OLIVIA DODDS ON TATTOO AFTERCARE


Hi, I’m liv, a tattoo apprentice based in Newcastle, U.K. I’m currently open to most styles and mostly tattoo linework style pieces, though I do adapt to various styles. I would love to eventually specialize in traditional but definitely like to keep my options open! You can check out my work over on Instagram.


Why taking care of a fresh tattoo is important


So you’ve got a new tattoo, maybe it’s your first, or perhaps it’s one of many, either way, you want it to look good right? To be able to show your mates a few years from now and have the same feeling you did doing that first look in the mirror at the studio? That’s where aftercare comes in.


How to care for a healed tattoo

The main thing to ensure the longevity of your tattoo is protecting it from the sun which means, you guessed it, sunscreen is your friend (just make sure your tattoo is fully healed before you use it). Other than that, just be kind to your skin, exfoliate, use a revival moisturizer to give your tattoos a new lease of life, and stay hydrated!


How to care for a fresh tattoo

The first and most important step is to make sure you’re wrapped up! Your tattooist should’ve used some kind of wrap or cling film at the end of your appointment which will stop any rubbing from clothes or other surfaces that can introduce bacteria to your tattoo. You should essentially treat your new ink as an open wound, which leads to the next step: Keep it clean! After 1-2 hours you should remove the wrap and give it a gentle (emphasis on GENTLE) wash. This should be done with clean hands and an unfragranced, natural soap – don’t scrub! I like to work up a lather in my hands, gently rub this onto the skin, splash water on, then pat dry with a clean towel. Do this at least morning, afternoon, and night (and obviously any time it may get dirty, especially if you’ve been out and about) for the first week or two. Make sure if you are showing off your new ink you’re not letting anyone touch it, the last thing you want is an infection! Try and eliminate all sources of bacteria from coming into contact with your skin to prevent this, fresh bedsheets and pj’s (remember, keep it loose!) is definitely a good idea. It’s also super important to keep your tattoo nice and moisturized during the healing process to prevent it from drying out. This should be done several times a day, especially after washing, and any other time it feels too dry. Keeping your tattoo moisturizer and clean will also help with the itch! Don’t smother it though, a thin layer is fine, and remember to let it breathe.


Favourite aftercare


My personal top 3 are Kindred Ink, The Aftercare Company, and Checkmate. Kindred ink offer revive, enhance and protect serums, catering to any of your ink needs – new or old, and you can grab 20% off with code “LIV20”. Checkmate offers a bunch of handmade vegan tattoo aftercare products and is definitely a brand to keep an eye on! The aftercare company also offers a bunch of products, vegan and otherwise, for any tattoo/piercing needs!


What not to do
  1. Get hammered. Alcohol thins blood causing you to bleed more which will affect your healing process, stick to the soft drinks for a day or two!

  2. Soak it in the bath. Tonnes of scented products like bath bombs, and submerging your new tattoo in water for long is not a good idea, instead stick to natural, fragrance free soaps and showers for at least 2-3 weeks.

  3. Sorry holiday people, your tattoo might look good on your Ibiza snaps but it’s a big no-no. Swimming pools and the sun will not keep your tattoo fresh and happy whilst it’s healing, neither will suncream during the healing process!

  4. Wear tight clothes. You’ll want to wear loose clothes to your appointment so you’re comfortable, but it’s also important to give your new ink some breathing room and not suffocate it. Sorry lads, the skin tight long sleeves to show off your gains will have to wait.

  5. False tan. Big no. Wait until it’s healed.

  6. Last is a no-brainer but, DONT SCRATCH! trust me, when your tattoo heals poor, we will know.