A tattoo is a personal and permanent work of art. It is also a type of wound. Tattoo machines use a fast-moving needle to inject ink deep into the skin. However, athletes particularly love tattoos. Athletes and tattoos are like two friends that never leave each other. They like to express themselves inside the court. They also want to look cool to intimidate their opposing teams. Some athletes use some stuff like masks, arm sleeves, etc. to make them look cooler.
That said, just as proper care ensures that a painting can hang in a gallery undamaged for years, tattoo aftercare is an important part of preserving a tattoo.
Tattoo aftercare can be confusing, especially if it is the athlete’s first tattoo. This guide will provide detailed instructions on how to care for a new tattoo and keep your skin looking good.
Cover It Up
The artist should apply a thin layer of antibiotic ointment over the tattoo and then cover the area in a bandage or plastic wrap. This covering improves your skin and prevents bacteria from getting into it. It also protects the tattoo from rubbing onto your clothes and getting irritated.
Keep the dressing on for as long as your tattoo artist recommends, which may be just a few hours. It’ll help absorb any fluid or excess ink that leaks from the tattoo.
Gently Wash the Tattoo
After a few hours, you can remove the covering. First wash your hands with water and soap. Then gently wash the tattoo with warm water and fragrance-free soap. Pat your skin dry with a soft cloth.
Apply a small amount of fragrance-free and alcohol-free moisturizer to the tattoo. You can keep the covering off at this point to let your skin breathe.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA)Trusted Source allows some fatty alcohols, such as cetearyl alcohol and cetyl alcohol, to be used in cosmetic products that are labeled “alcohol-free.” Unlike ethanol, fatty alcohols don’t dry out the skin.
Allow It to Breathe
During the first three to four days post-tattoo, you’ll repeat the process of washing your tattoo about two to five times a day, then following with a light layer of ointment. A good amount of air is great for the ink during the healing process, so it’s critical to make sure the skin can breathe. On the first night, it’s normal to wrap the area in plastic wrap, so it doesn’t stick to your bedding, but after that, make sure the design is free from coverage and getting ventilation.
Wait For It to Heal
While your tattoo heals, you should:
- wear sun-protective clothing wherever you go outside
- call your tattoo artist or doctor if you experience any symptoms of infection or other problems
- cover your tattoo with sunblock until it’s fully healed
- scratch or pick at the tattoo
- wear tight clothing over the tattoo
- go swimming or immerse your body in water (showers are fine)
Potential Side Effects and Complications of Tattoos
A tattoo that isn’t properly cared for can get infected. Infected skin will be red, warm, and painful. It may also leak pus.
If the equipment or ink your artist used was contaminated, you could get a bloodborne infection, such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C, tetanus, or HIV.
There have also been reports of other infections, such as nontuberculous mycobacterial skin infections, being transmitted through tattoos.
If you’re sensitive to the ink your artist used, you may develop a red, itchy skin reaction at the site. According to a 2019 study, red dyes are the most likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Research shows that red dyes, along with blue and black dyes, are also more likely to cause non allergic skin reactions such as photosensitivity.