How to Properly Heal Your Tattoos and Bring Vibrancy Back to Old Ones

Needle tattooing

Emily Cohen / Melissa Arpino / Published: July-16-21

Let's talk tattoos

Since the 1970s, tattoos have transformed from an act of rebellion to become more accepted and appreciated by society. Tattoos are shared among all genders, races, and economic classes. A study done by Dalia Research found that 38% of global respondents say they have at least one tattoo. With numbers rising, it's good to know how tattoos are applied to the skin and how to properly take care of them long-term.

The Science

The skin comprises three different layers: The epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous layer. Each of these layers has its own important job to keep your skin healthy. The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin that creates skin tone and is a protective barrier against outside forces such as infections. The dermis is the middle layer which contains hair follicles, sweat glands, and a layer of connective tissue. The hypodermis or the subcutaneous layer is made up of fat and connective tissue, which is attached to muscle and bone under the skin.
When a tattoo is put onto your skin, it needs to penetrate the dermis (the middle layer) to be permanent. The body responds to this process with white blood cells, which absorb the foreign particles and dispose of them through the bloodstream. Pigment particles (tattoo ink) are too big to be eaten by the white blood cells, which is how the tattoo becomes permanent on your body.

If the needle penetrates deeper, it could cause a "blowout," which happens when ink is sent below the dermis, causing the ink to spread out in a layer of fat. This is why it's essential to do your research on the artist before getting a tattoo!

Tattoo artists use a handheld machine that makes thousands of small tiny pricks into the skin. There are tons of different kinds of needles in tattooing, some for outlining, shading, and others are for fine linework. A tattoo artist will most likely use a couple different needle sizes for one tattoo.
To ensure the tattoo will stay vibrant, crisp, and beautiful with age, you must take tattoo aftercare seriously. Remember that a fresh tattoo should be treated as an open wound. The skin has been through a lot and needs time to heal. One of the most significant suggestions from tattoo artists is to keep the new ink out of the sun and reduce exposure as much as possible. After roughly 6 weeks, when the tattoo has completed the healing process, you can go ahead and apply sunscreen to your new body art. This will protect the tattoo from the harsh rays of the sun and keep it looking new.
Other tattoo tips

Depending on your tattoo and artist, they might recommend a different procedure for aftercare. A pretty general rule is to keep it clean and wash it with unscented soap two times a day for the first two weeks. The first 3 days after getting your tattoo, your artist will probably recommend a healing ointment like Aquaphor to ensure fast and happy healing.

After that, switch to an unscented aftercare lotion such as Ink My Whole Body by Stripped Beauty. This tattoo aftercare lotion is infused with Shea Butter, Hemp Oil, and other skin-healing ingredients to help moisturize and replenish the harsh aftermath of a tattoo. Not only is this product great for new tattoos, but it will also bring vibrancy back and help restore the look to old tattoos. 15% of the proceeds of "Ink My Whole Body" go to The Last Prisoner Project.

Remember, all skin types are different, and some people will heal faster or slower than others. Keep in mind that people may have different pain tolerances and reactions after a tattoo. It is always important to consult with your artist about the proper care for your specific tattoo.

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