Tattoo Healing Process – People who get tattoos often very well know that getting the tattoo inked is merely a start of a much more tricky process. The real deal behind getting a tattoo begins with the tattoo healing process.
Getting a tattoo involves the process of pricking your skin with a thousand needles at once so that the ink gets into the dermis. The body registers this process as if the skin is experiencing a wound and the immune system goes into overdrive to start the healing process. The aftermath of getting a tattoo or the tattoo healing process is crucial and should be dealt with utmost care to avoid any infection.
Stages of Tattoo Healing Process
A tattoo typically takes about four to six weeks to heal completely. The tattooed skin regenerates to become of the type it was before you got yourself inked in this time. Being careful during the tattoo healing process is the key. Here are the stages that you would go through during the tattoo healing process:
The first stage of the tattoo healing process is the first week, after which you get yourself inked. The first week is a particularly tricky time. An immediately tattooed skin should be viewed as an open wound. Since the skin has been repeatedly pricked with a needle-like substance, the skin starts to bleed, swell and ooze.
The tattoo artist shall clean the tattoo using a bar of antibacterial soap and send you home with a bandaged tattoo for further protection while your immune system starts working to heal your skin. It is advisable to lead the bandaged wrap on the tattoo for at least 12 hours to avoid any infection.
Towards the end of stage one, the swelling and redness start to die down, and the process of scabbing begins.
In the second week of the tattoo healing process, the tattooed skin starts to turn dry and flaky. This causes a lot of itching. You have to be extremely careful not to scratch yourself during stage 2 to avoid scarring on the carefully inked tattoo.
To help with the itching sensation, tattoo artists usually suggest a fragrant-free light moisturizer that you can apply on your skin whenever you want to. Make sure not to overdo the moisturizing as tattooed skin needs to breathe to heal correctly.
The itching and flakiness go away in a matter of a week as the skin’s dead cells start to fall out.
Stage 3 is the final stage of the tattoo healing process. During this time, your tattoo starts to look cloudy and dull because of the presence of a fine layer of dead skin on it. This layer, too, falls off in the final week, and your tattoo starts to look completely normal after it.
Although the area around your tattoo may start to look healed entirely, due and diligent care still needs to be taken to avoid any skin reaction or infection.
When do you know your tattoo is completely healed?
The upper layer starts to heal faster than the inner layers because the upper layers are the ones that prevent any infection-causing bacteria from entering the wound. The healing of the inner layers of the skin is a lengthy process, and it takes your skin close to three to four months to regenerate and heal fully.
The tattoo healing process is different for different individuals. What might take one person a month might take another two to heal fully.
Healing Tips and Post Tattoo Care
It is imperative to take proper care of your tattoo during and after the tattoo healing process. A poorly treated tattoo can lead to infections and might even cost you a trip to the emergency room.
Here is a list of aftercare tips that you should follow after getting inked:
#1 Clean your tattoo with a bar of hypoallergenic, fragrance-free soap, and pat dry once clean. Limit cleaning your tattoo to twice or thrice a day. Too much contact with water can also cause infections. You can also resort to using distilled water to clean your tattooed skin.
#2 Avoid stepping out in the sunlight as much as possible during the tattoo healing process.
The sun’s rays slowly fade the tattoo and will cost you a trip back to the tattoo parlor. In the first stage of the tattoo healing process, it is vital to avoid going out in broad daylight as much as you.
Apply a good quality zinc oxide-based sunscreen of at least SPF 50 when you do step out. It is also advisable to invest in one that is sweat and water-resistant for further protection.
#3 Moisturise your skin using a light, fragrance-free lotion. The second stage of the tattoo healing process causes a constant itch. While you may have a strong urge to scratch your skin when the itching sensation begins, it is strongly advised not to avoid scars. Instead, apply a lotion on your skin to help with the itching.
You should also make sure to stay away from petroleum jelly-based lotions as petroleum jelly is not suitable for tattooed skin.
#4 Avoid picking on scabs and peeling dead skin. No matter how tempting it is to decide on scabs and peels, allowing them to fall off naturally is how to go about things. Picking on scabs and peeling off dead skin can result in infections and shall also cause scarring.
#5 Avoid going for a swim in the first month after getting a tattoo. The chlorine present in the water can leach out the tattooed skin. It can also cause irritation and the outbreak of an allergic reaction on your skin.
Shortening the length of your shower and soaking in the bathtub is also something that you should be avoided when your skin is still going through the tattoo healing process.
When do you know that your tattoo is not a healing process?
It is not a regular occurrence that a complication arises during the tattoo healing process. However, an allergic reaction or infection is relative in nature, and some people can get an infection that restricts the healing. This could be a result of carelessness during the tattoo healing process.
Symptoms that mean that you are tattoo is not healing the way it should be included-
#1 Developing a fever or getting chills could mean that you are having an allergic reaction to the ink. It is best to immediately consult a dermatologist to avoid further complications.
#2 Redness and puffy skin should ideally go away after the first stage of the tattoo healing process. If you continue to experience this, it could be a sign of an incoming infection.
#3 Excessive drainage or oozing of the tattoo should not be treated casually, especially if the oozing liquid is green or yellow.
#4 Swelling is a natural occurrence when you get a tattoo because of the inflammation that it causes. However, swelling should go away in a week too. If it persists, it could mean that your skin has an allergic reaction to the ink.
#5 Even though itching is completely normal after getting inked, breaking into hives is not. If you start to break into hives and itch uncontrollably, it means that you have had an allergic reaction and should see a doctor immediately.
Also check out the 8 effective steps to tighten loose belly skin.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1. Do tattoos that are on different body parts have a different healing process?
The location of your tattoo on your body plays a role in defining its healing time. This is because some parts of our bodies are more sensitive than others. Taking care of a tattoo on hard-to-reach parts of your body is even more difficult.
Q2. Is drinking alcohol safe after getting a tattoo?
Drinking alcohol during the initial stage of the tattoo healing process should be avoided. This is because alcohol thins your blood which can cause excessive bleeding. So, drinking is a definite no-no after a tattoo.
Q3. Can you exercise after getting a tattoo?
You should avoid engaging in a weight lifting or cardio session during the tattoo healing process. This is because sweating can cause an infection and can disrupt the healing, and create complications. You should at least wait out stage 1 of the tattoo healing process before hitting the gym.
Q4. How common are allergic reactions to a tattoo?
If you take all necessary precautions during the tattoo healing process, the chances of an allergic reaction to a tattoo are rare. However, it could be that you develop an allergic reaction to the ink. In such a case, you should see a doctor immediately. Also, you should make sure that you get yourself inked from a credible source.
Q5. Why should you not put petroleum jelly on your tattoo?
Tattoo artists generally advise you to stay away from petroleum jelly-based skincare products. This is because the formulation of petroleum jelly is exceptionally thick, and it prevents your skin from breathing. Allowing your skin to breathe during the tattoo healing process is extremely important to avoid getting an infection. This is the reason why it is repeatedly suggested to use a light moisturizer instead.
Even though the tattoo healing process differs for different individuals, the importance of the process is the same for everyone who gets themselves inked.
The entire tattoo healing process is generally a complication-free process. After the initial swelling, peeling, and dullness, you are left behind with the brightwork of art that you had opted for. All you have to do is follow the course of action prescribed by your dermatologist and the tips given by the tattoo artist, and you are good to go!