Tattoos are forever, but if you want to keep yours looking as good as it did directly after it healed, you need to take extra special care of your skin. Tattoos tend to fade and become indistinct over time, but there are some things you can do to help minimize the process.
Put On Sunscreen
The sun fades tattoo ink very quickly, and after a certain amount of time, it can blur the lines in your tattoo significantly. If you want to make sure that your tattoo doesn’t suffer from ultraviolet light, consider applying broad spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher to your tattoo before you go out for the day. Some people prefer to cover their tattoos with clothing while out in the sun, but for most of us, this is just not a practical option. However, sunscreen or covering up is especially important while your tattoo is still very fresh, so it’s a good idea for the first few months to be extra careful.
Avoid Tanning Beds
Don’t forget that the sun is not the only thing that creates UV rays. Tanning beds can also damage your tattoo, and in general, it is best to skip them altogether if you want to keep your tattoo in good shape.
Do an Ink Test
If you are planning to get a tattoo, consider getting an ink test. In an ink test, a tiny dot of each color that is to be used in your tattoo is tattooed on an obscure area of your skin. This allows you to discover whether you are allergic to any color of tattoo ink. While allergic reactions are relatively rare, they can be a serious problem. While a tiny dot might cause a small amount of discomfort, a large tattoo may be regularly plagued with redness, itching and rashes.
Water, Not Oil
Regularly moisturizing your skin will keep your tattoo’s colors bright and lively, but when you do so, avoid using lotions that have petroleum bases. Instead, use lotion that specifically has a water base instead, which is more beneficial for your tattoo. Oil-based lotions can create a build up on your skin that makes your tattoo look duller over time, while water-based lotions do not do this.
Treat Any Cuts Immediately
If you receive a cut that intersects with your tattoo design, make sure that you treat it as soon as you can. Clean the cut, apply some antiseptic ointment and then cover it lightly. As the cut heals, treat it with vitamin E oil, which is good for your skin. The more cleanly and quickly the cut heals, the less it will disrupt your tattoo. You may notice some discoloration after the cut heals; if this happens, it is possible in some cases to get a tattooist to go over the discolored spot with more ink.
Consult an Expert If you Experience any Reactions
If you notice something unusual going on with your tattoo, like itchiness or redness, consult with a dermatologist. It is possible for tattoos to get infected and certain inks can cause rashes or allergic reactions, so give yourself regular skin checks and don’t wait to get checked out if something doesn’t look or feel right.