Written by Lisa Thommesen.
I may not look like it, but I'm married to a tattoo artist.
At the latest now, during a real-life conversation, I’d be getting stealthy looks. Tattoo artists and drunk people are the ones who are looking for revelations during conversations and thus can hardly look you in the eye. Their glances roam up and down and I feel like every inch of my skin is being examined.
I see the question marks in the eyes of the person across the room, and at some point, when the tension is unbearable — theirs, in my case it's amusement — comes the question of "How many tattoos do you have?" They're prepared for a lot, pretty much anything, but not the answer they're going to get. "None, not one. No, not naked either, really. Yes, I'm serious."
So I don't really know what it feels like to be tattooed. But I know quite a lot about tattoos, about the preparation, about the process behind it.
I can tell good work from bad, I know — for a tattoo-free zone, so to speak —what looks really good and what doesn’t. Especially when it comes to aftercare.
My husband is an artist and it is in the nature of things that it is important to him how his art heals, how it ages, and how it is cared for. So, he can be quite sensitive when it comes to the care instructions.
He points meticulous attention to the need for good sun protection, explained with angelic patience why in the first weeks after the pricking, sun exposure, bathing fun, sauna, solarium, sports, too much alcohol etc. should be avoided. And how important it is to care for the tattoo, to wash it with a PH neutral soap, to not put too much cream on it...and have I already mentioned the sun protection?
A well maintained tattoo heals better and stays nice for much longer.
You can save on the aftercare cream, but I would really recommend you to invest a little more here and choose a high quality product.
Ideally that would be a cream with CBD. The non-psychoactive substance from the female hemp plant stimulates the skin’s self-healing powers, is anti-inflammatory, and has an analgesic effect. No wonder many tattoo care creams contain cannabidiol!
Day 1-3 after getting inked
If possible, please ask that your tattoo is treated with Suprasorb F. It is a wafer-thin, flexible foil bandage (I mean plastic wrap is good, thin, flexible and much cheaper, but oh well... read on!).
Suprasorb F is a membrane permeable on one side and remains so as long as the tattoo loses fluid without changing on the wound. The wound fluid can evaporate from the inside, but nothing gets in from the outside – it's a waterproof germ barrier. So, when the risk of infection is the highest, you are well protected from smear infections.
Once the tattoo is finished, the tattoo gets a few minutes, so that the skin can calm down a bit. Then the area is thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and packed with Suprasorb F. Tattoos are not normal wounds, since foreign bodies (namely colour pigments) should remain in the skin and as many of them as possible.
As long as the foil is on the skin (i.e. 2-3 days), you do nothing. Nothing.
If there is a troublesome blister with wound fluid then that's fine. It thickens with evaporation. You can shower normally with the membrane.
After 2-3 days, remove the membrane by lifting it at a corner or edge and letting lukewarm water run between the skin and the membrane and then carefully peel it off.
Wash the skin with warm water and PH-neutral soap (you get it at a pharmacy), with clean, freshly washed hands — and only with your own hands.
In order to close the pores, leave it to cool briefly at the end of the washing process. Run water over the tattoo. Then dry the skin off with a, that goes without saying, dabbing clean disposable cloth (kitchen roll = lint-free).
Afterwards you apply the CBD tattoo aftercare cream very thinly.
Until about two weeks after getting tattooed, repeat the wafer-thin application of the cream (I repeat: with clean, washed hands) 2-3 times a day.
What you should or should not do:
3-4 weeks — no swimming pool, sea, or bathtub (the skin swells up, the colour suffers and, in the worst case, it gets infected).
No sauna or steam baths (a fresh tattoo is a wound!)
Sun (even from a can) is taboo for 3-4 weeks (for the future: always use a body cream with sun protection)!
Wash your hands before you touch your tattoo (don't worry, only in the healing phase, then you can get your fingers dirty again.)
Move as little as possible – fun aside: no sports to avoid heavy sweating.
Use only and exclusively designated creams for this purpose – many wound healing ointments from the pharmacy remove moisture and thus also color as they dry out the skin. That may be good for an injury but it's definitely not for a discolored, washed-out tattoo.
Shaving the freshly tattooed part of the body is not allowed for the next 14 days. In fact it is strictly forbidden. No ifs, ands or buts!