Three stages of healing after your tattoo

Planning your new ink includes the care your tattoo will need. Learn about the healing stages of tattoos so that you can avoid infection and end up with a great looking tattoo. Actually getting a tattoo is the highlight of the entire inking process, but it's not finished once you walk out of the shop door. In fact, you are at the beginning of the healing process.


Basic stages of tattoo healing

The basic healing process will likely last three to four weeks, and you will need to take extra care with your new body art during this time to make sure it looks its best once the healing has finished. Understanding the healing stages of

 tattoo sunscreen gives you a better idea of ​​what to expect in the days and weeks to come.

Stage one: open wound - up to a week

This initial stage of healing begins right after your tattoo has finished. According to an article on wound healing , repair processes begin immediately after an injury. So even though your new tattoo is still very sensitive, your body is already working to heal the skin. At this point, you can consider the area as an open wound, and you will need to treat it accordingly. Your artist will gently wash the area and bandage it to protect it from bacteria.

Most artists recommend that you keep the area covered for the first twenty hours, although you will likely need to change the bandage because a fresh tattoo usually bleeds and becomes a bit watery. If you allow the bandage to absorb too much fluid, it can end up sticking to your skin, and this is definitely not good for the healing process.

Many people describe a cool tattoo as a feeling similar to a sunburn. The area tends to itch a bit, and may look red and become slightly raised or swollen. Inflammation is a natural part of the healing process. You will start to scab over the area, and you shouldn't try to remove it. Simply hand wash the area gently once or twice a day with a very mild soap , pat dry with a fresh paper towel, and apply a small amount of the moisturizing aftercare lotion your artist recommends.

Although people tend to heal at different rates, the first stage of healing for a tattoo usually lasts between three and seven days, as long as no infection occurs. If you find that the pain is greater than you expected, you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever.

  • If the bandage sticks when you try to remove it, thoroughly moisten the gauze with warm, pre-sterilized water to loosen the blood or dried fluid. Next, gently remove the bandage from the tattoo.
  • Get the most out of your moisturizer by gently patting your freshly washed tattoo dry with a clean towel and letting it air dry for about 10 minutes. This provides a better surface for the aftercare lotion. Follow with a light film of the aftercare moisturizer with the third and fourth fingers of the hand.
  • For a tattoo in a hard-to-reach spot, make sure the friend who will help you cleanse and hydrate your skin washes his hands thoroughly before touching the bandage or applying the aftercare lotion.

Second stage: itching - second week

The second stage of healing usually causes the appearance of itching. In this point:

  • The scabs are well formed and are probably beginning to peel off - a process that will continue for a week.
  • The skin around the tattoo may become a bit dry.
  • Most people experience some type of flaking, just as they would with a sunburn.

Scabs can be thin and whitish or pick up some ink and be the colors of the tattoo. This is normal. So is a light pinkish and tender hue when the scabs start to fall off. Aftercare lotion prevents tender new skin from becoming tight and dry. Treat the area like a healing scratch or cut and you'll minimize discomfort and avoid scarring.

Although different tattoo artists have different aftercare methods, aftercare instructions typically recommend avoiding peeling off peeling skin. Just let it come off naturally, and of course avoid scratching your tattoo. Scratching you can cause damage and ultimately ruin the look of your tattoo by the time the healing is complete. Applying more aftercare lotion to the area should bring some relief.

Cold compresses (applied only to a layer of fabric, not in direct contact with the skin) and antihistamines such as Benadryl can help soothe irritated and itchy tattoos. Expect this healing stage to last about a week as well.

  • Perspiration can irritate a scabbed tattoo, so avoid strenuous and sweaty activity if your tattoo is sensitive.
  • Scratching or peeling off the scabs will remove the color from your tattoo. Think of the premature fading of your fabulous ink when you're tempted to pick at an itchy or messy-looking scab.
  • Sunscreen is your friend. Complete that tattoo with sunscreen if you have to be in the sun. If you make this a permanent practice, even after healing, your tattoo will stay vibrant for a long time.

Third stage: drying - weeks two to four

The third stage brings the final healing of the area. Since healing depends on the size, location, and complexity of the tattoo, as well as the speed of your own body's recovery, the exact timing varies.

If you've followed proper aftercare well, at this point most or all of the scabs will have fallen off your tattoo, although the area may still be slightly dry and slightly tender. You may notice that your ink no longer looks as vibrant as when it was first finished, and this is natural.

There is typically still a layer of dead skin on the tattoo at this point that darkens it a bit, but once that layer naturally falls off you will actually see your new tattoo. If you've managed to avoid infection and scratching, it will probably look great.

  • Continue to hydrate the area and protect it from prolonged sun exposure.
  • Do not clean or sterilize the tattoo area with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. After the scabs come off, the skin is still too sensitive for strong disinfectants, and the tattoo could still be damaged.
  • Better use showers to give the ink time to really set. It could take a month or more for some tattoos to fully heal. Don't risk diluting or blurring the skin art.

Stage Four: Cured at Last - Weeks Three to Six

Your tattoo heals, typically within three to six weeks, when the scabs and rough skin naturally peel or flake off and the new skin feels smooth again. Your skin seems to go back to normal, albeit with the addition of some significant art.

You may be tempted to abandon your protocol for hydration and intensive care of the area, however, the tattoo still needs a delicate treatment. Even if you no longer have an open wound, excessive rubbing, soaking, sun exposure, stretching, or abrasion can re-injure the sensitive area or distort the manicured lines of the artwork.

Things to avoid while your tattoo heals

While your tattoo is healing, you will want to take extra care of your skin, and that means there are a few things to avoid.

  • Don't apply petroleum-based Inkeeze products to your tattoo.
  • Avoid swimming. Chlorine can leach color and dry out the still sensitive skin around your tattoo.
  • Stay out of the bathtub. This can allow bacteria to penetrate needle wounds that have not healed.
  • Avoid exposing your new tattoo to direct sunlight. This can lead to discoloration and could easily burn unhealed skin.
  • Do not touch your scabs or scratch or rub the tattoo.

When to worry

Most tattoos heal without incident if you follow the aftercare protocol. But some symptoms are cause for concern and you should be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary.

The signs that justify you contacting your healthcare provider could be:

  • Redness around the area that lasts beyond a few days
  • Pain or excessive discharge
  • Extreme sensitivity that does not go away

If the tattoo develops swelling, a burning sensation, or any type of rash, or if you develop a fever, you could have an infection that needs to be treated immediately. At the first sign that normal redness is darkening and radiating in streaks coming out of the tattoo site, see a doctor who can check for blood poisoning.

Yellow or green pus that comes out of the site is, in the same way, a sign of serious infection. Some people are allergic to inks, especially red ones, so an abnormal amount of irritation or swelling around one or more colors could indicate an allergy.

Good aftercare results in something fabulous

In general, the healing stages of tattoos span a period of three to four weeks, and special care of your tattoo during this time is essential to preserve the wonderful work that your tattoo artist has created. If you experience any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary, contact your artist immediately. Although he or she is likely not a certified physician, tattoo artists are very familiar with the signs of normal healing and the signs of a budding infection. If your artist believes that you have an infection, you will be given instructions on how to care for the area topically, as well as being advised to visit your family physician if the situation warrants.