When you get that new tattoo, you will probably take extra special care of it, if you’re like the majority of tattoo customers. But did you know that by taking “extra” care of your tattoo, you could be hurting the long-term appearance of your ink?
While neglecting your new tattoo can be a bad thing, focusing too much on tattoo aftercare can also harm your tattoo, and the usual culprit is overmoisturizing. So yes: you can apply too much healing ointment, you can apply it too often, and water can mess up your tattoo!
This might seem counterintuitive, and even some experts are mixed on this topic because at the root, there are two inter-related issues: healing speed and healing effectiveness.
By applying thick coats of healing ointment five to six times per day, you can dramatically speed up the healing process. But healing fast doesn’t necessarily mean healing well. In the process, this overmoisturization will cause your inks to lose their color and saturation. So while your tattoo will scab over and heal faster, it will look worse.
Another problem is overmoisturization from water. Most people know that chlorinated water is very, very harmful to a new tattoo. But also, any oversaturation is bad, including the average shower, for the same reasons mentioned above: they will result in some level of fading.
To combat these dangers, be sure to follow your tattoo artist’s aftercare instructions to the letter. Here are a few more guidelines:
- Apply a thin film of antibiotic ointment four times per day, making sure not to use too much. A thin film is all you need.
- Wear loosely fitting, breathable clothing over your tattoo until it scabs over.
- Don’t swim or take baths.
- Take short showers, and attempt to keep your tattoo out of the water. You can loosely cover it, or just try to hold it out of the water.
Moisture isn’t bad — overmoisturization is bad. Keep that from happening and you have a good shot of finding just the right balance between healing time and healing effectiveness.