If you're reading this, you probably just got your first ink. Hurray, congratulations! Now comes the hard part—the aftercare. This step is important because it will determine whether or not your tattoo will heal properly and last for a long time. If you're in the dark with what to do, we asked Kenneth Abad, a professional tattoo artist and body piercer from 55 Tinta, to share his expertise on how to properly take care of new body art. Keep on scrolling to read his answers:
What are the things or activities you can't do after getting a tattoo?
1. Don't swim in any body of water.
Avoid going on beach trips with your friends when you have a fresh tattoo. Even getting wet by the rain is also a big no-no! All these activities might infect your tattoo and ruin its healing process.
2. Don't expose your tattoo to direct sunlight.
According to Kenneth, exposure to the sun's UV rays is the number one cause of your tattoo losing its vibrancy. It will also make its colors fade faster. If you want to preserve the hues of your ink, don't forget to apply sunblock to the area religiously.
3. Don't tire yourself out with strenuous activities.
Excessive sweating over your new tattoo is never a good idea. Because it's an open wound, bacteria might enter your skin and ruin your new ink.
4. Don't wear tight clothing.
Try to avoid rubbing your tattoo in any way. As much as possible, wear loose clothing to let your skin breathe.
5. Don't scratch or pick at your tattoo.
Tattoos that are a few days old have a tendency to get really itchy—resist the urge to scratch it! "Peeling is part of the healing process and picking at it might cause the skin to prematurely peel and make a deeper wound. This will cause a scar and can ruin the area of the tattoo," Kenneth shares. The dirt from your nails may also enter your skin and cause infections.
What are your tattoo aftercare tips?
"Remove the bandage or plastic wrap within one to four hours of getting your tattoo, then wash the area with cold water and anti-bacterial and hypoallergenic soaps. Pat the skin dry using a clean towel or tissue," Kenneth states.
Kenneth strongly advises not to apply petroleum jelly. According to him, "Petroleum jelly, especially when applied too thick, causes your fresh tattoo to secrete more plasma. And because it's oil-based, it becomes hot and uncomfortable especially when you're exposed to the sun."
Ways to help the healing process of your tattoo:
1. Apply ointments and creams.
There are tons of tattoo aftercare products that can be hard to find at drugstores. Kenneth recommends Vitamin A and D ointment, Drapolene cream, Bepathen ointment, and Aquaphor to his clients. Make sure to apply two to three times a day, preferably after taking a shower. After four to five days, he usually tells them to switch to any kind of moisturizer as long as there's no brightening agent. He suggests using baby products such as Cetaphil and Aveeno as they are very gentle on the skin.
2. Leave your tattoo alone.
This one is essentially just leaving your tattoo alone and just cleaning it with your usual body wash in the shower. Even though you don't mind your ink too much, Kenneth still recommends moisturizing the skin as much as you need as this is the scabbing stage when the tattoo starts to itch and crack.
*This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph. Minor edits have been made by the Preview.ph editors.