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rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 6/9--Care of new tattoos

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Top Document: rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 6/9--Care of new tattoos
See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
The artist that did your tattoo will have something very definite to say
about the care of your new tattoo, and it is probably a good idea to
listen to him/her. Many shops will have an information sheet listing
care instructions.

The information provided in this section may or may not be the same
method your artist offers. Regardless, there are three things to
remember about caring for your new tattoo:
o Moiturize it
o Don't overmoisturize it
o And whatever you do, Don't pick your onion peel scabs!

Basically, as long as you follow these three points, you will be okay.
However as people get more tattoos, they begin trying out slightly
different methods. I have included several examples, and not all of them
will work on everybody. Some people will find that they are allergic to
some products. For example, I have always had a problem with Noxzema
skin cream, which makes me break out with water-filled pimple-like
things on my skin.

How do you know which method is best for you? It depends on the type of
skin you have, and how sensitive it is. I suggest you try a patch test
on your skin for a week or so to see if you react to the ingredients.

Having said that, I have personally discovered a very nice "new tattoo
kit" that I now use whenever I go to get a tattoo. And the added benefit
was that I discovered this "kit" in a sample size travel set, which I
can easily pack in my travel bag.

The set that I now use is the Johnson's baby product line. The kit
includes baby powder, baby shampoo, diaper rash ointment, baby lotion,
baby bath, and a bonus (in this case, a baby bib). I don't need the baby
bib, and the shampoo is just an added bonus for me. However, this is how
I use the kit, especially when I'm getting the tattoo in another city:

Baby powder: I sprinkle a liberal amount on the hotel bed sheets to
prevent my skin from sticking to the sheet.
Baby bath: A fruity-smelling liquid soap, it's very mild and has minimal
lathering. I pour a bit on my hand, rub into a light lather and wash the
tattoo this way. It rinses off very easily with non-pressurized water,
minimizing the risk of losing scabs.
Baby lotion: The Johnson's brand feels non-greasy. *MY* skin does not
like a layer of oily lotion, and until this, I used to pay lots of money
for oil-free Oil of Olay (is that a contradiction in terms?). Goes on
very lightly but keeps the skin moist.
Diaper rash ointment: Zinc oxide-based, I use this thick, non- greasy
ointment on certain "contact spots" of my tattoo that may rub against
clothes (i.e. bra strap, waist band).

I've found this travel kit selling for $2-$3 (US), and the small sizes
work out just right for a smaller tattoo (no larger than 
8"x8". You *MIGHT* smell like a clean baby, though!

Other people will recommend different ointments and lotions. Some people
swear by Tea Tree Oil (toner) from the Body Shop for its healing
qualities. Others like A&D Ointment (marketed for diaper rash, I find it
somewhat greasy), and the cheapest is probably regular Vaseline
Intensive Care. If you live in a dry area and you're prone to use a lot
of lotion anyway, the last one, in a large pump bottle, may be your best

This section lists treatments to give you an idea of the breadth of
suggestions offered. These have been given "titles" using some unique
facet of the method, and is thus named only for the sake of convenience.
These methods are NOT actually called these. Each set of instructions is
followed by commentary. Special thanks to Lance Bailey
<> for this section.


Ancient Art puts a heap of vaseline on the new tattoo and then bandages
up the whole thing, they give you these instructions:

Tattoo Care Instructions:
 1. Remove bandaid in 18 hrs.
 2. Wash tattoo immediately, with soap and water
    When washing off the tattoo, there should be old ink & some body
    fluids. At this state there is little that can harm the tattoo.
 3. When skin feels like normal wet skin, pat dry.
 4. Put nothing on the tattoo for 3 days.
 5. From the 4th day, apply the *tiniest* amount of lotion possible once
    a day to keep it from drying out completely; gently work it in.
    (Mike suggests a drop for a 1"x4" piece).
 6. Do not get the tattoo wet; moisture is your enemy.
 7. Do not permit sun on tattoo.
 8. Do not get the tattoo wet; moisture is your enemy.
 9. Scabbing may or may not occur. Scabbing is normal. Do not pick scab.
10. Do not get the tattoo wet; moisture is your enemy.

