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Video:Aftercare: How To Care For a New Tattoo

with Clinton Ransdell

Tattoo aftercare is important for healing in the days and weeks after getting a tattoo, and longterm care will keep your ink looking great for life. Find out the essentials in tattoo after care and protection.See Transcript

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Transcript:Aftercare: How To Care For a New Tattoo

Hi - my name is Clinton Ransdell with Artistic Skin Designs in Indianapolis, Indiana - and this is About.com and How to Take Care of a Tattoo.

Tattoo Healing Time

Tattoos usually take somewhere between a week and a half, two weeks to heal and recover - in that time frame they mostly feel like a sunburn - maybe a little scabby and for the most part you want to try not to pick or scratch at any of the flaky dead skin.

Keep New Tattoos Clean and Dry

Tattoo aftercare is something that varies pretty heavily from artist to artist - I'd mostly encourage you to do what your artist encourages, unless you have a lot of work and have something that works for you. The main thing to me is that my clients keep it clean and dry. Take time out to wash the tattoo with a mild body soap - most people's bodies being healthy and left alone, a tattoo will heal.

Apply a Tattoo Aftercare Product

After the first day or so, it's alright to begin to use aftercare products. They range from Aquaphor to A&D - being a more old school aftercare, most artists will give that to their clients. Petroleum-based products such as A&D and Vaseline, things of that nature - the biggest problem is that they are petroleum, they're very easy to overuse, clog the pores and prevent oxygen - a lot of people will get little bumps in response to that. I would say that if you are going to use A&D - fine product - barely use it, just enough to actually moisturize the tattoo.

Personally I don't put anything on mine for the first 24 hours, but after that - the first three or four days - most people then will switch over to a good lotion - just something without a lot of extras, fragrances, perfumes that kind of thing - just a simple lotion that works well with you. Three to five times a day probably is a nice average - I think it depends a lot on you. If you're considered a particularly "dry" person, you might want to lean more towards that five - if you don't think of yourself that way, maybe less, two to three times a day.

Long-Term Tattoo Care and Protection

As far as long-term care, the sun is probably the main enemy of tattoo work. I would say that black work you really don't have a lot to worry about, but if you have colors it's really important to protect it from the sun. If you expect to be in it for any period of time - particularly whites, yellows, oranges - those really vibrant, more translucent colors are going to suffer from the sun tanning. A high-SPF Chapstick works for some of the small tattoos, or just a really good sun block - or - don't get in the sun. Like I said, I think the main thing is leaving them alone. Keep them clean and dry.

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