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Think after you ink

After the tattoo artist has given you post-care advice, it's in your hands to make the tattoo stay good. The life of your tattoo depends on the care it receives within the first few days.

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After the tattoo artist has given you post-care advice, it's in your hands to make the tattoo stay good. The life of your tattoo depends on the care it receives within the first few days.

"An artist can make the best tattoo possible, but retaining it on your skin can only be done by you," says tattoo artist Alwyn Alva, from Al's Tattoo Studio.

“Indian skin pigments don't take in too much colour, mainly black. Look at dead rapper 2pac Shakur's tattoo, it was amazing but hardly be seen,” he says.

Serum always flows out of a fresh tattoo; hence cling foil prevents your clothes from the stain. “Treat your tattoo like a newborn baby,” says Vikas Malani, tattoo artist at Junk Funk at Bandra.

He says diet is essential in the outcome of a tattoo as you have to heal internally too. “Don't drink alcohol 24 hours before your tattoo; it increases blood circulation and your tattoo will bleed longer,” he says.

To avoid pus formation, for the first 10 days avoid alcohol, meat, potatoes, egg and any starchy foods. Also drink about two and a half litres of water daily.

Cosmetic surgeon Dr Anil Nirale recommends that you stop smoking completely at least two weeks before.

“Vitamin C tablets two weeks before and six weeks after tattooing help healing. Also a diet rich of fresh vegetables and fruit helps,” he says.

A tattoo begins to scab after three to four days. “Try to prolong the period before scabbing. Avoid wearing tight clothes. If your tattoo is at a spot where your belt might hit it, avoid bunching it up. Let your skin breathe,” says Alva. It is best to keep the tattoo moisturised every few hours with a soothing cream or lotion.

Other things to keep in mind while caring for your tattoo

Do

  • Remove bandage from tattoo two hours after completion.
  • Wash your tattoo gently with lukewarm water, using a mild antibacterial soap.
  • Pat dry. Never rub or scrub
  • Use an ice pack if swelling or redness occurs.
  • Call your artist and the doctor if you have even the slightest signs of infection.
  • Keep your tattoo away from pets and little children to avoid contamination and infection.

Don't

  • Soak the tattoo in water or let the shower pound directly on it. Simply keep it moist when it is scabbing.
  • Avoid sun, sea and the swimming pool until healed. Chlorine irritates the skin.
  • Pick at any scab that may form – it will fall off as it heals, usually in one to three weeks.

 

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