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Tattoo Healing Time

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by NJL, Apr 6, 2006.


  1. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    I have seen so much info on the web that doesn't really add up... for all you ink masters, what did you follow to have your tattoo heal properly? What did you use, how and for how long? Were you able to work out? Will sweat mess up my tattoo if it's not healed all the way? When did you switch to just skin lotion? Am I asking too many questions?

    :D

    Thanks, guy!

    :)
     
  2. MAJOR METAL

    MAJOR METAL The Beagle Father Supporting Member

    I usually go the A&D route for 4-5 days after the tattoo and then a lotion like jergens non sented for 3-4 days. Dont let a fresh tattoo dry out and not to much sun and no cholrine.
     
  3. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    The A and D that you use.. is it the "original" version found in the diaper section?

    Do you think that sweat will mess anything up? :( I really need to start working out again...
     
  4. I do not have any tattoos but my wife has more than your average bear and my best buddy is a tattoo artist. The best way to let them heal properly is wash lightly with soap and water but do not soak and do not scrub with a wash cloth, use your fingers. Let it air dry, use a thin layer of skin lotion or A & D after bathing for about a week. Do not let tight clothing like a waistband or something that’s constricting come in contact until fully healed. And the biggest one is do not pick at it or scratch it as much as you may want to. I do not think sweat will affect it as long as its not drenched for long periods of time. Long exposure to the sun is also bad.
     
  5. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    As a former tattoo artist, and collector myself, Id be glad to share.

    1st - Your tattoo artist should put Vitamin A&D on the fresh tattoo, rub it in really well, and cover the piece with plastic wrap. Some people use paper towels or other bandages. I prefer the plastic as it will not stick to the blood, and keeps the tattoo moist.

    This plastic wrap should come off in about 1-2 hours. You should then wash the area with just water and antibacterial soap. You will want to scrub as well as you can with just your hand. Do not use a washcloth unless your very gentle. Id stick to just your hands. This initial washing, you will get this film of goo that comes off, along with a fair amount of ink - dont sweat it. This is a combination of A&D, puss, and ink. NEVER USE VASOLINE (doesnt breath) OR NEOSPORIN (pulls ink right out of your skin). And yes, good ole A&D from the diaper section.

    Once the area is clean (and I mean clean, no soap residue, no leftever A&D slime ect), you can apply a small amount of A&D ointment. You need to rub in the ointment until it is GONE. If your tattoo is shiney, you didnt rub it in well enough. Do not apply any bandages or plastic again, leave it open.

    You should clean and re-apply ointment every 6 hours or so, or anytime you get sweaty or dirty. Basically treat it like an open wound, thats what it is. Your tattoo will start to peel after a few days, like a sunburn. Avoid temptation to peel off this dead skin and let it come off on its own. Be especially carefull when washing to not help it along anymore than necessary. Pulling the skin could pull lose living skin, and cause scaring or ink loss. If your tattoo scabs, your artist likely went too deep on you, or you did not take proper care of it. Do not pull the scabs off if it does happen, you will lose all the ink as well.

    After about 5-7 days, depending on location, size, ect, your Tattoo will be healed. You will want to avoid submerging yourself in water, especially hot tubs during the healing process. Hot tubs can suck a fresh tattoo right out of you.
     
  6. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    You guys are great!

    :)
     

  7. That A and D will work! My wife works a hot sweaty job with lots of physical activity with no problems.
     
  8. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Oh and like Major Metal said, after about 5-7 days is when I switch to unscented, un-dyed lotion. I just apply a little bit anytime it looks dry, and rub it all the way in.
     
  9. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Guys, what about when it starts to itch (i'm proud I haven't scratched at all)? Does the itching mean it's starting to get dry? Right now the itching isn't bad, but I can see it probably getting more itchy.
     
  10. That just means it healing. when the skin seems dry apply A and D.
     
  11. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Ya, it iches because its healing. I normally just use the palm of my hand and kind rub it lightly, or slap it a bit to make the itching settle down. Obviously I wouldnt slap in the first few days lol.
     
  12. DDXdesign

    DDXdesign formerly 'jammadave' Supporting Member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Wash DC metro area
    I too am a former tattoo artist, and a collector!

    I love the fact that you mentioned these two culprits by name - bad news for new 'toos, indeed.

    I agree with everything Juneau has said here, but with a personal warning. I don't know about anybody else, but *I* am highly allergic, or something of the sort, to A&D myself. How I found out? One quarter-sleeve absolutely COVERED with a hundred or more of the most painful zits I've ever had, for a good two weeks. No more A&D for me, thanks.

    That said, I generally *did* use Bacitracin ointment (one of the ingredients in Neosporin) for just the one application right after the tat was applied, then told my clients to switch to an unscented lotion after they removed the bandage in a couple hours and washed gently. We also used the sterile nonstick bandages if it wasn't too large a piece - but other than those little personal diffs, I'm with Juneau 100%.
     
