Getting a tattoo is exciting, especially if it's something that you've wanted for a long time. Like any big decision, however, there are things you need to know and consider before getting that ink permanently embedded on your skin. You've done your homework — you've considered what design you want, where you want it, and how it's going to affect your body — but there are also some surprising things you don't realize are going to ruin your tattoo if you don't address them right away or take steps to prevent them from happening in the first place.
The last thing you want, after you invest time, money, and maybe just a little bit of momentary pain into getting a new tattoo, is for that tattoo to become altered or infected in any way. If you don't take care of it correctly, there can be some disastrous results. Immediately after you get your tattoo, it's basically the same as caring for an open wound, which may surprise some people.
"You’re taking a needle and going through the top layer of skin into the dermis and injecting the ink, and they’re doing that thousands of times, so it is a traumatic process to the skin," Dr. Terrence Keaney, Dove Men+ Care expert dermatologist and founder of SkinDC, tells Romper in an interview. If you don't apply a product to allow those tiny holes in your skin to heal without any interference from bacteria and other infection-causing agents, you could end up with a secondary infection. Keaney says that while people often think that unclean needles cause infections after tattoos, it's often actually because of incorrect care.
Keep your tattoo clean and covered while it's healing and then keep your eye out for these other things that you might not realize could ruin that beautiful tattoo.