New Dawn Fades
Well well well. Look at what we have here! Fresh new site for an new year! Things are abound here at the Speakeasy Tattoo Los Angeles cult. Many bright stars on the dark horizon.
With this fresh new lease on life, what a better time to discuss new tattoos. What goes on with them? What kind of Sumerian wizardry happens beneath the skin as these cuts and stabs turn into beautiful fleshy pictographs?
There are so many gimmicks out there. So much conflicting information as to what proper after care involves. So many new fancy products marketed to "make your tattoo look brand new forever!" But do these work? Are they worth you money? Is there benefit to the free market of ideas or should we adhere to the remedies from the ancient gods?
One thing that should be kept in mind is that a tattoo will never look as brilliant and crisp as when it is initially done. Those are just the facts of life jack. When you first get a tattoo, the upper portions of the skin themselves are tattooed as well. Through both the healing process as well as just the natural process of the body shedding skin literally constantly, this brilliance only lasts a few days to a week or so.
So let's talk about what happens with your body after you get a new tattoo.
We can break it down into stages.
The first stage begins literally immediately. Even before the tattoo is finished. You will notice
swelling and oozing of fluids. Depending on the individual and how they heal (I'm a diabetic so my immune system takes its dear sweet time kicking into gear so the whole healing process basically takes weeks longer than most), this typically slowly subsides over the course of the first few days to a week. During this period, you basically have an open wound so the main concern is protection from infection. Soon the inner layers of the skin, as they regenerate, will begin to form a crust on top. This should happen after no longer than 3 to 4 days into the first week. For many, including myself, this is the absolute WORST part of the entire process. The ITCHY phase. Personally, I find nothing more unbearable than itchiness. Nonetheless, it is IMPERATIVE you DO NOT START SCRATCHING AT IT! Resist that urge! Meditate. Think about England or Baseball or whatever you need to do to stop your natural urge to have at yourself like a flea-bitten dog. Let those ugly flakes take their own time to fall away. It's tempting to peel. DONT. Peeling can lead to scarring or or losing color and will lead to a splotchy, ugly tattoo.
The second stage begins around the second week. At this point the swelling is gone but you are still sore and tender. And that's okay. Elvis said Love Me Tender so don't worry. During this stage, the scabs are still there. In fact this is the ugliest part of the process. Remember how excited you were to show off that sick wolf tat you just got to all your fellow chimney sweeps? Well now you're hoping nobody thinks you have some sort of zombie virus brought to earth by a wayward comet or rage-infected monkeys. Fear not. This is normal. You are normal. We are all normal. I SWEAR I'M NORMAL! Yet again, this phase is gonna be tough to resist the urge to scratch. But again. Don't If you do, I won't send you any pizza rolls.
Phase three, or were we saying "stages?" Phase? Step? Chapter? Whatever....
So Episode Three: Revenge of the Skin. Don't worry, it's nowhere near as terrible as Revenge of the Sith. This stage usually takes two weeks, around week three and four. During this two-week period, you begin to feel comfortable again. The itching is all but gone as almost all the remaining tiny scabs keep disappearing. However, it is also the most common time customers call or email in a panic because their tattoo looks faded and blurry. Oh no, I've been tricked! NO! This is all part of your body's healing process and is a good thing. This is actually a critical patr where the skin is creating a protective layer that helps to keep sunlight from penetrating too deep and messing up your colors.By the end of the fourth week your scar should be completely healed, assuming you’ve been taking good care of it, and the faded look will be gone. Although it may seem like this is over as the tattoo healing process is essentially complete, there’s one more stage that many overlook.
Episode Four: A New Hope. This is a portion that is typically overlooked. Mostly because it seems like the tattoo is completely healed and now is time to move on with your life. Start a band. Stop eating 7 bagels a day. Start jogging in Griffith Park. While all these things are good, it is important to maintain your aftercare regiment. Treat it well. Moisturize. In fact, you should just do this with your skin in general, Daniel Ash! While the risk of getting an infection is essentially over, taking care of the tattoo itself is never over. The ink begins degrading and losing its brightness from the moment it is introduced into your body. That’s why if you want to wear your cool tattoos proudly for years to come, you have to be careful about where you go, how you protect them, and what products you spend money on.
