Since I recently started my backpiece tattoo, I have been reintroduced to the lovely feelings of healing. A tattoo is a controlled abrasion and it wants to heal just like a brush burn on your knee. If you would allow it, it would create a large thick scab over the entire tattooed area, just like when you were a kid and wrecked your bike.
As you can imagine having a large scab is not really good for your tattoo. As tattooed people we do everything we can to prevent a scab from even forming in the first place, but it does happen even to the most diligent of us. The key to avoiding scabs is to keep the tattoo moist while it heals. This can be done with any number of items although in my experience coco butter works the best. Be careful using products that contain petroleum (ie. A&D, Vaseline, Bacitracin) as they can pull out color depending on the type of ink used. Also be careful to read the ingredients list of anything you use and make sure there isn’t something you don’t want hiding in the middle of the list. I recently had some off brand coco butter that had alcohol hiding in the list, let me just say, “OUCH!”.
Even if you can avoid scabs on your entire tattoo, you can’t stop peeling. Peeling is a result of the top layer of skin, which is dead from all that needle work, dies and falls off to make way for the fresh healed tissue. Peeling doesn’t hurt but it certainly itches. If you have ever had a bad sunburn, I’m sure you can relate.
Peeling doesn’t start for several days after the tattoo has been applied. You can stop applying lotion after the tattoo peels although if you continue to keep it moist you will be much more comfortable.
Although your tattoo is going to itch, you don’t want to scratch it. Scratching the tattoo could remove ink or create scratches on the tattoo that will scab. Instead of scratching your new tattoo, slap it. Slapping the tattoo will remove the itch temporarily just like scratching, but it will not damage the tattoo.
To keep the itch to a minimum continue to keep the tattooed area moistened with the proper product. A moist tattoo is a happy tattoo.
After all that itching and slapping your tattoo should be well on its way to healing. After about 2 weeks of discomfort you will stop noticing the new ink. After a month it will be about 90% healed but it takes about 3 months for it to get back to it’s natural texture.
Your tattoo may lose some of it’s original luster if you don’t take care of it properly. If 90% of your ink is still intact, chances are you messed up that other 10%. Good tattoos need good aftercare