This one goes without saying…
Last month, we told you it’s a great idea to get a tattoo in the wintertime, given the fact that you’re bundled up and protecting your fresh ink from the elements (UV, saltwater, etc.). However, that doesn’t mean you can go willy nilly (#thingsmomssay) as the season does come with some unique activities and thus precautions that need to be taken to protect your body art. With the December solstice just days away we’re here with some advice on what not to do so that you give your tattoo the best possible opportunity to heal.
4 Winter Activities That May Keep Your New Tattoo From Healing Fast
1. High Impact Winter Sports
Here in Canada there’s a good chance that you plan on hitting the snow, slopes, and ice during the winter. Skiing, snowboarding, and ice hockey are all awesome ways to enjoy the season while burning off those holiday calories but if you’ve just gotten a tattoo you will want to give yourself a little time before partaking in either. While everyones’ capacity to heal varies, wait about 3 weeks and follow our guide to snowboarding after getting a tattoo which offers tips that directly apply to all high impact winter sports.
2. Winter Spirits
A recent study reported by our local Global News tells us all something we already know – living in a cold climate makes you more likely to drink. Yes indeed, we’re more likely to step into a cozy bar or sit by the fire (real or Netflix version) at home during the winter and enjoy a few glasses of our favorite libations. Factor in the holidays and that number grows. Assuming you know your limit all of this wine and brandy is fine and dandy unless you’ve just gotten a new tattoo. Then, you need to think twice before raising a glass. That’s because alcohol has a direct impact on the ability to heal.
For approximately 48 hours (or longer for some) a tattoo can be affected by blood thinning caused by alcohol consumption. This causes the tattoo to excrete excess fluids and limit the skin’s ability to scab which then delays in the healing process while increasing the risk of infection. Alcohol consumption can also impact your ability to sleep, which is absolutely necessary to the recovery process. In addition, alcohol has a dehydrating effect which is also bad for the body when it comes to healing. Lastly, the impaired judgement that comes with a “few too many” will have you partaking in other activities (walking into walls, getting into fights, bumping nasties, etc.) that may lead to abrasion on the epidermis of concern.
3. Tanning Beds
Many people head for tanning salon in lieu of natural sunlight which is nary to be found in the winter. Don’t mistake artificial UV as being a safe alternative when it comes to your tattoo. The ultraviolet rays of a tanning bed can be even more powerful given that you’re laying motionless and directly in their path, and they will drain the pigment from your fresh ink. If you must tan, cover up the tattoo with a UV protectant piece of clothing because sunblock may contain chemicals that may aggravate healing. Sure, you’ll have a wacky looking tan line for a few weeks but that’s better than a ruined tattoo.
4. Removing the Protective Wrapping Too Soon for Comfort
The protective wrapping provided by your tattooist isn’t too bothersome in the spring or summer when you’re wearing light and loose fitting clothing. However, for some of you bundled up for the cold that wrapping may cause discomfort. Resist the urge to remove it before the appropriate amount of time has passed, even if you plan on going home to the warmth immediately after getting the tattoo done. The wrap is there to keep bacteria and airborne particles at bay so follow the explicit advice of your tattooist. If they tell you three hours, it’s three hours. If ten, then ten. On the flip side, don’t leave it on for longer than stated either. Simply put, follow the exact aftercare instructions, even if you have to run home amidst winter holiday activities to do so.
If you have any additional questions about what you can and can’t do after getting a tattoo you can contact us anytime, or simply schedule your appointment and talk about it with your artist while getting inked.