A new tattoo needs to be protected until it heals. While it is fresh your clothing rubbing against it can cause irritation, pain, and possible damage to it. If your new ink is on your arm, or on a part of the body that is typically covered by your clothing how do you protect the ink and still be comfortable in your clothes?
After you get a tattoo, you have to care for it properly to prevent infections, damage, irritation, and scarring.
Covering Up without Damaging
Long sleeves are actually good for a tattoo. The cloth covering the skin reduces contaminants that can get into it because it blocks dirt and germs from making direct contact with the wound.
Long sleeves also help filter out the ultraviolet rays from the sun so that is another layer of protection for your new wound.
Long sleeves can also damage a fresh tattoo. If the sleeves are tight against the area where the new ink was deposited the material can rub the wound, remove scabs that are protecting the wound, and cause bleeding and seepage.
Loose Clothing is Best
To wear long sleeves after getting a tattoo you have to wear sleeves that are not tight or constricting.
Wear clothes that are made of softer materials. Denim and some other materials can be rough and irritating. These materials can irritate skin that does not have a fresh tattoo. They can rub and cause redness and irritation, and they can stop airflow creating a hotter environment that causes the skin to perspire. Perspiration can cause the newly formed protective scabbing to get moist and release.
You really want to avoid fabrics made of wool because the woolen fibers are scratchy and they can cause damage to the art.
Tee-shirt material and some other materials are normally softer and do not cause pain, redness, or irritation.
Most kinds of cotton are soft and do not cause irritation. Lightweight fabrics are best and avoid metallic threads and heavy embroidery because the threads are irritating.
Bandage your new tattoo
Your new tattoo does need air so it can properly heal, but one of the best things you can do is put a bandage over the area before you put on your clothes. The bandage should be made of sterile gauze against the skin and then you can use a wrap that sticks to itself to cover the gauze If the wrap is not possible you can use tape to hold the gauze in place just do not press too firmly on the tattoo area.
You can apply a thin layer of protective ointment to the tattoo before you put the bandage in place. This ointment will help keep bacteria away from the wound and it will stop the wounded area from sticking to the gauze.
When you get home and can dress to give the new tattoo area more freedom you can remove the long sleeves and the bandage so the wound can get air and breathe.
You can wash the ointment away when you do your daily cleansing of the tattoo. Remember that you should wash the area very gently and resist rubbing it with a washcloth or loofah.
You want to splash the water onto the tattoo and then use your fingers to gently massage a mild soap over the area. Once you have done that rinse away the soap by gently splashing more water over it.
Pat the tattoo dry with a soft cotton cloth after washing. Do NOT rub the cloth against the skin. Take your time and slowly pat away the excessive moisture.
Visually check the area for signs of increased redness or swelling. Also, look for any seepage. The seepage could be yellow, clear, or tinged with blood.
How Long Before the Tattoo is Healed?
From the day you get the ink until the day when it is considered healed you have about three weeks. You must also remember that some people heal more quickly and some people heal more slowly.
Many people think their tattoo is completely healed as soon as it is no longer tender to the touch, and the redness has left the area. This is not always true. The ink is placed in the second layer of the skin so the outer layer may heal and then it may take a few more days for the deeper layers of skin to heal.
You should still protect the tattoo from excessive sun exposure and really scratchy fabric, even after it is completely healed.
Your tattoo is an investment and a work of art. Treat it with love and kindness.
‘Always consult your tattoo artist if you have any questions about what you can wear or what you need to do to care for your new ink. If you see signs of infection or signs of damage go see your artist so they can make further recommendations.