-Tattoo Aftercare: The Best and The Worst-
Let’s look at a scenario: You’ve informed everyone you know that you are about to get a tattoo. You get the following advice—
-Your buddy Joe tells you that his girlfriend’s Uncle’s roommate was an artist a few years ago and he ONLY used plastic wrap on his work.
-That hot barista at your local coffee shop suggests using all natural paper towels and masking tape.
-Your tattoo artist initially wraps it in a Telfa pad (a non-stick, absorbent pad) and gives you instruction for what to do once you remove the initial wrapping.
Which do you choose?
-Plastic Wrap is NOT Proper Tattoo Bandaging!-
If you’ve chosen an artist from a reputable, licensed, and clean studio the easiest choice is follow the instructions of that person. According to the National Tattoo Association and the Association for Professional Tattooists plastic wrap is incredibly bad for healing tattoos. In fact, they have outlawed the use of it at their Tattoo Conventions—if you are caught using plastic wrap in your booth you will be removed.
But why is plastic wrap so bad? Plastic wrap creates an occlusive seal—meaning no air can get out and worse, no fresh air can get in! This keeps all the bodily fluids, such as lymph, pooling at the surface stuck under a layer of plastic. Now, imagine how warm your skin could become when trapped under a layer of plastic; now you’ve now created a 103˚ bacteria breeding ground right on top of your brand new tattoo!
Being that you’ve created a hot, wet environment where bacteria is running rampant, what happens if that trapped moisture drips down outside of your plastic wrap and onto the surrounding area? Not only have you created a bacteria breeding ground on your own skin, now you’ve spread that bacteria to other people via your dripping plastic wrap!
-Paper Towels DO NOT Work-
While it is acceptable to use a paper towels to gently pat dry a freshly cleaned tattoo, you absolutely should not use it as a bandage in any shape or form. Paper towels are scratchy, and potentially extremely unclean in terms of bacteria and chemicals imbedded in the cloth.
As well, once you remove your initial bandage, there is no need to replace it with a new bandage wrap. The idea that you need to recreate your initial bandage with paper towels (or any other bandage) is incorrect and can do much more harm than good to your tattoo.
-The Best Way to Heal-
Tattoo aftercare has come a long way since we first started stabbing inks into our skin in caves long ago. There have been so many advances in proper technique and it continues to change as we learn more and more about the human body and how it heals.
It is important to listen to your artist and their instructions for your new tattoo. Here at Midnight Moon Tattoo, we provide an aftercare sheet with every new tattoo that explains all what we consider the best practices for your healing. We recommend Redemption Tattoo Healing Lubricant in our shop, but any non-petroleum based tattoo aftercare ointment will work. We want what is best for you and your new artwork and would love to help you in any way possible. Happy Healing!