its original shine.
  • Daily sunscreenespecially when you go to work outside and leave the tattoo exposed, go to the pool or the beach.
  • It is best to cover the inked area with a Sunscreen SPF 45 or even higher.
  • Make sure physical blocker sunscreen contains at least 7% zinc oxide.

To note: If you just got a tattoo and the summer temperatures are outside, be sure to avoid the sun. Cover your tattoo with cotton clothing or another breathable fabric to protect it from the sun.

When to see The Doctor?

Again, tattooing is painful and healing may take time, especially if there are side effects. However, if your tattoo is itchy too much, if you have rinsed or cleaned the wound too roughly and this is causing unwanted side effects, including skin infection, you should see a doctor.

Consult the doctor if:

  • Your tattooed wound begins to ooze.
  • Your tattoo begins to form excessive scabs that last a long time.
  • You have symptoms of fever or have a high fever.
  • The swelling in the tattoo wound hasn’t subsided for more than a week after getting your tattoo.
  • There is an excessive rash that is not soothed even after using moisturizer or other ointment.

Finally, you should see your doctor if you are still experiencing the pain that you felt when the swelling was present. The itching sensation, rash, and other redness and pain could suggest a serious skin infection associated with the tattoo.

And remember, getting a tattoo from a certified, knowledgeable, and experienced tattoo artist is a must. You should never gamble or gamble with your health as it could turn bad for you and your health.

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