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Over the last few years I've worked in different tattoo shops, doing different things. I've covered greeting customers, cleaning the shop, making stencils, drawing tattoo designs, all the way to tattooing. Now, I've taken a break from tattooing for a while to learn new things about the industry. I'm taking trips and going to as many tattoo conventions as I can. After I do this, I will go back to tattooing. As for me, I currently have over 10 tattoos and nine piercings. Don't worry, I plan on getting many more.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

So, You've Gotten a Tattoo. Now What?

You finally got up the courage to walk into a tattoo shop, sit down with an artist, and get a tattoo. It's there now, so what do you do to care for it, you wonder.
The artist who put the tattoo on you should have gone over aftercare instructions with you, but if he or she didn't, you can follow these.

-The number one thing you must do is keep the tattoo and the area around it clean. I promise you don't want it to get infected. A tattoo is essentially a wound, and for wounds to heal they must be kept clean.
Wash the area of skin with a mild antibacterial soap. Good choices are Dial or Ivory. You want to do this 3 to 4 times a day, especially in the morning and before you go to bed.

-DO NOT put alcohol or peroxide on your tattoo. Please, trust me on this. I can back up what I'm saying. The reason for no alcohol: alcohol dries out skin, and that's the last thing you want to happen to a fresh tattoo. Peroxide just isn't needed because you're washing it with an antibacterial soap. Using peroxide can irritate the skin and lead to it drying out and becoming very irritated.

-Stay out of the sun. When sun hits a new tattoo it burns and stings like crazy. Once it's healed you can get some sun. The only problem with sun, even on a healed tattoo, is it will make it look faded. A moderate amount of sun won't really fade the tattoo, but as your skin tans the color seems to fade away, even with black and gray tattoos.

-Keep the tattoo moisturized. You'll want to apply unscented lotion or a cream made especially for tattoos about four to five times a day and always after washing it. This will speed up the healing process and keep it looking new. If you use lotion don't slather it on, you want it to absorb properly. Apply just enough to cover the tattoo and to moisturize. Great picks are Eucerin and Lubriderm, unscented.

-NEVER ever pick at the tattoo. It is going to scab and itch, but picking the scabs and scratching it will lead to scarring. Resist the urge to do this.

The healing time is usually anywhere from two to four weeks. Take into consideration how your body heals and your overall health. Some people may heal in three days, others may take two months (hopefully not).

If you follow these steps you'll have no problems. If for some reason you do encounter a problem, please contact the artist who did you're tattoo. Tattoo artists know more about tattoos than doctors, because that's what they do. Doctors do not study tattoos and how to care for them. The artist will be able to tell you what to do if anything should happen.

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