If you are unsure at any point how to care for your new tattoo, or have any questions at all, please contact the shop. We want to ensure you keep your tattoo looking beautiful!
You have a responsibility to look after your new tattoo – the way you look after your tattoo plays a large role in the final product. Correct healing is essential.
The artist will wrap your finished tattoo in a bandage to hold in some of the bleeding and to protect it from outside elements. Please leave it on for a minimum of 4 hours. You will have this tattoo forever – your friends can wait 4 hours to see it.
You can leave the bandage on for a maximum of 24 hours. It is strongly recommended that you keep it covered the first night while you sleep – this will protect your tattoo from the sheets and vice versa.
Tattoos are superficial wounds and do not need to be covered once the original bandage is removed.
When you remove the bandage, immediately wash the tattoo. Wash the area with a fragrance-free (no perfumes/scents) soap and the palm of your hand. This will remove the naturally-occurring blood cells and Vaseline as well as any debris that might have collected. Do not use a wash-cloth as they can hold bacteria and introduce lint to the tattoo. Pat (don’t rub) the tattoo dry, with either a paper towel or other very clean towel.
If you are using a product like Tattoo Goo or other tattoo-specific ointment, you may apply it after the first cleaning. We like Webber (make sure you get the unscented kind). If at any point you feel stinging from applying a soap or a cream, stop using it – it probably has perfume in it.
A general point to remember is that it is better to leave a tattoo alone than to fuss with it too much. Trust that your body knows how to heal itself.
You have removed the bandage, washed the tattoo and let it be for 24 hours. It is now time to start moisturizing. Once again, if you feel stinging it is too soon or the product you are using is too harsh. Stop and let your tattoo rest a while. Try again the next day.
The point of the moisturizer is to help control the scab. The scab must not get overly thick or to the point of cracking – this might push out too much ink and leave you with gaps in your lines or colour. Moisturizer will also help alleviate much of the itching associated with a healing tattoo.
Apply the moisturizer at least 2 – 3 times a day or as needed. Place a very thin layer and gently rub it into your skin until it is absorbed. Because it is very dry in the Yukon, you may need to moisturize every couple of hours. If you are traveling back to a coastal area, you are probably fine applying lotion a couple times a day. Monitor the tattoo and don’t let it get too cracked or itchy.
The Healing Process
After a couple of days, your tattoo may start to peel and you will see bits of colour flaking off. The image may appear to fade back quite a bit. This is totally normal. Keep applying the lotion and your tattoo will be healed within 5 days. After 2 weeks it will look how it’s going to look forever if you look after it properly.
No Sun – No Soaking – No Picking!
No sun: keep your tattoo completely out of the sun while it is healing, and after that it is a good idea to cover or use sun-screen on your tattoos when you are outside.
No soaking: while showering, just keep your tattoo in the water long enough to wash, then turn around. No swimming, baths, hot tubs, etc. are allowed for the first two weeks. Your tattoo must not get too dry, but soaking is just as bad as it could pull out ink.
No picking: just don’t, OK? Scratching actually releases histamines that create more itching, so best to just ignore the itch.
Proper nutrition and general self-care can greatly affect your tattoo. If your lifestyle includes daily drinking or junk food, make sure you make a point of eating some fruit in the days around when you get your tattoo. Pineapple and bananas add electrolytes and potassium to your body and help with the healing process. Drink lots of water and get enough sleep. Be rested when you come in.
Clients who consume a lot of alcohol immediately after getting a tattoo often find that the healing process is delayed and/or they lose ink as a result, requiring a touch-up soon after. While touch-ups are free, clients may be charged a small fee for a touch-up if there are obvious signs of disregard during the healing period.
Please note: clients who show up for appointments either intoxicated or very hung-over will be kindly asked to reschedule.
Should I worry?
Probably not. Modern tattoo shops (like this one) are clean environments that use only disposable materials – they are not the smoke-filled, back alley shops of yore. The risk of transmitted disease or infection is technically possible but highly unlikely. By following the basic principles outlined in these aftercare instructions you will be fine. Your tattoo will start to heal within hours, going through a natural process of scabbing, peeling, itching and then emerging as the beautiful tattoo you will have for life. If you do worry your tattoo is not healing as it should, Yukon HealthGuide Online provides information about tattoo risks here. If that worries you further, call 811 to talk to a nurse.
In rare cases, a person might have a reaction to a certain colour of ink. Some shops use ink from China (which may contain lead) and some pigments can be made with cochineal as dye. We use 100% vegan and organic ink that is made in Canada. People who take their chances in sub-standard shops with non-professional tattoo “artists” risk having inferior inks put into their skin in questionable environments.
If you have any questions at all about our sanitary practices or any other safety concerns, please come in and talk with us. But don’t just take our word for it – we are fully endorsed by Yukon Environmental Health.