Healing Your Tattoo
Healing your new tattoo can be a bit of a process. It can also be quite emotional, it's completely normal to have feelings of doubt, uncertainty, dislike and even regret - yep, we've all had a moment of this.
But you do need to trust the process (and your tattoo artist) and know that your tattoo will settle & soften as it heals, leaving you with a totally banging tattoo!
While you would have received your aftercare advice in store, we've included it below as well.
And for those that love a light read, we've got you a more in-depth healing process below.
And as always, if you have any questions or concerns, please reach out.
Gently dab weeping fluid
Gently dab away any fluid on the area for the first few days using a clean tissue, cotton round, or cotton tip.
Wash the area gently
Jump in the shower and gently wash the area with warm soapy water. Rinse and pat dry with a clean towel, paper towel tissue or cotton round.
Apply aftercare balm
Start applying a small amount of your aftercare product. You can do this multiple times a day as you feel necessary; ideally you want the skin to breathe but retain some moisture.
The key is applying smaller amounts more frequently rather than smothering the tattoo once a day.
During your healing process, a slight peeling will occur. Please avoid picking at your tattoo, you may remove ink or cause scarring.
No ‘submerging’ in water (swimming, saunas etc) and avoid sweaty workouts until healed.
After the peeling has finished, your tattoo may look dull, off-coloured or milky as the tattoo continues to heal internally. The skin will become translucent again in approximate 3-4 weeks, allowing the colour of your tattoo to ‘bloom’.
In-depth Healing Process
Day 1 - 4
The first stage is essentially considered the open wound stage. This is the period of time in which your body is trying to seal over the skin and this is when you are at the greatest risk of infection or complication.
Your body will try to seal its open wound by excreting a substance called plasma, this is a clear/yellow fluid. It is natural for our bodies to produce this healing element which helps to break down dead tissue and rebuild new tissue. Under normal circumstances, these healing elements would dry and create a cover or scab over the open skin.
However, in tattoo healing, scabbing can be detrimental to the design.
To avoid this, you will need to dab away excess fluid for the first few days and keep the tattoo moisturised with an after care balm throughout the healing process. The skin will still seal over, but this reduces the amount of scabbing, rather sealing over with a light cover.
Day 3 - 10
During the second stage of healing, the skin becomes tight and itchy. During this portion of the healing process, the top layers of skin loosen and begin to lift off, giving the skin & tattoo a mottled and peeling appearance. It will essentially look like a slightly coloured peeling sunburn. Again, keeping it moisturized during this phase can help ease the itching, prevent premature removal of the skin and protect the tattoo from any additional trauma caused from drying out.
Day 3 - 40
The third stage of healing actually takes place below the skin after the surface of the tattoo has sealed over (your risk of infection has now passed).
It is now down to your immune system to ‘capture’ the ink particles and secure them in place into the layer of skin called the dermis. It is also normal for some ink to be removed via the lymphatic system.
Your skin may look a little opaque or milky causing the ink beneath to look a little dull during this phase. The skin will become more transparent around week 3-4 - this is what we call the ‘colour bloom’ as the ink is now fully visible through the skin.
You can continue to use your aftercare balm during this phase, or you may wish to return to your normal moisturiser (please refrain from using any products with retinol, acids, vitamin A’s etc on top of the tattoo).
A light production of lymph, plasma & blood for a couple of days
Tenderness for up to a week
Swelling for up to a week
Redness for up to a week
Small cracks & light peeling with colour
Oozing of creamy or green fluid
Chunky scabbing or large cracks that produce blood or fluid
Not healing in any colour