How to care for your new tattoo?

A tattoo is a minor surgical procedure. Any good tattoo is the result of an artist’s and your aftercare regime.

Therefore, what makes a good tattoo is dependent on how well you care for it; especially during the initial healing phase.Having said that, not many are following a proper aftercare regime, resulting in the formation of thick scabs, fading, or even worst — an infection.

After sucking up the guts and making an appointment with the artist, you should print out bring whatever design elements, styles or pictures with you, to discuss with the artist and make him/her familiar with your likes and wants, in order to create something memorable and unique.

Reminder: Do not consume alcohol one day before your tattoo appointment, have a restful sleep, and eat a proper meal before your appointment. Having food in your body helps to stabilize your blood sugar and prevent fatigue, dizziness and increase your pain threshold.

Upon completion of your tattoo, the artist or manager will explain the aftercare in detail to you. For example, what type of food to avoid, no sun exposure or swimming, and not applying certain lotions to the fresh tattoos, etc.

1: After the tattoo, the artist will clean and disinfect the area before applying a layer or Vaseline (prevents infection), followed by wrapping it up in cling wrap. Do not remove the wrapping as it’s there to protect the tattoo from external contamination.

2: Generally, 3~6 hours is the typical time-frame before you are allowed to remove the wrapping to clean the tattoo. This is the general rule for Singapore’s weather condition; it may differ based on your location. When removing the wrapping, it is advisable to do so under running water, in order to prevent the adhesive tape from damaging your skin during removal.

3: After removing the cling wrap, use clean hands to gently rub away the remaining  layer of Vaseline and dried blood/secretion on your tattoo with either a non-alcohol based beauty or wet towel (alcohol will irritate and sting the tattoo). Let it dry naturally afterwards. Removing dried blood and secretion is a critical step in preventing excessive scabbing and fading requiring touch ups later.

4: After drying the tattoo, pure aloe gel should be applied 2~3 times daily for 3~5 days following the tattoo. This is to help speed up the healing and prevent infections. Enlist the help of loved ones or family members if the tattooed area is too large or hard to reach. Always use a glove or clean hands while handling the fresh tattoo. Some individuals may use antiseptic ointments (Erythromycin, Vaseline, etc.) on the tattoo. However this is not recommended, as they tend to be very thick emulsions and may clog the pores. For more serious infections, Bactroban Ointment is recommended as it will not cause fading.

5: One important note is to allow the aloe gel to fully dry before sleeping or going out. Do not wear tight clothing. When sleeping, do not allow the fresh tattoo to come into direct contact with the bed-sheet or blanket.  Use a small pillow or bolster if needed. Not doing so will cause the fresh tattoo to “stick” to the bed sheets, as it will leak body secretions from time to time.

6: During the healing period, do not soak the area in water, go swimming, or exercise. Doing so will greatly increase your chances of getting an infection. You can resume normal activities after a month.

7: During the healing period, particularly for colored tattoos, exposure to direct sunlight may cause unnecessary fading. Those with sensitive skin in particular, should take note.

8: In 3~8 weeks, your tattoo will enter a healing phase. During this period, your tattoo will grow thin layers of scabs and may itch. This is a normal part of healing. Do not scratch or pick at the scabs. Let it fall off naturally.

NOTE: Thick Scabs vs Thin Scabs: thick scabs with hard skin, swelling and redness is the result of improper aftercare following a tattoo (#4) or the artist might have been a little heavy handed during the tattooing. However, a healthy thin scab is part of the natural healing process and there’s nothing to worry about. A healthy scab resemble little pieces of skin like dandruff does.

9: Exercising / Sports or extreme physical activities should be refrained from until the tattoo has shed its scab, as excessive sweat will encourage bacterial growth and chances of infection, while constant physical impact will cause further damage to the underlying tissues and impede healing or alter its appearance.

10: For most individuals, the tattoo itself may be healing fine, but the area surrounding the tattoo may appear red and swollen. This is because blood circulation to the extremities is not always optimal and accumulation of fluids in those areas may cause swelling. To prevent this, if the tattoo is on the leg, refrain from standing for prolonged periods at once. If the tattoo is on the arm, try to elevate it as much as possible. If swelling occurs, you can apply ice packs on the area to help it subside.

Tattoo Tip: During the healing period when it starts to form thin scabs and starts o itch, you can apply a thin layer of baby oil (Johnson & Johnson’s) to help with the itch and help the color to stay vibrant. Do not apply it on a daily basis as too much mineral oil might clog the pores as well. This is one of the cheapest way to keep a tattoo fresh and vibrant for a long time.

If you want to get a uniquely beautiful one-of-a-kind tattoo, it is important to find an accomplished artist with the right technical skills and ethics to do the job right.

An appointment is not just so we could do your tattoo. But most importantly, so that we could communicate and discuss in details about your needs and wants. This is responsible tattooing.

These are Apple’s tattoo aftercare tips for all tattoo aficionado out there.Please take good care of your new tattoo!

Memory Lane Tattoo Studio is family owned and operated, offering a cozy and relaxing environment to get a tattoo. Our goal is to depart from the stereotypical harsh image of tattoos and tattoo studios, change the style and image long associated with the industry. Hope you enjoy your tattooing journey with us!