Why do some tatts look better than others?
Tattoo artist Morris Terence (Instagram/ @mowwwis) says while 50 per cent is attributed to the artist’s skills, the other 50 per cent depends on the aftercare.
Day 1 – 3: The lines of the tattoo are essentially open wounds. So most importantly, keep it clean and dry. This means there is no need to apply moisturiser or Vaseline on the freshly inked skin. Don’t go swimming, soak in a tub, or take long showers. If you live in a humid climate, avoid wrapping the tattoo in cling wrap.
You can shower and exercise as usual. Just keep the tattooed area clean and dry afterwards. Pat skin dry with a clean towel after showering, do not rub. Avoid stretching and rubbing the tattooed areas when you work out.
Stay out of the sun. Sunburns will cause skin to peel unnecessarily, and there goes the clarity of your tatt.
Day 3 – 7: The inked part starts to dry up, and scab. And of course, like all healing wounds, the itching begins. Do not scratch, rub (when the healing skin is damp in the shower), or peel the scabs off at all costs. Or the skin may become scarred; thus causing lines, gaps, or cracks in the tattoo design. You didn’t sit through all that pain for nothing, so don’t pick on the tatt.
At this stage, you can apply a thin layer of moisturiser on the tattoo to relieve the tightness and itch. The best moisturiser to use? Diaper cream, like Drapolene. If it is good enough for a baby’s butt, it is good enough for your healing tatt.
But this is also when your skin is still thin and sensitive, so continue to take special care of it.
You know your skin has healed completely – which is about a month later – when it is no longer peeling, or itchy, and has turned matte.
Continue to moisturise the area – and protect it with sunscreen – to maintain the vibrancy and clarity of the strokes.
Opinions expressed in this article are Morris’ own. While these tips are suggestions for tattoo aftercare, the way an individual’s skin heals varies; depending on the artists’ skills, size of the tattoo, the individual’s skin type, and living environment. When in doubt on whether your skin is healing properly, see a doctor.