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Tattoo Healing

Tattoo Healing

Planning on getting a tattoo done and wondering what the process of healing involves? This article will tell you all about tattoo healing and what to expect from it.
Rujuta Borkar
Getting a tattoo is half the process, the healing process is the other half that needs to be considered. There are different stages to the healing process. Thinking of getting a tattoo soon and need to know what you're going in for? Read the following sections to understand exactly that.

Stage One

It is during the first stage that you are needed to be most careful. This is because the tattoo is fresh and not yet set in. So, if you do not care for it properly, it might get ruined. Treat your tattoo like a wound, because that is what it is. The tattoo artist has had to ink through 3 layers of skin. There is obvious damage to the skin cells.

Right after the tattoo is inked, the tattoo artist will wash and cover it up with a bandage to keep it protected from external factors like bacteria, sunlight and dust. Make sure that you keep it covered for at least a day. But check on the tattoo often. A new tattoo will run and bleed. So if the bandage gets stuck to the wound, it will cause delay and problems in the healing process.

What to Expect in This Stage
  • A new tattoo will hurt as much as a sunburn would. It will also sting and become red and swollen. This is bound to happen, so there is no need to panic on that account.
  • You will start to form scabs (Just like any other wound would).
  • This stage will usually last for about a week.
  • If there is an infection that has developed, then it will take longer for the tattoo healing.
  • One can take a painkiller for the pain.
  • Be absolutely sure that you do not pick the scab. This will be detrimental to the healing.
  • Make sure that you wash the area of the tattoo, twice or thrice in a day.
  • Use a mild soap for washing. Then pat dry. Make sure you do not rub the area.
  • Apply small amounts of a mild moisturizing lotion on the area.
Stage Two

What to Expect in This Stage
  • This stage will also last for around a week.
  • This stage requires you to be really, really patient and have tremendous self control. That's because the tattoo begins to itch really badly now. For many, it's very difficult to concentrate on anything else because of the itching. Here are a few tattoo care tips.
  • The scab will begin to heal and start to flake and peel off. This will continue for 7-8 days.
  • The skin around the tattoo will become a bit dry as well.
  • Make sure that you do not peel off the skin that is flaking off. Let it take its natural course.
  • Do not scratch your tattoo when the itching sets in, no matter how bad it gets. If you scratch or graze the area around it, there is a possibility that it will interfere in the healing process, along with spoiling the look of the tattoo.
  • Continue to apply the after care moisturizing lotion regularly for relief.
Stage Three

This is the final stage of the tattoo healing process and will last about 2-3 weeks, depending from person to person.

What to Expect in This Stage
  • The scabs will have fallen off completely from your tattoo.
  • The skin around the tattoo will be slightly dry and maybe a little tender to touch. This will get better with each progressing day.
  • You should know that your tattoo will not look as bright and good as it did when it was first etched. This is natural. This happens because the dead layer that is over the tattoo, needs to fall away. Once that happens, the tattoo will look good again.
General Tips
  • Do not expose the tattoo to direct sunlight. This will not only lead to the fading of the tattoo colors, but will also burn the wound.
  • Do not swim till the time your tattoo has completely healed. The chlorine in the water will attack the color and cause irritation to the area around it.
  • Do not soak in a tub. Exposing your unhealed tattoo to stagnant water will increase the risk of bacteria attacking the needle wounds and causing an infection. This will interfere with the tattoo healing process.
  • Never pick on, rub, or scratch the tattoo and/or the skin around it.
  • If you experience any other symptoms or pain other than what has been discussed here, consult your doctor immediately.
If you treat your tattoo right and do the needful for tattoo care, the healing will happen without a hitch. No infections and no delays. And what you'll be left with is the tattoo you've always wanted.