Are you planning to get a stylish tattoo? Yes, you are on the right path to make yourself look attractive, but getting a tattoo is not enough. You have to take proper care of your newly made tattoo until it is healed fully. The healing procedure of a tattoo goes through four stages. However, the recovery time of your tattoo also depends on its size, location and your regular habits.
Recovery Time Of A Tattoo
Once you get a tattoo, it will take around 2 to 3 weeks for the external layer of the skin to heal. Though you may think that the healing is complete, the skin under your tattoo needs almost 6 months to heal entirely. If the size of your tattoo is bigger, then it will take more time to heal. Also, your careless attitude and regular habits may delay the healing process.
Stages Of Tattoo Healing
As stated previously, the recovery of a tattoo has four stages and each stage requires a different type of care.
- Week 1: Starting from day 1, the first phase lasts up to the 6th day. For the initial few hours, your tattoo will remain bandaged. Then, it will be kept as an open injury. Your body will begin reacting to the wound as you may experience oozing, redness, burning sensation or swelling.
- Week 2: During this phase, flaking and itching may occur to your tattooed skin. You don’t need to worry about your flaky skin. Although your tattoo may appear to be fading out, it is actually unaffected. Don’t end up scratching your skin. You can also use a moisturizer suggested by a dermatologist or a tattoo artist to maintain the hydration level of your tattooed area and reduce the itchiness.
- Week 3 and 4: By this time, the itchiness will decrease and the wound of your tattoo will become dry. In case the redness and itchiness do not go away, it can signify an infection in your tattooed skin. As a dry skin layer is built over your tattoo, it may look a bit faded. However, the exfoliation will happen naturally and your tattoo will gain its vibrant appearance. Don’t try to scratch or else your tattoo will be scarred.
- Months 2 To 6: After reaching this stage, your tattoo will not have redness and itching. Your tattoo will appear to be completely recovered. However, it is advisable to keep on taking care of your tattooed area. Long term care can protect your tattoed skin from infection and scarring.
Steps To Heal Your Tattoo Fast
Who does not want to heal his or her tattoo fast? However, it requires adequate time and proper care for the complete healing of a tattoo. Some simple steps that can speed up the healing process of a tattoo include –
- Apply Sunscreen: Exposure to harsh sunlight can make your tattoo fade. If you have got a new tattoo, then sunlight may cause more damage. It is best to apply high SPF sunscreen on your tattooed skin or wear long-sleeve cotton clothes or pants to cover the area.
- Clean Your Tattoo Regularly: Don’t use hot water to clean your tattoo because it may injure your skin. Also, the pores may get opened due to hot water and the ink can go inside your skin. Therefore, every day, you should use lukewarm water to clean your tattoo up to two or three times. Before beginning the procedure, you must wash your hands with antibacterial soap to ensure that they are completely cleaned. After that, apply the sterile water and fragrance and alcohol-free soap on your tattoo. You can dry the tattoo in the air or use a clean napkin or cotton towel to dry it.
- Don’t Use Fragrant Products: Avoiding fragrant soap and moisturizer on your tattoo is an important step to quicken the healing procedure. Based on the placement of your tattoo, you should also start using the scent-free body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Fragrant products can have a reaction while coming into contact with the tattoo ink.
- Try To Avoid Your Tattoo Getting Wet: Apart from the little amount of lukewarm water for cleaning the tattoo, you should not get the tattoo wet while taking a bath or shower. Also, avoid swimming for the initial two weeks.
- Re-bandaging Must Be Avoided: Air is required to heal your tattoo quickly. Generally, the tattoo artist bandages your tattoo in a surgical cover or clear plastic. So, after removing the initial bandage, you should not rebandage it. Covering the tattoo may lead to over moisture and deficiency of oxygen. Therefore, your tattoo will take more time to heal if you keep it wrapped up with a bandage.
- Use The Correct Ointment: As mentioned earlier that air is an essential element to heal your tattoo. Therefore, heavy ointments such as Vaseline should not be used unless your tattoo artist suggests it. During the initial days of your tattoo, your tattoo artist will recommend products like petroleum, lanolin, vitamins D and A. A few days later, you can apply light products such as virgin coconut oil or scent-free moisturizer.
- Avoid Scratching Or Picking: There is no need to worry about scabbing. It is an unavoidable part of your tattoo healing process. However, if you scratch the scab or pick it, then the tattoo healing process might get delayed. The scab naturally falls off your skin after it dries up. So, you should give enough time to the tattoo for getting healed. Scratching or picking may cause scars or disruption in your tattoo.
- Apply The Ointment In Right Quantities: Applying too much ointment on your tattooed skin will not heal it quickly. So, you should use the right amount of ointment, just to give a thin coating on your tattoo.
Symptoms Of An Unhealed Or Infected Tattoo
Sometimes, your tattoo may become infected or take more than usual time to heal. Some of the most common symptoms that imply an infected or unhealed tattoo include-
- Light Fever: If your tattoo is infected, then you may suffer from fever. So, you should immediately consult a physician to get treatment.
- Redness: Usually, the redness of your tattoo persists during the initial days. However, if the redness does decrease over time, then it indicates that your tattoo is not healing properly.
- Oozing Fluid: It is necessary to consult a doctor if your tattoo is still oozing fluid even after 2-3 days. Oozing fluid indicates an infected tattoo.
- Excessive Itching: If your tattoo is excessively itchy, then it signifies that the tattoo ink is allergic for your body. Usually, the allergic reaction starts occurring immediately whereas sometimes, it can happen after several years.
- Scarred Tattoo: Scabbing is a normal sign for a tattoo wound but a scarred tattoo implies that your tattooed area has not healed completely. Scarring usually includes puffed skin, prolonged redness and distinction in the tattoo colour.
Though the outer layer of your tattoo will be recovered within 2 to 3 days, it can take up to 6 months for complete healing of a tattoo. The aftercare process which includes regular cleaning, applying an ointment and sunscreen must go on for 6 months to lessen the risk of further complications and infection in your tattooed skin.