The initial healing period for a tattoo is 2-3 weeks. That’s 2-3 weeks for the outer layers of skin to heal and during this time most people will keep up their tattoo aftercare.
Yet the skin below a tattoo may take 6 months or more to heal properly. And continuing to care for a new tattoo after the initial 2-3 week healing cycle can greatly enhance it’s color and longevity.
During that first 2-3 week healing cycle if you forget to put cream on your new tattoo or don’t keep it clean, dry and out of bright sunlight you’ll get near instant feedback. It’ll begin to itch or you’ll feel pain or get an infection.
But after that initial 2-3 week healing period the feedback you get for falling behind in your aftercare regiment is no longer instant. In fact it can take months or even years before you’re reminded that you should have looked after your tattoo.
The colors will fade, the lines will begin to look less crisp and the whole thing will blur into a bit of a mess.
Sure you could go back to your tattooist and pay them more money to touch up the tattoo and make it look new again. But the easier, less painful and cheaper option is to look after your tattoo the first time around.
Now, when I say you should look after your tattoo beyond the initial 2-3 week healing cycle that all new tattoos go through, I don’t mean that you have to buy special products or use special creams.
To prolong the life of your tattoo and keep it looking crisp, clean and colorful doesn’t require any specialized products or effort.
There are tattoo specific moisturisers and tattoo specific sun blocks available. But more often than not these ‘tattoo’ products are the same as the everyday products, but with huge price markups for being ‘tattoo’ products.
If you want your tattoo to continue looking fresh, here’s how you should care for your new tattoo well beyond the initial 2-3 week healing cycle.
Never expose your tattoo to direct sunlight without sunblock
Pretty simple, right? Tattoos are between your layers of skin and the sun can have negative effects on your skin.
The sun in large doses will prematurely age your skin. Getting sunburned can have all kinds of deleterious effects. And these affects extend to your tattoo.
A tattoo specific sunblock should be worn on a regular basis. Anything with a high SPF rating will help prolong the life of your tattoo. And will be a lot healthier for you and your skin over the course of your life than getting sunburned. So do wear sunblock.
After that initial healing period of 2-3 weeks, it’s okay to go out into the sun and enjoy a day in nature or at the beach. Just remember to use sunblock on your tattoos (and everywhere else).
Use moisturizer to increase the life of your tattoo
You don’t need tattoo specific moisturisers or creams. But you should use moisturiser occasionally. If your skin is all dried out and wrinkly then so is your tattoo.
Lads, this applies to you more than the ladies. The ladies already use moisturiser in their daily lives. But most guys forget that they too, should be using moisturiser.
The healthier your skin is the longer your tattoo will continue to look good. Use a basic moisturiser that you’re happy with and use it on a regular basis. Lads, the more often you remember to use moisturiser the longer your tattoos will continue looking fresh.
Your tattoo will continue to look good for years to come
Using moisturiser and sunblock is all you need to do to care for your tattoo once the initial healing process is done. And the more often you remember to use moisturiser and sunblock the longer your tattoo will continue to look crisp, fresh and new.
Long term tattoo aftercare is not complicated and you can even find moisturisers that have sunblock built in. Which is great for those men for whom remembering to use two different creams is too difficult.
You can simply buy one cream that has both sunblock and moisturiser. Easy.