A tattoo is a beautiful piece of body art. When you actually get it done on your body, you feel very special, as it adds a new dimension to your personality. However, after a few days, when you see the colored top layer of the inking scabbing and peeling, you feel upset that it may badly damage the piece of art, though the fact is that it is an integral part of the healing process and does not cause any harm.
Basically, the characteristics of a freshly done tattoo are the same as that of an open wound. For the first three days, the area is sore and tender to touch and occasional bleeding may occur. Usually, the peeling starts three or four days afterwards. Initially, a thin scab is formed when the skin in that area turns dry and it is a normal sign of healing. Soon, the skin starts peeling off. In the second week, the scabbing is accompanied by a constant itching. However, you must control your urge to itch, as it can aggravate the peeling, resulting in lifting of the ink in some areas. If the skin is not moisturized properly, then it dries up further and the scab tends to become thicker, which can cause damage to the tattoo. On the other hand, too much moisturizing can saturate the skin and increase the chances of scabbing. During the inking process, if the artist goes deeper into the skin, even then thick scabbing is likely to occur. Use of alcohol-based skin care products can also increase the chances of excessive scabbing. By the end of third week, the healing process is complete and the scabbing and peeling should stop.
For a new tattoo, proper care is important to ensure its quick healing. Here are a few helpful tips that can minimize scabbing and peeling of tattoos:
- Keep the inked area in a well moisturized condition. For this, you have to apply moisturizer lotion several times a day to keep the skin soft and hydrated. However, excessive moisturizing often promotes scabbing, so it should be avoided.
- Tattoo artists often recommend a specific aftercare lotion or ointment for faster healing. You should not use any other product, like petroleum jelly or over-the-counter lotions, as they may not be of much help. When the wound heals slowly, the chances of scabbing are even more.
- You have to ensure that the tattoo does not get rubbed against any cloth or other surface. While washing the tattoo, do not use washcloth or sponge. Rather, clean it up properly with your hands. It is advisable to air dry or pat dry the tattoo with soft clean towel. During this time, you should wear loose clothes made of natural fabrics to prevent any skin irritation.
- Too much of water exposure is not a good thing for the tattoo, as it can lead to infection in the area, resulting in thicker scabs. Therefore, for the first three weeks, do not let the tattoo soak in water for a long time.
- When peeling has started, do not try to pull off the scabs prematurely. You will feel the urge to do so, but you have to control it, as bigger scabs will form and cause damage to the body art.
The peeling stage is quite different in every individual case. The speed of the healing process depends on a number of factors, including the skin type, location of the tattoo, methods used for inking, etc. Therefore, the best way to prevent scabbing and peeling to a great extent is by following the instructions on tattoo care and advice provided by the artist.