Thursday, 12 April 2018

Tattoo Healing

Whenever I get a new tattoo I'm always fascinated with the healing process, bodies are pretty magic and so are tattoos so I thought I'd do some sort of healing diary on here.
I just want to start with pointing out that every tattoo based situation is different, even every tattoo on one person will be different, and I'm not saying this is what anyone else should do. There are so many variables (black, colour, body part, artist, how your body reacts, lifestyle while healing, etc.) and there is no one way to heal a tattoo. A good tattoo artist will be as interested in the healing process as everything else and will know what to suggest when it comes to work they have done so it's best to listen to them even if you've had different advice from other people before (and if they don't seem bothered about the healing process maybe don't work with them again...).
And remember that even though tattoos are magic and awesome they also aren't, it's basically just a wound. Keep it clean, don't pick it, don't cover it with crap your body will just try to weep back out again anyway, use your common sense :)

Day 0, tattooing day: My artist (thanks Will ^_^ ) wrapped up my arm and when I got home I took some ibuprofen to calm down the swelling. Before bed I washed my hands, took off the cling film and using the shower head, warm not hot, rinsed most of the gunk off my arm. Using anti-bacterial liquid hand soap I foam up my hands and rub all over the tattoo with the flat of my hand then go back over with the pads of my fingers in little circle movements to make sure it's properly clean. Rinse really well, any soap left will irritate it, pat dry and wrap in clean cling film.

Day 1: In the morning I washed it same as last night while I was in the shower then wrapped it up for the day. I washed and wrapped it again before bed.

Day 2: Same as yesterday but before putting the new cling film on I put a small amount of acriflex on the tattoo. I wait for the tattoo to stop weeping before I put anything on it and tbh I don't feel like it needs anything yet but acriflex is anti-septic so it's an added precaution if any germs have got in there.

Will likes acriflex because it's antiseptic and will also help when the tattoo gets really dry but it isn't a moisturiser so it's not going to get it all claggy and gross. I think bepanthen is a pretty classic suggestion because it can help as a barrier against rubbing clothes but people often use too much of it and it just makes your immune system angry which equals more weeping. I've found the best thing is to just let the tattoo dry out, not so much that it cracks but enough that it gets on with healing without just constantly making new scab. For my tattoo the cling film protects from any rubbing anyway, I also work from home so even if the cling film wasn't there it's easy for me to keep clothes away from it. People also seem pretty keen on moisturising fresh tattoos but the idea of putting moisturiser on open skin makes me cringe. Each to their own.

Day 3: No cling film today but I still washed and put on acriflex in the morning and before bed.

Day 4: The peeling has begun!! I normally heal anything really slowly so wasn't expecting it to start peeling yet. I love seeing the little bits of new skin now with added tattoo peeking through ^_^
I only washed it in the morning today.

Day 5: For the next 2 days I kept washing it each day in the shower and put a little acriflex on each time and it just all peeled super fast.

Here it is all peeled, it's obviously still new skin and needs to settle in a lot but its done healing in terms of actual wound, now it's just shiny new skin. Now that all the peeling is done I moisturise it with a colour and fragrance free moisturiser when I moisturise the rest of me in the morning and during the day if it feels a bit dry.

When I started this post I thought I'd get a lot of gross peely pictures but it heeled so much faster than I was expecting and didn't even have an awful itchy phase. Good job arm. Maybe I'll get some good photos next time (=⌒▽⌒=)

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