Getting a tattoo or body inking is a beautiful way to express yourself. But, the entire process does come with pain. Tattoo designs are made by piercing the skin with a needle and placing the ink and pigments into the lower layers of the dermis. You can expect discomfort during the procedure and afterward while the wound heals. Some inflammation and bruising are also common since the blood pools around the injected area to initiate the healing process.
Most importantly, you must take care of the site to prevent the possibility of infections. Expect the soreness to last anywhere from six to eight weeks, after which you can show off your new body art. Depending on the complexity of the design, the deeper layers of the dermis can take up to six months to heal completely.
Caring for the Tattoo Site
Cover with a Bandage for a Couple of Days
You’ll take care of the tattoo site just like any other injury. Keep the area covered with a bandage to prevent the risk of infection from moisture and bacteria. Most tattoo artists recommend that you remove the dressing after the first 24 to 48 hours and allow the wound to heal and dry up entirely. Protect the site from dampness and cover it when taking a shower to avoid soaking. A sponge bath is more advisable.
Topical Applications Work to Lower the Discomfort
Using topical anesthetics is an effective way to relieve some of the discomfort. Take over-the-counter pain medications like acetaminophen and ibuprofen, but remember to avoid aspirin since it acts as a blood thinner.
Applying Ointments Can Speed Up Healing
Aside from the pain, swelling, and soreness, some people may experience irritation, itching, and burning sensations as the tattoo heals. You can use ointments on the wound to speed up the healing. Follow the directions of the tattoo artist and apply the creams they recommend, though you might want to avoid products like Vaseline that are 100% petroleum-based.
Pain and Healing Depends on Many Factors
How long will the pain last? That’s a question most people have when wanting to experiment with tattoos. The discomfort and healing time depends on individual pain tolerance levels and the site where you’ve chosen to get the inking. For instance, if you get body art on the side of the neck, expect that it will hurt more than if you were to try the forearm. Typically, areas with more fat and muscle are less sensitive to pain. The size of the inking can also affect the healing time. A small one-inch shark tattoo on your wrist should be ready for display within a week, but a larger six-inch mermaid could take longer. Your body’s natural healing abilities will also influence the recovery time.
Take Care of Yourself
Take care of your body in the first couple of weeks after the tattoo. Eat frequent small meals and stay hydrated. Get plenty of sleep, so you’re not tired and irritable, which will make you more sensitive to pain. Keeping away stress levels can also help in the recovery process. Most importantly, you’ll follow the recommendations of your tattoo artist regarding self-care.
Investing in body art to make a style statement is catching on in a big way. But, before you choose an artist, make sure to look for recommendations from friends and family. And use the tips listed above to alleviate the pain after the inking and speed up healing.