How to care for a tattoo

A tattoo that is well cared-for

You just got a tattoo. Now what?

There are some steps which should be followed to care for a tattoo during the first month after receiving it. Following these steps will not only help you get the best results possible, they will help you keep it healthy and avoid infection.

Additional measures must be taken if you decide to have it removed or need to get an MRI in the future. Read on for some tips on how to care for a tattoo...

Initial aftercare

After being tattooed, don't remove the bandage for at least an hour (or longer if your tattoo parlor advises this). Put water on the bandage, and remove it with care. Clean and carefully dry the skin by patting it with a piece of paper towel. It does not need to have another bandage put on it after the first is removed.

Direct sunlight, rubbing alcohol, dirt, hydrogen peroxide, blood, and kitchen cleaners should be kept away from the area until it thoroughly heals. These can cause discomfort or make the skin become infected.

Sunburns-- For a minimum of thirty days after getting tattooed, avoid being in the sun unless you are wearing clothing that fully covers the tattooed skin.

The next two weeks

The area should be washed with soap, and a small amount of ointment needs to be placed on the affected skin a few times each day, for about eight to fourteen days. Typically this ointment will be Bacitracin or something similar. If the tattoo is in an area that will often come into contact with clothing, you can tape some cellophane wrap over the tattoo to protect it, provided that the tattoo has plenty of ointment on it.

Clothing which is loose or baggy is preferable. Putting the tattooed area underwater or touching it with unwashed hands should be avoided until it has healed. Remember not to use a bath tub or jacuzzi during this time.

Getting an MRI

Tattoos occasionally cause skin to have a burning feeling or become swollen when people undergo MRIs. There is also a smaller possibility that they will reduce the MRI image's clarity. Be sure to bring up this issue and point out the tattoos when getting an MRI, so that measures can be taken to prevent it from being a problem.

Tattoo removal

If you decide to get one or more tattoos removed, contact your doctor rather than trying to use products which claim to let people remove their own tattoos. Multiple tattoo removal methods exist, but it is expensive and can take a long time to complete.

Following these tips on how to care for a tattoo should help prevent it from becoming infected or causing excessive discomfort. Be sure to contact a doctor if the tattooed area releases fluids or becomes swollen.