  13. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    :D

    Yeah, I'm lucky that the A and D isn't causing an allergic reaction to my skin.... it is making me smell like I'm treating a rash under my Depends, though..

    :D :D :D
     
  14. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    There is another alternative to A&D called Tattoo Goo. Those with alergic reactions to A&D can usually get away with using the Tattoo Goo. One sidenote though about that, is that it works much better when warm. When its cold, it becomes kinda hard, and hard to apply. Leaving it in your pocket will keep it soft enough that it doesnt hurt so much applying it and easier to rub it all in. This actually goes for A&D as well. Keeping it in your pocket, your body heat will keep it soft. Tattoo Goo comes in a tin much like Altoids Sours hehe, and also in a tube.

    http://tattoogoo.com/

    As for non-stick bandages, they work great, but the other reason I prefer plastic wrap is people wont have to remove the bandage to show it off to their friends. Without fail, as soon as you apply an opaque bandage, one of their friends will come and say "let me see!" lol.

    One other small thing, if your tattoo starts to appear hazy, your likely not rubbing in the ointment well enough and its too moist. This is just as bad as too dry. Think of the A&D, or whatever you use as lotion. You dont want lotion slime all over you, you rub it in till its gone, same thing here.
     
  15. I use savlon, it works well and is antiseptic (bit plus!, dont want that big open wound getting an anerobic infection now!)
    Ive heard of tattoo goo, but been told it isnt all that good

    And yeah, plastic wrap always goes over, except with my leg, where they put some cream on it, then kitchen roll like stuff, then the plastic, just cus i was being a bit of a bleeder ;)

    Mine usually take 2 weeks to totally heal, IIRC, maybe only 1, i cant remember exactly :S
     
  16. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    I've used the Tattoo Goo myself, and it works well, but I prefer the A&D (easier to apply - usually faster healing times). I just mention it due to Jammadave's post about alergic reactions to A&D.

    I have about 35 hours of chair time (so far), so I've had a fair share of experience with healing hehe.

    P.S. do yourself a favor, and don't drink before you get a tattoo. Its ok to drink a few hours after, but not before, during, or immediately after. Less of course you like to bleed and want to come back in a few months and have it touched up cause you bleed all the ink out of it hehe.

    Also, if your new to the tattoo world, selecting your artist and shop is a huge deal. A shop should look clean, and more importantly SMELL clean. Same with your artist. Tattoo artists are typically a little rough around the edges, but if your artist doesnt look clean or smell clean, I wouldnt let them stick needles into you. Make sure the place is licensed by the state, and ask to see an artists portfolio. All new artists will lie about their experience to set you at ease. This is not necessarily a bad thing, everyone has to start somewhere, but no artist will ever tell you they have been tattooing less than 2 years, reguardless of actual experience. A portfolio will tell you a lot more about the artists abilities and experience. Look out for all fresh pics too. If there arent any pics of the work after its healled, thats not a good sign. Usually a trusted artist will be revisted by their clients to show off their work after healling. If they have no pics of that, then its possible the people went elsewhere when they had a problem.

    Also make sure of their sterilization methods. Tubes, grips, needlebars, should all be opened from a sealed, and dated sterilization pouch. Dont trust the artist or shops word for it, ask to see the equiptment they are opening, and check the bags. Most sterilization bags have a water mark or the like that will change colors when heated to proper temp. And check the dates to make sure they have not been re-used, or just sealed in a new container and not properly sterilized. Contrary to popular belief, only the needles themselves do not get re-used. Tubes (that the needles travel through), grips (attached to the tubes), and needlebars (the bar that needles are soldered onto) are all re-used materials and should all be properly sterilized between uses. Most artists make their own needles. That is they buy new needles, and have a jig that sets the needles into proper configurations so they may be soldered to the needle bar. This is not a concern and is common practice.
     
  17. Don W

    Don W

    Jan 30, 2004
    East Bay, CA.
    I had the exact same problem with my first tattoo, I had a bad reaction to the ointment and my leg broke out really bad.

    Thanks for showing me an alternative, I'm looking to get tattooed within the next month and I was looking for a different treatment.
     
  18. Yeah, i know about that thinning of the blood, but sometimes it cant be helped (ie i dont know why i was bleeding so much, i dont drink etc etc)

    And +1 for making sure your artist is clean aswell as being good, thats one of the reasons i use Tribe tattoo over here, cus they are OTT with cleaning everything and making sure everything is sterile etc, which is ace :)
     
  19. Juneau

    Juneau

    Jul 15, 2004
    Dallas, TX.
    Oh the drinking comment wasnt directed at you, it just reminded me of warning others hehe. Some people bleed more than others in general or in certain locations, and there are dozens of substances that can cause the blood to thin that you might not think of besides alcohol. Just something to consider :)
     
  20. NJL

    NJL

    Apr 12, 2002
    San Antonio
    Wow, this thread came out way better than I expected!!!

    :)
     

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