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How to Care for Your New Tattoo

By HERWriter
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How to Take Care of Your New Tattoo Annie Spratt/Unsplash

Some time in eighth grade, my sister and I decided we would get matching heart tattoos on the left corner of our left wrists. I’m not sure when we decided this; there was never a definitive moment. However, I suspect it developed when we, and the rest our friends, were really into doodling all over our hands and arms.

I always drew three stars on my left wrist — a classic middle-school move — but I knew the permanent ink must be a heart. My sister and I are twins born on Valentine’s Day. It had to be honored.

Come mid-May our senior year of high school, we hopped into my mom’s minivan with our best friend and headed to a tattoo parlor on a Tuesday night. Clad in my American Red Cross sweatshirt and black yoga sweats, I walked into the tattoo and piercing place where my sister had gotten her belly button pierced just three years earlier.

But we had to leave. My sister and I didn’t have driver’s licenses at the time, and forgot to bring our birth certificates. It didn’t help that I had a young face either (and wet hair). Despite their condescension, the fact that they required ID was a good sign in retrospect. They were only following the rules.

We drove home and picked up our birth certificates. Then we headed to the other side of town to the tattoo parlor where my mom got her tattoo over a decade ago (Also a heart! But different.).

Because the tattoos were small and simple, the process was quick. I let my sister go first, as she is the older twin. She made some faces indicative of a little pain, but it really didn’t hurt her at all. And the same went for me. When the needle buzzed away at my skin, the area would go numb until the tattoo artist lifted it up again.

After cleanup, payment and care instructions, we walked out of the tattoo parlor, happy with our first ink.

The most basic principle of a tattoo is that it is permanent. So yes, get something meaningful or a piece of artwork that is beautiful to you. More importantly, make sure to take care of it.

There is always a risk when you tamper with your body.

Read more in HER Beauty

1) 9 Essential Tips for Tattoo Aftercare. Inked. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

2) How to Care for a Tattoo. Ink Done Right. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

3) Behind the Ink: Common tattoo beliefs debunked. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

4) Is Tattoo scabbing Normal? What NOT to Do When Your Tattoo Scabs. Authority Tattoo. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

5) The Very Best Tattoo Sunscreen Products. Ink Done Right. Retrieved November 10, 2016.

6) Tattoo Infection. MDDK. Retrieved November 11, 2016.

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EmpowHER Guest

Another option for tattoo aftercare is pure emu oil. https://emujoy.com/pages/tattoo-aftercare-with-emu-oil Many tattoo artists swear by it, and it absorbs into the skin better than ointments.

November 29, 2016 - 5:54pm

I have always wanted a tattoo. I might finally get one now that I have this detailed guide. Very informative article!

November 28, 2016 - 3:49pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.