Feel the need for speed? Read this first.
This is a complicated question. The answers (below) may be clear, but it’s the motivation for asking it that gives us pause. If you want your tattoo to heal quickly, you may have plans for activities on the mind that may compromise the process. For instance, this may include travel to a tropical destination that is ripe with powerful UV, humidity, and a variety of other conditions that are non-condusive to healing. That’s just one example of things than can prohibit proper healing and cause a tattoo to fade. So before we answer we ask you to consider the question “what helps a tattoo heal best?” versus faster. The good news, is that the solutions the same.
6 Things That You Can do to Expedite the Healing Process that Will Protect You and Your Tattoo
I. Prepare Your Skin Ahead of Time
If you’re asking today’s question before getting a tattoo we applaud your foresight. There are steps that you can take weeks and even a day before getting tattooed that will ultimately help the skin recover faster. This regime includes moisturizing (externally), hydrating (internally), proper nutrition, and avoiding the sun. View more on how to prepare your skin for a tattoo, which will indeed assist with quick and effective healing.
II. Explicitly Follow Aftercare Instructions
This may sound obvious, but we must reiterate the importance of following exactly what your tattooist tells you when your session has been completed. We must also clarify that you not attempt to exceed their recommendations. While doing so for some action items make sense (i.e. staying out of the sun completely) for others excess is not a good idea. You can absolutely over-clean and/or over-do-it with sunscreen. Follow your tattooist’s instructions exactly as laid out. If you are forgetful by nature, ask your tattooist to write it down (assuming no pamphlet is provided) or enter the added information into your smartphone on your own (while in the studio with the artist) so that it’s always with you. And if you lose the information, call the shop to ask. Do not depend on YouTube videos to walk you through aftercare, as there is a lot of misinformation out there.
Beyond aftercare guidance from the shop’s pros, there is more you can do to support healing. Keep reading.
III. Don’t Lift the Bandage to Check It Out
We know you’re pumped to show off (and check on) the tattoo but don’t lift the bandage for even a second to check it out. Doing so, no matter how briefly, can invite bacteria into the environment and delay healing. If you’ve been advised to wait for 4-hours to remove it, wait until then. If 12-hours, wait 12-hours. You get the idea.
IV. Don’t Reapply Another Bandage or Covering
Once you fully remove your bandage, resist the urge apply another if it feels sensitive or there is some minor bleeding. Your new tattoo needs oxygen to heal, and without the introduction of excess moisture. If exudate (fluid discharge) seems excessive, return to the tattoo shop to inquire before taking action (bandaging) on your own.
V. Don’t Pick At It
Remember when you were a kid, sustained a cut or scrape, and your mom told you not to pick at your scab once the Bandaid came off? Keep her voice ringing in your head. You’d think that most people would know to not pick at their scab, but when it covers a tattoo they get curious, and want to see how the ink looks with the ephemeral cover out of the way. Be patient, and let is come off naturally. Your body knows when to set it free – not your mind.
VI. Avoid Moisturing Products With Unnecessary Additives
Once the scabbing has flaked away (naturally) you will be able to return to a daily (assuming you had one) moisturizing regime. Reevaluate your skincare products in the weeks after receiving a tattoo. Even though the tattoo may look fully healed, the epidermis is still sensitive to outside agents. This will be the case for weeks and even a few months. Choose organic lotions and creams that do not contain artificial scents other ingredients that could cause skin irritation and impact healing.
Remember that tattoos can take weeks and even up to 6-months to fully heal, depending on size and/or complexity. We appreciate your need for speed, and while the above tips will help, think about the long game. Be patient, apply what you’ve learned above, and schedule your next tattoo appointment with an Adrenaline Studios near you.