The 9 Best Ways to Help Your Tattoo Heal Faster
Many people ask: “how can I get my tattoo to heal faster?”
In short, you can’t do it safely, but you can keep the healing process to the shortest acceptable time by making smart decisions.
The initial healing phase of a new tattoo can last anywhere from three to four weeks. Tattoos aren’t considered fully healed until around six months after being inked.
Individuals heal at different rates. There are a variety of aftercare approaches and healing process factors that can contribute to a comparably faster recovery rate after getting your new tattoo.
The following article will introduce 9 behavioral approaches designed to make healing more effective and faster but stick to the accepted timeline.
1. Prepare your skin prior to getting tattooed
The best methods to ensure skin health prior to getting inked include:
- Staying hydrated
- Being well rested
- Eating a healthy, low fat diet
- Keeping your skin from distress during the tattoo by using numbing products or taking regular breaks
- Limiting drug, cigarette and alcohol intake
- Avoiding extreme weather or being sunburned when you arrive for your tattoo appointment
Caring for your skin and ensuring it is as healthy as possible will ensure the tattoo has the best chance to heal at a suitable speed.
2. Follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare advice
Your tattoo artist wants to see you come back to get another new awesome tattoo design, not clean up after the first piece of body art was poorly cared for when it was healing.
Experienced tattoo professionals have seen all types of clients, with all different skin types, and can offer you extremely valuable aftercare advice that will help you immediately and for the lifetime of your tattoo.
Listen to the advice of your tattoo artist when it comes to different approaches to tattoo aftercare. These days it is part of their duty of care to give you a better understanding of freshly tattooed skin.
If you notice a problem with your healing tattoo, head straight to the tattoo artist where you got the artwork. They can help you change up your aftercare regimen or allay your fears.
If they find a serious problem beyond their scope of advice, your tattoo artist will refer you to a doctor for treatment.
3. Clean the tattoo effectively and regularly
A freshly inked tattoo should be cleaned three times each day in soap and warm water. This should begin immediately after the initial bandage is removed.
The cleaning process -and any other aftercare steps you choose- should last through the entire initial healing and tattoo care timeline.
- Wash hands thoroughly
- Apply foam cleanser or soap to newly tattooed area with clean hands and warm water
- Gently rub cleanser into tattoo and surrounding area
- Wipe off remaining cleanser with a clean paper towel
- Pat dry excess (don’t rub)
- Wait a few minutes before going on to the next step of your aftercare process.
A range of different soaps are good options to use in tattoo aftercare and it’s your choice to use a single product, or combination. Some are specific to tattoos, while others are versatile for everyday use.
4. Choose the wet healing method of aftercare
Of the three main methods of tattoo healing the wet healing method is usually the fastest to work. The others – dry healing and wrap healing – are considered healing tactics that take more time to be effective as they rely purely on tattoo cleaning for added lotion or moisturizer.
There are a wide range of aftercare products that help your skin heal strongly and purport to limit the potential dimming and damage that can sometimes occur after fresh ink settles into your skin.
Aside from the dedicated wet healing aftercare product choices on the market, there are an infinite range of everyday skin care products that can be used in the application of tattoo healing and wound care.
5. Let your tattoo free once the bandage is taken off
Immediately after getting tattooed your artist will clean the area and then apply a bandage before sending you on your way.
Approaches vary between artists and tattoo shops, but you’ll be expected to remove this tattoo bandage within hours or leave on overnight at the maximum.
After the bandage is removed it’s time to begin your aftercare in earnest by starting to cleanse the area.
Your tattoo is an open wound and needs to breathe in order begin healing correctly, so ensure that you don’t apply another bandage to your brand-new ink.
It’s also highly recommended that you wear loose clothing. Avoid tight fitting scratchy materials or active wear during the tattoo heal to allow the open wound better breathing space.
6. Avoid poking, prodding, picking, scratching and touching
When your tattoo is looking and feeling it’s absolute worst, you must let the tattooed area heal without picking, poking, prodding or scratching at your skin.
If you mess up during this phase of the process, you could pull out the ink and leave scars, tattoo discoloration, or also prompt infection.
Use a soft towel, or clean paper towel, when you’re cleaning it or patting it dry after contact with water. Be gentle to your tattoo always to get the best result and heal faster.
7. Wear sunscreen, if you must be in the sun
The sun’s ultraviolet rays cause burn damage to the skin, and a new tattoo heal is highly susceptible to UV rays. Sun exposure also causes fading and degradation to tattooed skin over time.
For some people, being out in the sun is unavoidable due to work, education, or other factors.
If you can’t wear loose clothing and keep the tattoo covered completely at this time while allowing it to breathe and repair, then it’s imperative to utilize a tattoo specific sunscreen of at least SPF 30+ during the entire time your outdoors during the healing process.
8. Avoid Neosporin and medicated ointments – it’s a trap!
Some medicated ointment’s properties have an adverse effect on tattoos. The patch of skin that has been ‘traumatized’ by several needles pricking it over and over needs oxygen with a thin layer of moisturization in order to heal the best way possible.
Using some medicated products, like Neosporin and Bacitracin could cause the body to reject it or heal too quickly, creating an allergic reaction that could involve a significant rash or series of tiny red dots.
9. Stay out of the water
You can get your tattoo wet via hot water showers during tattoo healing, but make sure you don’t soak in water of any type for at least three weeks or until the tattoo surface heals completely.
Water entering the tattoo wound can interfere or cause infection to the tattooed area. This would increase the time the time needed for the tattoo to heal and can punish the ink and tissue underneath to the point where your body art needs to be repaired or removed.
Neither swimming in chlorinated water or natural bodies such as the ocean or lakes is to be recommended for new tattoos until the tattoo has knitted and healing is finished.
It’s almost impossible to speed up the healing time of a new tattoo safely, but there are numerous sensible, actionable, useful methods that every individual can adopt to keep the healing process to the shortest window of time, which is three to four weeks.
Caring for new tattoos requires common sense and short-term changes in behavior to maximize your new ink’s chances to heal properly, faster and effectively.
For more useful information articles on aftercare and the tattoo healing process, click on the links below: