Friday, March 09, 2007

Tattoo aftercare

I got my first tattoo waaaay back in September 1990, and in all these years the aftercare that I have used on fresh ink has changed quite a lot.

That first one... Jeez, I don't think I had any aftercare regime.

tattoo + 3 days
With the second one (the Allen Jones S&M woman that I'm now in the process of covering up), in 1991, I was advised to use E45 cream. Slather loads of it on, I was told. So I did, and I think it healed quite well.

Since then, I have used E45 normally, but often way less than slathering. In part this is because when having to, you know, wear clothes, heavily creamed-up arms, chest, ribs, armpits, whatever, tend to stick to your shirts.

Ditto at night time, in bed. Cue manky, scabby, sticky bedsheets.

And in more recent years, I have used no creams at all, and that's kind of been okay up to a point. The problem can be, and sometimes has been, that the scabs come away too early and take more colour with them than is desirable.

So to my new tattoo. Although I had seen the name bandied about on tattoo forums over the years, this was the first time I had been advised to use Bepanthen, which is a delicate cream for nappy rash. For the first time, too, I have been told to give the tattoo a good wash twice daily, dab it dry gently with a paper towel (no rubbing), allow it to air dry for 15 minutes or so, then apply a thin layer of Bepanthen.

So this is the regimen I am currently following. I figure I'm good for a change, not having been too impressed with some of my other attempts. Fortunately, working from home, I am able to get away without covering up my new ink when it's slick with cream. And at nights I am wrapping the arm, not too tight, in clingfilm (or Saran Wrap).

So far, so good. And the way I figure, if any healing problems arise that adversely affect the quality of the finished product, these can at least be corrected when I go in for the second sitting.

All of which brings me to today's question: I know several of my visitors are tattooed. What aftercare routines do you adhere to, and how have they worked out for you?

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16 Comments:

Blogger Red said...

Hehe... you use nappy cream!

09 March, 2007 10:37  
Blogger Tanya said...

Bepanthen was advised by Shaky Pete in Peterborough. First time Kate's used it as well. Not sure what she used before. Bepanthen worked a real treat and the tattoo didn't dry out during the healing process at all - was nice and moist. Still itched like fuck, though.

My sister is a witch and she has made up a fantastic ointment with all kinds of healing herbs and a bit of healing magick thrown in and Kate's used it on her tattoo and has nothing but good things to say about it.

09 March, 2007 11:19  
Blogger mister anchovy said...

I had no idea there was so much fuss and bother involved.....you learn something every day.

09 March, 2007 11:56  
Blogger Karen said...

You wrap it at night? Never heard of that before...interesting.

No routine for the first one, the guy didn't tell me anything about caring for it and as a result I picked off a scab and pulled out half a leaf without realizing what I had done.

For my last three, I've been told by my fabulous artist Chris to wash with Pears soap (no perfumes, dyes, etc - I use the liquid) and then use Polysporin a couple of times a day (cream only, no gel - absorbs faster). My ink looks fabulous! Although that might have something to do with my skin. My fist tattoo is almost 15 years old and according to the guy who owned the shop, "Bear" (he's famous!), he thought it was maybe 5 at most.

09 March, 2007 13:15  
Blogger Pickled Olives said...

Whew, youv'es been busy!!! Happy Birthday. Congrats on a terrific wife and life. Cool info on the Artist Allen and the Adam Ant tie in. Interesting bloody photos. I am a big baby and at 36 and have no tatoo plans, although I should cover up my juvie home job tatoo. And I have no good advice on healing one. Sorry. But I do love yours. Looks great!

09 March, 2007 14:01  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Red: Yeah, yeah, very funny.

Tanya: Oh it'll still sting, that's for sure. Your sister's cream sounds good ... if a little scary!

Mr A: Oh yeah, you gotta do the upkeep.

09 March, 2007 15:02  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Karen: Some people advocate keeping the tattoo wrapped with clingfilm all day every day for three days (washing it, applying fresh cream, and changing the clingfilm three times a day), so the overnight thing is not so weird, I don't think. It's 3pm here now, so almost time for me to go give mine a good seeing to.

Olives: You've simply got to show us your juvie home job! I suppose I have been quite busy, but you know I like to try to post once a day at least. Thanks for the b'day wishes!

09 March, 2007 15:07  
Blogger Martha Elaine Belden said...

i did the washing and dabbing dry thing... and kept it moisturized. my one secret is, when i experienced any discomfort, i put tea tree oil with a bit of lavender on it... SO soothing.

09 March, 2007 16:32  
Blogger Milla said...

Zorro looked after his with Savlon cream. The big one on the leg still looks good after 10 years and lots of sunbathing. I don't know if it's because of the initial Savlon cream though.

10 March, 2007 15:35  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Martha: I read elsewhere about using tea tree oil, too. Interesting...

Milla: I've never used Savlon. Some people swear by it. I think it has antihistamine properties, too, so that may help with swelling on big work. I think I may have a mild allergy to Bepanthan, oddly enough.

10 March, 2007 18:16  
Blogger Lee said...

My guy gave me a tube of Vitamin A & D ointment. Same deal, shower gently, no scrubbing, pat it dry or air dry for a bit, then the thinnest layer of the ointment. I usually let it dry till it started to feel a little tight and itchy. My last one covered most of me back, so the peeling stage was disgusting. That reminds me, I need to make an appointment to finish it up! Yours is looking beautiful!!!

11 March, 2007 01:12  
Blogger mist1 said...

I need a touch up. Two days after I got one of my tattoos, I went to the beach and sat in the sun and swam and did all the things that you're not supposed to do.

11 March, 2007 17:55  
Blogger Gardenia said...

Very nice tat - looks like the color is exceptionally brilliant! Keep us posted with pics.

I did the overnight saran wrap thing for 3 nights - kept the tat moist with something - can't remember what...healed quickly, nicely

12 March, 2007 12:11  
Blogger * (asterisk) said...

Lee: No fun trying to put ointment on your back, I'd imagine. Even if you get someone else to do it... Somehow it seems better doing it yourself cos you can feel if it feels okay, if you know what I mean. You should post a pic or two.

Mist1: Yeah, you shouldn't have done that. As you know.

Gardenia: Thank you. Yeah, the clingfilm is a real boost at nights. Saves the sheets, at least!

12 March, 2007 12:38  
Blogger Odat said...

I came here from Pickled Olives post to see your tatoo...very very cool! I got my first one in August last year...
Peace

12 March, 2007 14:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

use germolene after washing just to keep it sterile,then apply a thin layer of E45 cream as a moisturiser, do this twice a day and your laughing. i have many tattoos but my japanese coi carp chest and arms, soon to be full body suite are my pride and joy and look like the day they were done 5 year ago...just take care of them...hope this helps? webbo..

07 February, 2009 13:14  

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