According to a 2012 poll done by Harris Interactive, one on five adults in America sport a tattoo somewhere on their bodies. Tattooed skin needs special care. Follow these tips from the American Academy of Dermatology so that your tattoo and your skin are looking good.
Protect the Tattoo From the Sun
Tattooed skin can be prone to sunburn and fade with exposure to UV light. Avoid tanning booths, tanning beds, tanning lamps and sunbathing when sunlight is strongest. Use sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outside. If the tattoo already feels sensitive, cover it up before going out.
If you have permanent makeup, wear a hat with a broad brim to protect your face from UV rays which can cause sunburn and cause the permanent makeup to fade.
Tattooed skin has been through a stressful situation. It’s prone to dry out. This can not only damage the tattoo but hurt like heck. Keep your skin supple by using a water-based moisturizer regularly. Avoid petroleum jelly because that will leave the tattoo looking discolored. Moisturized skin will also itch less.
Massage your moisturizer into the skin. John Reardon, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting a Tattoo (Alpha; 2008) notes that gentle massage helps keep the tattoo looking good and the skin under it feeling good.
Leave Those Scabs Alone
Newly tattooed skin needs time to heal. In order to do that, it forms scabs. Do not pick at the scabs or you will remove the ink as well as the scabs, leaving noticeable blank patches. Let the scabs fall off by themselves.
Chlorine can interfere with a brand new tattoo and cause even more skin irritation. Avoid swimming for about a month after getting a new tattoo. Also avoid swimming if you suspect that you might have a skin infection under your tattoo. Swimming will irritate the skin even further.
When to See the Doctor
If your tattoo is new, you should contact your doctor immediately should the following things happen:
- · Swelling, pain or redness of the new area
- · Pus leaking from new tattoo which indicates an infection
- · Itchy rash develops on the tattoo site which indicates an allergy to tattoo ink.
The Mayo Clinic’s website notes that allergic reactions to tattoo ink can begin years after getting the tattoo. Tattoo ink can also cause bumps called keloids to grow. Usually, keloids are harmless, but keep monitoring them for pain, discharge or if they suddenly grow large.
- · The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Getting a Tattoo. John Reardon. Alpha; 2008.
- · MayoClinic.com. “Tattoos: Understand the Risks and Precautions.” http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/tattoos-and-piercings/MC00020