Fresh tattoos can take anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks to heal. During this healing phase, there are 7 things that can ruin your new tattoo before it has even healed.
1. Bad art from a bad artist
It's possible to ruin your new tattoo by choosing an unskilled artist. When speaking about skills, I'm not referring to their artistic skills. This would be about the artists' tattooing procedure and application skills. Everyone's skin is different skin. Healthy, unhealthy, plump, loose, tight, oily, or dry. Our skin's surface, thickness, and tightness are also different throughout our bodies. These differences can have a detrimental impact on how the ink lays into your skin.
An inexperienced artist can further implicate this. Finding and choosing an experienced artist goes without question
2. Keeping your fresh tattoo covered too long
Fresh tattoos are open wounds, and after the tattoo session, the artist will cover your new tattoo. Every artist has a different preference for what they use. Some still use the old school plastic Saran Wrap crap made for sandwiches. Try to avoid using this food cellophane wrap on new ink.
Wrapping a fresh tattoo is essential to help the initial healing while providing protection from environmental contaminants like dirt, germs or anything else that should not go near an open wound.
After the wrap has been on for a few hours, you will start to see blood and plasma underneath. Once this happens, it's time to remove the wrap, as this can block your skin pores from breathing. This can ruin your new tattoo before the first day is over. And trust me, I've ruined two tattoos by leaving the wrap on too long as per the artist's instructions. The bandage or wrap should stay on no longer than 6-8 hours max. If using products like Saniderm or Dermalize, you can always remove it, clean the tattoo and apply a new layer.
3. Tattoo Infections
As discussed above, the post-procedure wrapping helps protect your skin from getting infected. Once unwrapped, keep your skin clean and follow proper tattoo aftercare instructions. This will ensure your new tattoo heals without getting infected.
During tattoo healing, avoid touching your ink unless washing or applying aftercare. It's very easy to transfer dirt and germs onto your fresh tattoo (open wound) from dirty hands.
4. Sleeping with a fresh tattoo
Getting a goods night's sleep can be awkward during the tattoo healing process. Even more awkward is the size and location of your new tattoo. Try to avoid laying on the tattoo, and or having it covered under the sheets or blankets.
Covering a fresh tattoo under blankets or sheets can cause a risk of infection. The bed is a great place for hidden germs that you do not want to get into an open wound. The same as above, your skin needs to breathe, so not covering up under the sheets helps.
Then there's the issue of laying on the tattoo. You risk having the tattoo stick to the bed or pick up dirt and germs. You can always lay down a clean towel on the bed if you need to.
Another option for sleeping is applying a breathable medical wrap like Saniderm. Make sure to remove it as soon as you wake up so that there's not too much blood and plasma accumulation.
5. Cleaning and excess water exposure
Keeping a fresh tattoo clean goes without question. So never submerge a fresh tattoo underwater. Also, avoid excessive water exposure while showering. Our skin is like a sponge and it will absorb the water, which can damage the tattoo.
When it comes to cleaning your new tattoo, make sure you do this several times a day. You can read our 17 Best Tips To Heal New Tattoos here.
6. Picking or scratching itchy or peeling skin
During the tattoo healing stages, some people experience itchy and scabby skin. The reason for this to happen is part of your skin's healing process. But whatever you do, resist the urge to pick or peel your skin as this can damage the color and lines of your new tattoo.
To avoid or end any itchy peeling skin during tattoo healing, always use a good aftercare product. Keep your tattoo clean and moisturized several times throughout the day. Don't let your tattoo get dry, and only apply a thin layer of tattoo aftercare after every cleaning.
Now, in regards to peeling and itchy skin, I have never suffered from this. I followed the above directions and none of my 21 tattoos have ever peeled or got itchy.
7. Excessive sun exposure
Excessive sun exposure is a fast way to ruin a new tattoo. Be aware of any direct sun exposure on your fresh ink. If you must be outside, always keep your tattoo covered, for at least the first 40 days. Cover Up with clothing or try to stay out of the sun.
Never apply any sunscreen on a fresh tattoo. Some of these products have ingredients that are not good for your fresh ink during healing. A list of nasty skincare ingredients will be for another blog.
After your new tattoo has healed, make sure to keep it protected with quality sunscreen product if going outside. Excessive direct UVA/UVB sun exposure accelerates skin aging, which causes tattoo fading.
BONUS TIPS TO KEEP YOUR TATTOOS BRIGHT
8. Getting older and aging skin
Getting older is a fact of life. Skin is the largest organ in your body, which unfortunately shows the earliest signs of aging. Which results in your tattoos looking faded.
Over time your skin naturally loses its elasticity and ability to hold and lock in moisture. The skin's collagen and elastin break down, causing your skin to become loose and wrinkled. This is when your tattoos fine lines and details become blurry and washed out.
Several factors accelerate skin aging and tattoo fading:
1. Protect your ink from UV radiation. The sun is the single most damaging factor that accelerates skin aging and tattoo fading. Apply sunscreen anytime you are going to be outside with exposed tattoos. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen and with a sun protection factor SPF of 30 or higher.