Being in the business for many years, I have seen and tried several methods of healing a tattoo and these are the three ways that I find works the best. I choose one of these three options based upon skin type, size and saturation of tattoo, and location on the body.
Method #1 : Holistic Healing
For those who are more natural in their health care, we have discovered that along with 1000 uses for coconut oil, there is yet another one, tattoo aftercare. I suggest using it 3 times per day. Make sure you are using unrefined organic or pure virgin coconut oil.
Coconut oil typically comes in a solid form, but is easily melted in the palm of your “clean” hands (wash them first), and spreads easily. No covering, soaks in easily like a lotion, is easy to clean up, doesn’t make your tattoo ooze, and is smell friendly.
Reasons I choose this method:
- Sensitive and/or lighter skin, as well as very hairy areas that were shaved, may break out with the ointment due to pore clogging, which leaves pimple like areas and can interfere with the solidity of ink in your tattoo
- Your tattoo isn’t of a large size (4 x 4 or smaller)
- If you have certain skin infections because it is No chemicals and all Natural
- The tattoo is in an area where ointment will be a problem getting on clothes if you must dress a certain way for work or other events
- The tattoo is black and gray with minimal solid saturation
Method #2 : Aquaphor Ointment No Bandage
Aquaphor Ointment made by Eucerin, can be found in the lotion department in just about any convenient store. Through the years or progression in tattooing, the aftercare ointment has changed. Currently Aquaphor is the only suggested ointment in my opinion. Unlike A&D or other OTC ointments, it has the least petroleum so it soaks in faster, clogs the pores the least, has no scents or alcohols added, and keeps your tattoo from drying out too fast. The key with this and any ointment is “not too little” and “not too much”. If your new tattoo begins to ooze or bubble on the surface after applying your ointment, you have on too much so using a clean dampened paper towel, simply wipe the surface to remove the excess. A little goes a long way, so use sparingly. If you use too little, it will get dry and feel like it is going to crack, we don’t want this, as it will literally leave crack slivers of blank space in your ink.
Reasons I choose this method:
- The tattoo is solid in saturation and in or on a bend of the body such as elbows, knees, fingers, toes, where cracking could be a problem
- You don’t have skin sensitivity and prefer not to use holistic healing
- The tattoo is solid in saturation in a large area where it will require more to keep it moist
- The tattoo is script lettering
Method #3 : Covered Protection
Tegaderm made by 3M, found in your bandaid department, in conjunction with Aquaphor, will heal your tattoo in just 1 week, while bypassing the pealing and itch faze completely. So what you see when you leave with your fresh tattoo ink, is what you will see when you heal it this way. It is also waterproof, so you may swim with the bandage on, but not the last 3 days.
Simply cover your tattoo and 1/4″ beyond that with a thin layer of aquaphor, then cover your tattoo and 1″ beyond that with tegaderm. It will not stick to areas covered by ointment, so we are leaving a dry border around the outside of the tattoo for it to stick. You can cut the tegaderm to fit, or overlap them for larger areas.
The first layer is applied the day of application, left on for 24 hours, then removed, washed, and air dried.
The second layer you will apply the same way, after it has air dried, using the ointment and tegaderm, but left on for 3 full days or 72 hours.
During the covered method, the tattoo will ooze and seep beneath the bandage, which is good for it. Leave this funk inside the bandage and do not remove until it is time. After completing both bandages and 4 days of covering, you may either then just use aquaphor 1x per day or coconut oil 3x per day for 3 more days.
Reasons I choose this method :
- Tattoo will be exposed in work or other environment that can potentially set up infection
- Tattoo is done watercolor style with light washes trailing out
- Tattoo is super saturated with color and do not want to risk peal out
- Tattoo is in a tender skinned area that has a high risk of rubbing or scabbing
- Just to heal a tattoo faster and more conveniently with the best outcome