His strongest advice: "MOISTURE IS THE TATTOO'S ENEMY".
On using Vaseline:  Neosporin is Vaseline-based, & doesn't hurt.
On using Neosporin: Not really neccessary, but it doesn't hurt.
Strong warning:  Never let the shower directly hit the tattoo.

This procedure is how I healed the four I got at Ancient Art and they
seem to be the slowest to heal. After 2.5 weeks, they still have scabs.

Lance Bailey says: I used to go to great lengths to keep my tattoos
moist while healing. But now, looking at the ink I healed then, and
other art which is not much older but healed without all the moisture, I
see that the ones where I kept it real moist to prevent any scabs are a
lot fainter--grey where the others are still black. I quite literally
drew a lot of the ink out of the piece. Yes, it is important to keep the
tattoo from drying out, but a scab is part of the normal healing
process, and trying to fool mother nature is risking trouble. Your
mileage will of course vary.


 1. Bandage(*) should stay on for at least two hours.
 2. Remove bandage, rinse gently with cold water and blot dry.
 3. Apply Bacitracin ointment 4 x a day and blot out the excess.
 4. Keep tattoo fresh and open to the air. Do not bandage.
 5. For the first week, avoid swimming or long soaking in the water.
 6. For the first month, avoid too much exposure to the sun.
 7. Do not pick or scratch scabs
 8. Itching is relieved by slapping or alcohol.
 9. Keep tattoo covered with loose clothing.

* Bandaging Summary
 1. After tattooing clean whole area w/ green soap & white paper towel.
 2. Spray it with alcohol and hold a paper towel on it.
 3. apply film of Bacitracin ointment.
 4. Cover with bandage or Handi-Wrap and securely tape it on.

I have yet to try this method, but have seen a few tattoos which have
been bandaged with handi-wrap and they turned out just fine. (Huck
writes that the handi-wrap stops people from peeling off the bandage in
the first few hours to show friends.)


This method is recommended by Suzanne at Creative Tattoo (Ann Arbor,

 1. Remove bandage after 4 - 5 hours.
 2. Wash gently with soap or water.
 3. Do *not* scrub or soak until completely healed (usually a week). 
    Showering, however, is OK.
 4. Usually neccessary to re-bandage.
 5. Keep tattoo OUT OF THE SUN or tanning booths while healing. Once 
    healed, ALWAYS use sunscreen on colors.
 6. We reommend Noxema Medicated Skin Lotion twice a day to aid healing 
    & comfort. DO NOT USE Vaseline, oils, anything greasy, or anything 
    with cortisone. Oils block your skin from contact with air, 
    inhibiting healing
 7. Tattoo "peels" in 4-7 days. Do not pick or scratch!

"Your tattoo was applied with sterile equipment and procedure, and with
non-toxic colors. We guarantee the workmanship. Healing and caring of
your tattoo is YOUR responsibility."

This is how I healed a 3-inch band around my right ankle. While the
healing was more like 2 weeks, I also protected it from the shower with
a bag. For the last few tattoos I noticed that after I stop covering it
in the shower (after about 2 weeks), the tattoo seems to speed up in
healing. I suspect that this might be either timing (it was ready to
heal), or the action of the shower helps to knock of any dead skin thus
promoting better healing. 

I only used a wee bit of Noxzema twice a day, leaving the art "moist and
glistening" but with no "smears of white cream." Am very happy with this
method. The cream really does help the itching and the final result is a
good deep black. 


 1. Remove the bandage and shower that night.
 2. Wash gently with soap or water.
 3. Apply A&D or some such petroleum-jelly-based ointment before
    bed and again the next morning.
 4. Apply lotion the second night and then twice a day for a week.
    Lotions I like are the Vaseline Intensive Care line and Lubriderm.

I've healed lots of tattoos with this basic care regimen.  The only
other caution I have is that I usually wear something to cover the
tattoo the first night. Not necessarily a bandage, but just a T-shirt 
or something like that to keep from sticking to the sheets.

 --==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--==*-< >-*==--

This ends "rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 6/9--Care of new tattoos." This
should be followed by "rec.arts.bodyart: Tattoo FAQ 7/9--General

User Contributions:

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