Don't Let Infection, Ink Bleeding or Wrinkling, Sagging Skin Ruin the Look of Your Tattoo
By Dr. Harry Glassman
A lot of time, thought, and money goes into getting a tattoo – selecting a design, choosing an artist, and sitting in the chair. But did you know that the biggest oversight can also be what most significantly affects the life of this investment?
What is this mistake? It’s simple: not taking care of your skin. Many THINK they take the appropriate steps to care for their tattoo, yet forget about the skin that harbors it. Some even use decades-old products like petroleum jelly that are not optimized for tattoo healing or longer term skin health.
Read on to learn more about how you can significantly improve the look of your tattoo over time, including how SkinClinical Extreme Healing Treatment should be part of your after-care plans.
Why Does Skincare Matter For Tattoos?
Your skin is essentially comprised of two layers: an inner layer known as the dermis and an outer layer known as the epidermis. Tattoo needles pierce through the epidermis, passing through the outer layer of the skin and injecting drops of the ink into the dermis with each puncture.
There are two critical phases of after-tattoo care: healing and maintaining.
The visual effect of a tattoo can be severely damaged if it is improperly cared for soon after being applied. Proper care includes taking steps to prevent both infection and scabbing too soon, each of which can result in ink fading. Also, exposure to hot water (especially hot tubs) must be avoided, as colors and lines can rapidly fade due to ink escaping through the freshly wounded skin.
Maintaining the skin where the tattoo is applied is important for a few reasons.
- Ink Fading: over the course of many decades, it is possible that the pigment will get pulled deeper into the dermis, making it less visible on the surface of your skin and changing the overall effect of the tattoo. This can happen for a variety of reasons including inflammation of the dermis resulting from issues such as chronic eczema, psoriasis, and diabetes. Proper skincare with a topical lotion can help mitigate these effects.
- Skin Sagging: as skin ages, it sags and tattoos can lose their visual effects. The key building blocks of the dermis begin to weaken causing skin to become fragile – thinner, dry and less elastic. Therefore, treatments that promote collagen production and improve firmness can be the key to skin tone and tattoo longevity.
Skin should be kept moisturized and protected from the sun, but a tattoo’s color and shape are best maintained when irritating skin conditions are treated and skin tone is maintained. Therefore, one should look for a lotion that goes beyond moisturization to improve moisture retention, and skin resilience and elasticity.
How Should I Care for My Tattoo and What Should I Look for in a Product?
The following is a recommended care routine for a tattoo. Always consult your tattoo artist for your specific care instructions.
Tattoo Healing Routine
When your tattoo is healing, it is very important that you NOT use any ointment with petroleum. Products with petroleum are too heavy and will clog the pores, causing breakouts on the tattoo. They also draw ink from the tattoo to the surface of the skin, causing the tattoo to fade before it’s even fully healed.
- Wrap your tattoo in a bandage. Leave the bandage on for 2-4 hours.
- Carefully remove the bandage. Once removed, clean it with cold water and anti-bacterial soap for 5 minutes. Use your hands to gently rub the tattoo, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink. This will help to prevent the tattoo from scabbing too soon. Do not use a washcloth, loofah, or any type of sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may harbor bacteria and bruise the tattoo.
- If it feels and looks like there is still plasma, continue cleaning it with water and anti-bacterial soap until you can no longer feel and see the plasma (it is visible as the shiny part of the tattoo).
- Let the tattoo air-dry.
- After 48-hours, apply unscented, white lotion such as SkinClinical Extreme Healing. Extreme Healing is an ideal topical for this purpose because it contains an active ingredient, SBD-4, which was clinically proven to accelerate the healing process by increasing circulation, improving hydration and protecting and repairing the skin barrier. Faster healing is important because it shortens the inflammatory phase and minimizes the likelihood of infection. Other commonly used unscented white lotions are simply emollients that stay on the surface and are not actively involved in the healing process – they simply “feel good” whereas Extreme Healing is actually “doing good.” You should continue applying the lotion after each time you wash the tattoo for about 3 to 5 days, or until the tattoo starts to peel.
- Continue to wash and moisturize your tattoo 3 to 5 times a day until it is fully healed.
Daily Tattoo Maintenance Routine
Once a tattoo has healed, taking 30 seconds each day to practice proper care can go a long way towards preserving the color and visual effect of your tattoo.
Apply a topical which can help maintain skin strength and elasticity to combat sagging. SkinClinical Extreme Healing boosts collagen formation to help skin appear more toned and firm.
In a consumer perception study, 90% of participants said SkinClinical improved skin’s firmness within 24 hours of use.
After applying a toning topical, apply SPF 50+ to prevent color fading. If your tattoo will face strong sun exposure throughout the day, reapply SPF according to the package instructions.
Protect Your Investment
Depending on its size, a tattoo can cost several hundreds or even thousands of dollars. With proper skincare, you can successfully protect your investment and avoid irreparable damage.
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