Do I Really Need a Tattoo Aftercare Product?

Close-up of a man giving a woman a tattoo
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Question: How Long Until My Tattoo Heals?

I am wondering how long it will take until my tattoo heals? I am not much for using an aftercare product and I have never been diligent with caring for a new tattoo. It has been quite some time since I've been tattooed, and I understand there are plenty of aftercare products on the market that will help heal a new tattoo. Does this mean that my body will heal faster, or just that the results will be better and the work more vivid? I'd really like to know how long until my tattoo heals, and I'm uncomfortable talking to my artist because I don't want the product up-sell, much like at the hairdressers when I am being sold hair products that I will not use. Can't I just go home and let it be? Signed, I'm Not Buying It

Answer: Dear I'm Not Buying It,

You absolutely have a right to watch your wallet. I know exactly what you mean about the product and aftercare up-sell, and I have likely been guilty of being that person up-selling to you in a few different professional situations. In my defense, however, I've only ever made suggestions that were fit for both your current lifestyle needs as well as your budget, and I would hope that has also been your experience.

Nobody, including your tattoo artist, should insist that you buy anything that your pocketbook will not allow. Instead, they should be confident in providing basic aftercare instructions, ones which will result in a beautifully healed tattoo with products that are within your means. That being said, there are many aftercare products on the market that can do an even better job healing your new tattoo than drugstore ointments and lotions, at an even faster rate. If time is money to you, and you're wondering how long until your tattoo heals, you may want to look into a professional tattoo aftercare product for this reason alone. The following tattoo aftercare products are respected by many tattoo professionals, and some are likely carried at local shops in your area: H2Ocean, $12, and Wild Rose's Ink Balm, $11. 

Whether you opt for a more traditional ointment such as A&D, or one of the more advanced tattoo aftercare products, your tattoo artist or the shop should provide instructions on how best to apply and use it. You should follow their instructions accordingly to protect your work. You should also follow the product's manufacturer instructions for best results.

While results and experiences will vary when it comes to tattoo aftercare products, all of them are designed to help heal your tattoo while preventing dryness and peeling, as well as to provide immediate relief from itching. Depending on the size and location of your tattoo, complete healing can take from one to several weeks. It's important to remember that you can not go swimming with a new tattoo, so keep this is mind when you are considering when to get one. 

Because the goal of any tattoo aftercare product is to assist in healing your new ink, that's exactly what you should expect. If you have any adverse reactions such as discomfort, bumps, itching, or oozing, seek the counsel of your artist or prompt medical attention depending on the severity of the symptoms.

While some people opt for standard over the counter lotions and ointments such as A&D or Lubriderm, others report even better results when using the aforementioned tattoo aftercare products. Because your tattoo is a lifetime investment, please consider the extra cost of an aftercare product and factor that in before you get your ink. The few extra dollars you spend will prove worthwhile if your tattoo heals evenly and quickly. Your artist can advise which products they favor and you can make an educated decision based on this information. If you've taken the time to find a reputable tattoo artist, their advice should be trustworthy enough to invest your money on. Best of luck!

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