So what we recommend and have found is the absolute best process for healing is what we instruct all our customers to follow. In fact, feel free to bookmark the following link for easy reference: TATTOO AFTER CARE For convenience, here is the breakdown: Remove the bandage after one hour, two maximum. All wounds need to breathe if they are to heal properly. Wash the tattoo using your fingertips or hand only. Use a mild antibacterial soap and warm water. Take care to remove all traces of blood as this will cause scabbing. Do not scrub the tattoo with a washcloth during the two week healing period. Always gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean soft cloth or just let it air dry. Apply a thin coat of ointment (Aquaphor ) to the tattoo. Use just enough to make it shine– a little goes a long way. Work it in well and dab off all the excess with a paper towel. You should barely be able to tell that it’s there… this is just enough to keep the tattoo moist and prevent it from scabbing. Your body heat will liquify the ointment and it may become glossy or runny looking. If this is the case, then you’ve put too much on and should dab some off. Too much ointment will only suffocate the tattoo and liquify any scabs that may have formed– which causes the ink to fall out and leaves the piece looking blotchy. There is no need to re-bandage the tattoo. Yes, there are a lot of tattoo healing products out there. In my experience, most are snake oil, just stick to what works. Ointment can be applied whenever the tattoo is feeling stiff or dry but beware of over-moisturizing. Your body will absorb what it needs where it needs it. Apply ointment twice a day for two to three days then switch to a regular moisturizer (like Aveeno, Eucerin, Keri, Lubriderm, Curel, Jergens, or Vaseline Intensive care). Apply moisturizer twice a day for the remainder of two weeks. Do not use lotions that contain color, fragrance or sparkles until the healing is complete (usually anywhere from ten days to two weeks; possibly longer for slower healers). Your skin will form a protective layer no matter what you do (even if you put too much or too little moisturizer on it). It’s a personal balance; different for each individual. it will form a thick, hard scab that may crack when you move. When you form this kind of a scab, the ink sits within it and slowly heals into the skin. When the tattoo is kept moist, it doesn’t have a chance to form a scab but does form a thin membrane to protect the tattoo while it heals. This layer peels off in a similar fashion to a sunburn (do not peel your tattoo as you will pull the ink out!) and it is perfectly normal to see small flakes of colored skin falling off during this stage of healing. You must keep your tattoo clean. However, long showers or baths must be avoided for 2 weeks. Prolonged soaking can and will loosen scabs if any have formed, or will soak through the soft tissue turning it into a soggy mess and cause your ink to flow down the drain (this includes swimming in the ocean, using a pool, hot tub or sauna). Short showers are best– under ten minutes if possible. Please refrain from scratching or picking at the tattoo. Scrubbing with a washcloth can be very harsh and will cause your colors to fade. Disrupting the tattoo while it’s healing can also create scar tissue. It is normal for the tattoo to become very itchy during the healing time. To relieve this, spray the tattoo with rubbing alcohol or slap it with your hand (this will sting and take away the itch). No buts about it, the sun is BAD for your tattoo– even if you’ve had it for a long time. A sunburn on a new tattoo can cause a lot of problems. It will dry it out and cause it to form a horrendous scab and will result in the piece fading before it’s even had a chance to heal. Plus, sunburns drastically prolong healing time and promote scarring in a new tattoo. Wait until your tattoo is fully healed to go back into the sun or use a tanning bed and make sure you put on a high-quality SUNBLOCK (not sunscreen). Remember not to make the mistake of applying sunblock while the tattoo is still healing. The tattoo is under your skin, and your tan will form above it. If you get too dark, some colors (white, yellow, pink, and orange) may not show up as brightly as they could. Over time, excessive exposure to sunlight will cause your tattoo to fade no matter what colors are used.
Looking forward to a smooth 2021 with everyone. We are currently booking now so when you are ready, make your submission and get that spot locked!