Today, I am going to talk about why tattoos still hurt. Because it's the day after and when I woke up my arm was terribly swollen and tender. This is about thirteen hours after I got my lazy ass out of bed, and it's still fairly swollen. This is expected. After all, I had a bunch of needles jabbed into my arm.
Now, washing a tattoo the morning after doesn't tickle. The best way to describe the sensation is burning. If you have ever had to wash out an open wound, then you know the feeling. Except instead of just rinsing it out, you are scrubbing it with soap and water to get all the blood, plasma and Vaseline off. Even the water hitting it can be excruciating. This is why tattoos still hurt. And they will continue to hurt for at least a week. Whenever you bump it or brush it, or roll over onto it when you're sleeping, it's going to twinge, throb, ache and pulse.
Yeah, I'm starting to wonder why I did this to myself.
Here's the thing about healing a tattoo - most artists have their own aftercare instructions. As long as you aren't getting your body art done in prison or in some scratchers basement, then you have probably been given a piece of paper with steps on how to best heal your new piece of art. For the most part, the instructions cover the same bases:
- No swimming
- No sun
- Don't let it rub on anything (like clothing, or your desk at work)
- Never scratch or pick at your tattoo
Other than these steadfast rules, aftercare instructions can vary immensely. This seems weird, right? Like why can't all tattoo artists decide on one steadfast set of healing instructions for us clueless folk to follow? I can't answer this. I even asked the Sidekick and he didn't have a good reasons either. He basically said something about everyone being different. Yes, yes, you're all unique flowers, but how are we supposed to know what's best for our tattoo? I actually headed over to Dr. Google's house and asked him all about tattoo aftercare. You wouldn't believe the crap the intersnacks spat out. I am seriously worried people might actually be taking some of these yahoos at their word.
One website said to put baby powder on your tattoo to prevent it from sticking to your bed sheets at night. Why is your tattoo weeping so bad you're sticking to your bed sheets? This is a sign the bandage should have been kept on longer. Using Neosporin on it? Why would you need an infection fighting ointment? The key is to heal your tattoo so damn well an infection doesn't happen, then you'd never need a product like this. Putting rubbing alcohol or Listerine on your tattoo to stop it from itching? Um, yeah, anything with alcohol will only dry it out more and make it that much itchier.
So, there is a lot of bad information on the internet. Surprise, surprise. If you are confused about your healing instructions, then you should contact your artist. I did. I rolled over and said, "Honey, should I put lotion on this thing now?" Okay, I have an advantage.
But seriously, though, I hope you do your research and pick a good artist. One who wears gloves. One who doesn't eat a sandwich while tattooing. Someone who doesn't have his cat's litter box in the same room as his machines. An artist who doesn't call his tattoo machine a gun. An establishment that doesn't have a ridiculous spin on their name - like the Mad Tatter or Rat-a-tat-tats. An artist that doesn't refer to himself as an ink-slinger.
My one piece of advice to you apart for choosing a good artist? Keep it clean. That means no touchy-touchy with those germy little digits you pick your nose with. Pretty simple, right? Well, that's me. A simple girl with a swollen arm.