The Healing Stages of a Tattoo

Tattoos have become a staple of fashion in today’s entertainment world, and with the new exposure and acceptance of body art in mainstream culture, more and more people are heading to the parlor. But, tattoos are serious business. In order for a “tat” to turn out looking its very best, one has to know the healing stages, and how to care for a tattoo during each.

On the day of receiving your tattoo, you will be instructed by your artist to keep the area covered with a bandage. This will keep the raw wound protected against outside contamination, as well as help with the light bleeding that is likely to occur in the first 24 hours. Just make sure you don’t let too much blood dry on your bandage, and be careful when removing it to ensure the image is unharmed.

During the first week of healing, a healthy tattoo will look a little red. It is common to get a sort of sensation on the area much like a sunburn, and you may even be in a little pain. It is also not uncommon for the tattooed area to swell slightly, appearing a little raised. Take some over the counter pain relievers for the soreness and you should be fine.

During the second week of healing, the tattoo will most likely begin to flake and peel slightly. The area of the tattoo will also feel dry to the touch, and be a little itchy. But, it is absolutely crucial not to scratch and pick at the scabs that may form, as this will ruin the final image. And, leave the dry skin alone too. While it is normal for some colored skin to flake off, removing it yourself can cause damage to the image as well.

During the third week of healing, most of the scabs should disappear and you will be left feeling just a little sore as the final stages of healing commence.

There are a few things to keep in mind to make sure that your tattoo heals properly, and comes out looking the greatest during those first few weeks. Do not put any Vaseline, or alcohol, on your tattoo. Also, do not swim or soak for the first two weeks. Do not let the tattoo become exposed to sunlight and burn. All of these things are important to making sure it looks the way it is supposed to.

To understand the importance of care, one should think about getting a tattoo in the same manner as a minor surgery – a wound that needs healing. Three layers of your skin have been pierced in order to make sure that the ink will remain permanent, much like a cut or incision. With that, the same fears of infection apply without the proper aftercare.

Just like you would with a wound, be careful to make sure the tattoo stays as clean and germ free as possible. This means clothes, and sheets, and everything that touches the tattoo should be clean. Also, make sure you follow the artist’s instructions and vigilantly apply the tattoo aftercare lotion you will be given. This will not only help the healing process, but make it less tempting for you to scratch, the absolute worst thing you can do.

As long as you follow these guidelines, and know what you are in for the first couple of weeks with your new tattoo, it should come out looking beautifully and feeling great.


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