A tattoo is an exciting piece of body art. Effective care starts immediately following the tattoo application.
After applying a tattoo, the artist will bandage the area. This bandage should stay on the skin for 2-12 hours after the tattoo. Without a bandage, dirt and bacteria can get into the tattoo, creating an infection. Any infection may damage the tattoo.
Karen Hudson, Tattoo Guide notes that the bandage should only be removed before this time if the artist has used Saran wrap or another form of plastic covering. This will keep the skin from breathing and may hurt the healing process.
Removing the Bandage From the Tattooed Area
After 2-12 hours, the bandage may be removed. First, hands should be washed using anti-bacterial soap, and dried thoroughly. Then, the bandage can be pulled away from the skin slowly. If the bandage sticks, use warm water to help take it off.
Once the bandage has been removed, wash the area with soap and water. Do not use a washcloth, as this may leave cloth particles which can cause an infection. Rinse the area using cold water, and pat dry with a towel.
Tattoo Goo and Tattoo Aftercare Products
Tattoo Goo produces a line of products which are designed to promote healing. Other producers of aftercare salves, creams, and ointments include A&D Lotion, H2Ocean, and Ink Fixx.
Tattoo Goo recommends that their salve be applied 2-3 times a day, for 4-7 days following the removal of the bandage. The salve should be applied in a circular motion.
A “color guard” lotion is also recommended, in order to help prevent fading. Healing times will vary from person to person.
Hypoallergenic products are preferred, because an allergic reaction can leave spots in the tattoo. Neosporin has been known to create an allergic reaction for some users.
What Not to Do After a Tattoo
- Do not re-bandage the tattoo.
- Do not use petroleum based products, such as Vaseline.
- Do not apply alcohol to the tattoo, as this can irritate the skin.
- Do not rub, scratch, or pick at the tattoo.
- Wear clean and soft clothing.
- Avoid sunlight or tanning until the tattoo has fully healed.
- Avoid swimming for at least two weeks, and bathing. Showering is OK, without soaking the area.
Preventing Tattoo Fade
As recommended by Jody Morse, to avoid tattoo fading, the tattoo should be washed every day with soap and water. Sunscreen which is SPF 30 or higher can help to protect against UV damage from the sun. Moisturizer should be used, but not a facial scrub.
Through effective aftercare and regular cleaning, a tattoo can heal and keep a strong image for several years.
If your tattoo artist refuses to ink you up with that amazing self-designed chest-to-face tattoo that you’ve dreamed of for so long, he’s not out to be mean. Tattoo artists have your best interest at heart.
Body Parts Tattoo Artists Will Avoid
Faces, necks, hands, and feet are the main parts of the body that some tattoo artists will avoid tattooing for ethical reasons.
Mike Warawa, a tattoo artist at Edmonton’s Raptor Tattoo Studio, usually avoids tattooing these areas unless he is certain his customers are making a well-informed decision that his customers are made aware of the high possibility that the ink may fade quickly, and that these parts of the body will take longer to heal.
Warawa says he will turn customers away if he feels they are making a poor decision on their choice of tattoo and its bodily position. Though he says there is the rare occasion where he will tattoo these areas.
“We have had people that put tattoos on their forehead,” said Warawa. “They were adamant and they knew what they were doing, so we went ahead and did it. But it’s rare. Very, very rare.”
Tattoo artist, Miles Kanne, of Edmonton’s Lucky Strike Tattoo Studio, says his studio avoids tattooing the hands and neck to avoid limiting their customer’s future chances of employment. Though Kanne says he personally avoids tattooing faces.
“It’s just one of those things. Tattoos on faces, I will not do,” said Kanne. “If someone wanted to get their head tattooed, you can grow hair over that, so it’s fine. But the face is pretty prominent, so I won’t do it in general.”
Specific Tattoos That Artists Will Avoid
Many artists, including Warawa and Kanne will refuse to tattoo any design on a person that can be discriminatory, such as gang tattoos, and hateful words and images, such as Nazi symbols, for obvious reasons.
Warawa says tattooing names is another big area he will avoid.
“We turn people away if they’re trying to get a tattoo of their boyfriend or girlfriend’s name, simply because it’s just not a good idea,” said Warawa. “It actually kinda puts a hex on the relationship.”
Your tattoo artist may avoid tattooing certain body parts due to low-quality issues. Your hands and feet tend to be the high-traffic areas of your body, so the ink tends to fade the quickest and you may need frequent touch-ups.
Kanne says he avoids tattooing the hands and feet for exactly that reason.
“We guarantee our work, so if I know something won’t look good or I’ll have to touch it up a million times, I just won’t do it,” said Kanne.
Your Tattoo Artist, Your Friend
Ultimately, the fate of your tattoo lays in the hands of your artist.
“Sometimes people have ideas that they think are just amazing, but won’t transfer well into a tattoo,” said Kanne. “Then again sometimes people have ridiculous ideas that I know I can make look good, so it’s really a judgment call.”
Each tattoo artist does reserve the right to refuse clientele if they truly believe you are making a bad tattoo choice. But Warawa says every customer is different, and every case should be dealt with accordingly.
“You need to just go by each individual situation and make a judgment on each one.”
Your tattoo artist is your friend, not your enemy. If he or she is refusing to tattoo you, there’s a good reason for it.