Tattooing - Improving the healing process
Before getting a tattoo it is good to be prepared. Skin care starts right after getting the tattoo, using a healing ointment or cream that helps protect and moisturize the skin over the weeks that follow.
Complications are rare, but any tattoo is a wound that requires care during healing.
1. Wash the tattoo twice a day
For the first two or three weeks, you need to wash the site with warm water and mild soap twice a day. If you do heavy physical activity or work in a dirty environment, increase the number of times you washdia:
- Wash the tattoo after waking up and before going to bed. You can wash it in the shower if it is more convenient for you.
- Follow the same steps as the first wash. Wash your hands first, massage the area gently using only soap, water and your fingers. Then pat the skin dry with a clean paper towel or kitchen towel.
2. Apply lotion or ointment whenever the skin feels dry
If the tattoo site starts to feel itchy or very dry, apply a thin layer of moisturiser. Even without the dry feeling, you need to apply the product at least two to three times a day. Continue this routine for the first three weeks after tattooing.
3. Avoid scratching the skin or pulling the scabs off
A day or two later, you will notice scabs or flaking of the skin at the site, which often causes itching. Ignore these symptoms, as you should not scratch the skin while the tattoo is healing:
- If you feel an uncontrollable itch, try giving the spot a light, firm touch with your open hand, as if you were going to kill a mosquito. This way, you can relieve the sensation a little without scratching.
- If you scrape off the scabs, the sores can bleed and become infected. In addition, ink can also come out. Similarly, scratching the peeling skin can cause the tattoo to peter out.
4. Reduce sun exposure while the tattoo is healing
The ideal is to protect all tattoos from excessive exposure to the sun so that they do not fade, especially if they are new. Use loose-fitting clothing to cover the area whenever you go out or apply a non-scented, hypoallergenic or even mineral sunscreen with at least SPF 50 if you can't cover the area.
- Even with clothing and sun block, avoid staying in the sun for too long. The best way to prevent the new tattoo from drying out and peeling is to reduce contact with the sun until the scabs disappear and the skin stops flaking.
5. Decrease contact with water until healing is complete
A quick shower a day of no more than 15 minutes is acceptable, but avoid excessive water contact. Don't even think about going into swimming pools, hot tubs and avoid long baths until all scabs have healed and the skin has fully recovered:
- Prolonged contact with water softens the skin and the ink may come off or flake off.
- Avoid swimming pools, the sea, baths and saunas. Chlorinated water and salt water are terrible for tattooing.
6. Watch for signs of infection
Infections are rare if tattoo care is adequate, but can still occur. If you suspect the area has become infected, see a doctor immediately. Some signs are:
- Persistent redness, pain and swelling of the skin.
- Sores with thick yellowish or white discharge.
- Muscle aches.
- Red, hardened lumps.
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Mild antibacterial soap.
- Clean paper towel
- Ointment, lotion or moisturizer.
- Loose clothing
- Sun cream.
Ana Margarida Neto
(Pharmaceutical - Biotifar Pharmacy)
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