While I love all aspects of tattoos and admire the qualities that make artists great, I have to admit the healing process sucks the most bitter of lemons! I don't like the throbbing ache you've to deal with for a week, the tight itching skin and the peeling. I honestly don't mind cleaning and minding it, hell when you've shelled out as much money over the years as I have, you wont mind either. Its not the process, it's the irritations that go with it. So here's my list for minding your new ink, that your artist didn't tell you.
First and most important... Follow your artist's after-care instructions to the letter!! They know what they're doing, and they know what's best for your fresh work.
Take preventative measures. Clip and file your nails so they're not long or sharp. I do this every time I get work done because scratching your new body art is detrimental to it. I love my nails, but I love my investments more, and even with the most rock solid determination, you will still scratch unconsciously when you're asleep. I know, I've woken myself up trying to get at new ink...
|Peeling and itching like a mother...|
Try not to sweat for a while. Avoid running, gym sessions, zumba, etc until your healed up. If you have to zumba or run, take it handy, ok?? Just avoid pools and the like at all costs. I'm serious. Chlorine is evil.
Carry your lotion with you everywhere. I've learned that tight, dry, itching flaking skin will drive you nuts if you don't moisturise it slightly. Find somewhere private and reapply a light layer of your lotion over your new tattoo. Trust me, even if you're in some quasi-public space, wierd looks are better than slowly losing the will to live from itching skin.
Find what works for you and stick to it. Personally, Bepanthen (the plain nappy rash ointment) is my lotion of choice for the first 2 to 3 days of healing, and after that it's over to my good buddy E45. This time around, I've found a brand called CaraDerm and their seaweed soothing lotion is the biz! The same goes for soap. Dove plain soap is usually my choice, but Sanex 0% is great too. If you're unsure, get your artist to recommend something and then go hunt it down.
Arnica!! Arnica tablets will set you back around 6 euro. They are tiny little things but they are the absolute shizznit. Arnica tabs will take down your swelling and bruising in double quick time. If like me, you bruise and swell like nothing else on earth, you need arnica. Zinc would be good too, it's helpful for your natural defences and since you're healing a very nicely designed open wound, you'll be needing all the help you can get!
Patience, grasshopper. It's going to heal, just give it time, okay?? Don't pick, don't rub, don't scrub, don't worry. It will get there.
Enjoy your new ink, and remember two weeks of irritation is nothing for a lifetime with your new art!