Sure, getting your ink is going to be the highlight of the entire tattoo journey. But make no mistake, that’s only the beginning – you’ve got pay special attention during the healing process to ensure your new piece stays healthy and lasts a long time.
Stage 1 begins as soon as the tattoo is done. Carlos says to treat the tattoo like an open wound, and care for it accordingly. Your artist is going to clean it and bandage it with clean film to protect the tattoo from bacteria. You’re going to have to change your bandage a couple times a day, as tattoos “bleed” and “weep” – meaning they will seep some of the ink – and bandages can get stuck to your skin.
Stage 2 – be advised that your tattoo is going to be red, a bit swollen, itchy, and will sting like a sunburn. All of this is normal and healthy – as it scabs and flakes, don’t pick or scratch at the tattoo. Keep it moisturized and hydrated with a tattoo balm from a company like Sorry Mom.
Stage 3 – the scabs are falling away, and the ink might look a little less vibrant. Don’t stress, there’s just another layer of skin that needs to peel. Underneath, your tattoo is still looking good and will show itself soon enough.
A couple pro tips from Carlos – during the healing stages, avoid swimming in the pool or ocean: this can damage the color and affect your skin. Also skip soaking in the tub and direct sunlight, which can fade your tattoo and lead to a little added burning.