Tattoo Hygiene and Frequently Asked Questions
DOES IT HURT?
Everyone has a different level of tolerance for pain, and depending on the size and location of your tattoo, the levels will vary. Relax, you are in the hands of competent professionals! The location of the tattoo is often related to how painful the tattoo can be, these charts show typical pain spots for tattoos on male and female bodies… View tattoo pain charts.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
If this is your first tattoo, sometimes the anticipation can be un-nerving, don’t worry, Underground Arts tattooists have handled literally hundreds of first-time tattoos. You can even bring a friend with you for moral support. Here’s a great video from one girl about her first tattoo experience:
Underground Arts’ studio is fitted with all the latest hygiene apparatus; all needles used are NEW, and hygienic standards are of uptmost importance to each and every tattoo created. Come and ask, and we will gladly show you our procedures and equipment.
Your Tattoo has been applied using sterilized equipment, but the aftercare is just as important…
After your tattoo has been applied, your artist will cover it with a dressing (like GladWrap) to protect the tattoo until you get home. It is at this point that the scab will form.
Remove the bandage carefully after about an hour and a half. If the bandage tries to stick, moisten it with warm water and remove gently. DO NOT just tear it off.
Wash and clean the tattooed area once or twice a day until the tattooed skin heals (usually two weeks).
Showering is allowed but keep soaps and shampoos out of the tattoo area. Try to avoid the water directly hitting the tattoo — it can get waterlogged.
DO USE a foaming soap. But DO NOT use a bar of soap as it can contaminate and dry the new tattoo and DO NOT use anti-bacterial soap either — the skin has a natural, friendly population of bacteria that helps to protect the surface of the wound, anti-bacterial products kill nasty bacteria but also kill the friendly, natural bacteria, leaving the skin without its primary defence mechanism.
After washing, gently rinse and dry the area. DO NOT rub with a wash cloth or sponge. Pat dry. After drying wait 40-60 minutes to allow excess water in the tattoo to evaporate and inflammation to subside.
DO NOT re-bandage! If you must wear clothing over the tattoo make sure it’s the type that can serve as a loose-fitting bandage — soft, clean and loose. Remember to give the healing tattoo plenty of exposure to fresh air as well.
– Apply the tattoo cream/balm
Tattoo balm is available from Underground Arts and other tattoo suppliers.
Always wash your hands before applying cream or touching the tattoo.
For the first 3 days, apply a THIN, layer of tattoo balm/cream/ointment, 2 – 3 times a day (usually after washing/drying the tattoo) to keep the tattoo slightly moist. DO NOT allow the skin to completely dry out.
Apply a tiny bit and rub in as you would a hand lotion. Evenly apply the cream over the tattooed skin. Rub the cream in gently as this will help stimulate the skin and bring blood flow to the area which helps in the body’s natural healing process. DO NOT leave a thick film on the surface. Most people experience a mild tingling sensation after the first few applications, this is quite normal.
Blot off any excess with a clean paper towel.
After 10 minutes or so, clothing will not stick to the tattoo cream but make sure to wear loose, clean clothes — close-fitting clothes may absorb the cream and dry out the freshly tattooed skin which should be avoided.
After the first 3 days, you can switch to a dye-free, scent-free lotion.
– Other rules
Never scratch or pick at your tattoo while it is healing. If a scab forms, let it fall off naturally. DO NOT PICK AT IT!
DO NOT expose the tattoo to direct sunlight or tanning beds for the first two weeks or until completely healed.
DO NOT swim, soak in bathtubs or saunas for at least two weeks or until completely healed. The sun, saltwater, and chlorine act as bleach which will result in a faded tattoo.
DO NOT shave over your tattoo until it is completely healed.
(For women:) Do not wear pantyhose over your new tattoo until completely healed.