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How to Include Tattoo Care in Your Skincare Routine

New tattoo? We have advice. Here's how to include your tattoo in your skincare routine

Make caring for your tattoo a part of your regular skincare routine

Your new tattoo finally healed, and it looks totally amazing! You want to make sure it continues to look crisp and vibrant for years to come, and that entails taking good care of it. You already have a skincare routine in place to keep the rest of your skin clean and moisturized, and including your tattooed skin into the mix is a simple as adding a few steps into your regimen.

What Makes My Tattooed Skin Different from My Non-Tattooed Skin?

A lot of people assume tattooed skin is the same as their normal skin, but this isn’t the case. Your tattoos cost quite a bit of time and money to obtain, so you want to make sure you’re caring for them in a way that promises they’ll look good forever. Over time, skin ages—that is a fact of life. However, when tattooed skin is neglected, the wear and tear is far more visible. In neglected tattooed skin, signs of wrinkling, fading, and blurring are far easier to spot.

Luckily, taking special precautions for your tattoos parallels the same steps you likely already follow in your regular skincare routine. Following these normal steps (with a few tweaks) will ensure your tattoos will maintain their crispness and vibrancy over time.

How Do I Include Tattoo Care for a Brand New Tattoo In My Skincare Routine?

Fresh tattoos require more intensive care during their healing stages. Typically, most new tattoos will be fully healed within one to two weeks of getting them. These healing times can vary due to a variety of factors such as skin type, size of the new tattoo, and types of inks used.

During the healing process, your new tattoo will become scabby, dry, and flaky—this is completely normal! Skin modifications such as tattooing and piercing cause light trauma to the surface of the skin, which requires it to heal itself. Don’t panic if your new tattoo doesn’t look the same as it did the day you had it done. Once it completes its healing process, it will look just as sharp and vibrant.

While your tattoo is going through this itchy healing process, it is important to properly care for the affected area. While new tattoos should peel, flake, and scab, they should not “crack.” Cracking refers to the newly tattooed skin becoming overly dry to the point of cracking open and bleeding. This is an invitation for potential infection. At the very least, a cracking tattoo could heal improperly, leaving the image faded or distorted.

The best way to avoid a cracking tattoo is to cleanse the area and apply a moisturizer to it multiple times per day. To cleanse the area, opt for a mild, dye-free, and fragrance-free soap. This eliminates the chance of any additive chemicals from causing your skin to burn or become overly irritated.

There are specialized moisturizing products made specifically for healing tattoos. These products can usually be purchased at your local tattoo shop or online. Your tattoo artist can recommend a good brand that will help your tattoo heal and hold in moisture during the process. Finding the best lotion for tattoos will go a long way in helping your tattoo look its best for years to come.

How Do I Include Tattoo Care for a Healed Tattoo In My Skincare Routine?

A good skincare routine already includes a regular dose of a moisturizer. Tattoos, like the rest of your skin, need regular moisturization to remain bright and healthy. However, there are certain types of moisturizers you should seek when considering tattoo care.

A good moisturizer for tattooed skin is unscented and dye-free. You also want to seek a formula that avoids using harsh ingredients such as alcohol. Choosing to use lotions with formulas with harsh ingredients could not only directly damage your tattoos, but also damage them indirectly—consider irritation such as overly-drying skin, repetitive scratching, and fading of ink colors.

How Do I Protect My Tattoos From Fading in the Sun?

Every good daytime skincare routine finishes strong with an application of sunscreen. Besides protecting your skin from potentially harmful UV rays and sun damage, sunscreen also holds huge benefits for tattoos.

Exposure to the sun without any protection can lead to premature wrinkling, fading, and blurring in tattooed skin. Tattoos that are overexposed to the sun without any protection may appear blurry and faded much quicker over time. Any sunscreen with a strong SPF will protect a tattoo from fading.

Resources — WebMD, Byrdie

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