How do tattoos heal?
04.02.2018 — Storyville
Have you ever wondered how tattoos heal? Exactly what stages does a tattoo go through in the healing stages? Well get comfy because studio owner Nick Horn is about to reveal all!
How Tattoos Heal
The first stage is when you’ve just had your new tattoo completed, or at least the first session if it’s a large one! Your tattoo artist will cover your new tattoo with a barrier protection of some sort. We use anti-microbial clingfilm. This prevents anything getting to the new tattoo that might cause infection or slow the healing process in any way. It’s also so that the tattoo can’t leak onto your bed sheets. Which is going to happen so maybe throw on some old sheets for your first night!
After a few hours wash your tattoo in the shower with warm running water and your normal soap. It’s best to use uncoloured, unscented soap. All the gunk (it’s really the only word to describe it!) that has accumulated on your tattoo while it was covered will easily wash off. You’ll be left with a beautiful, clean new tattoo!
The next stage comes a couple of days later when your skin will start to form a light scab. This shouldn’t be a huge scab, just a very healthy light cover. This is the really important part… it will be really itchy but do not scratch! You really are going to want to but you’re only going to damage your tattoo so try to get zen and let it wash over you. Not the most fun but certainly worth it in the long run as the less you interfere with the scab while it’s healing, the better it’s going to heal. A little moisturiser will help take the edge off the itch – I recommend cocoa butter and Andrew likes Aveeno, but just a little of either.
After 10 or so days the scab will come off and you’re straight into stage 3, the silver skin stage. At this point your tattoo is essentially healed but will still need care as it can still be damaged. The best idea is to keep moisturising it and be mindful of it. After a few days of entering this stage you can go back to having baths so if you’re in the depths of winter it’s time to soak and relax!
The fourth stage is the longest stage. The silver skin has settled down by this point but you’re not yet back to what can only be termed as ‘normal’ skin. By this stage there’s no discernible way to tell that your skin was ever going through a healing process. Except for that beautiful tattoo you now have! You can expect it to take around 6 months before you reach fully healed and back to normal. It won’t itch or cause any issues though so nothing much to think about. It’s pretty difficult to do any damage during this period but as always moisturiser and sun block are your best friends!
And that’s it really, just keep your tattoo clean and occasionally use a little moisturiser. You’ll be grand!