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New form of tattoo healing
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March 25, 2011
11:38 pm
JMcCauley
Vassar, Michigan
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I have had a few good size tattoos done over the years. By every artist so far, they all have a very similar way to heal the piece out. Very light washing with little water exposure, a light application of lotion, and repeat a few times daily. I just had a piece done yesterday and my artist is having me clean the tattooed area thoroughly, apply a lubricant (aquaphor was suggested), wrap in plastic (Glad plastic wrap), and repeat 3 times daily. The healing process, in this manner, should take not much more than a week opposed to a 3 to 6 week healing process not being covered by plastic. The idea is that the plastic wrap holds in vital moisture to allow your skin to heal much more quickly. It also keep your skin from developing hard scabs that can rob your tattoo of ink, requiring you to have more touch up work done. This is the first time I'll be trying this and will keep you all posted but I am curious if anyone else has heard of this or has done this to heal a tattoo.

March 27, 2011
2:03 am
Oakbear
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Not heard this one before, but sounds pretty interesting!

My main reservation would be that bacteria could build up quickly, so i think a mild antibacterial soap would be best when cleaning it. It seems contrary to common sense not to let air get to it, and also seems a lot a messing about with it while it heals.

Could be good however….

I've tried using Opsite Flexifix before. Following being tattoed and cleaned down and dried,  then cover fully with the dressing. Dressing is left on for 5 days, then removed. In theory it should be fully healed. In my experience it was a bit dry and flakey, and not fully healed until about day 12. That's not much less than with traditional methods for me, and the tattoo was done taboori style, so i'm not sure how good a guide that was.

I do have to say i think 3-6 weeks is a long time for any tattoo, 2-4 being more normal, and there shouldn't be any scabbing per se, just a kind of shedding of the top layer of skin. Scabbing and longer healing i think would usually be due to overwork or poor technique ime.

 

Anyway, i look forward to the update!

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
March 27, 2011
10:45 am
JC Alvarez
Orlando, FL
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That is actually how I was told to work on healing my tattoo. I had to rub the aquaphor on my tattoo 3 times daily and tape down some plastic wrap (i used seran wrap). took 8 days before the artist said it was healed rather than the few weeks another artist claimed it would heal

March 27, 2011
12:27 pm
bettyrage
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I've used aquaphor on my sleeve and a few other tats and it works great. I've never used plastic wrap other than on the drive home from the tat shop. My artist recommended that when I got home to remove the plastic wrap, place a wash cloth under REALLY hot running water, and then wrap it around the tattoo. This (apparently) causes the pores to close and more ink to be absorbed. It also hurts pretty badly…  I'm not sure if the hot wash cloth really works or not, but my sleeve has held it's color remarkably and I've never needed a touch up (yet). I highly recommend aquaphor to any friend who gets a tattoo. It heals quickly and works great.

March 27, 2011
1:24 pm
JMcCauley
Vassar, Michigan
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So far so good. I am using antibacterial soap when washing. I don't have any discomfort or irritation from restricting oxygen to the skin. Without any scabs forming, I still have full range of movement and my skin doesn't have any tightness. I do have concerns about bacteria growing due to increases moisture and the wraps ability to hold heat. With regular washing throughout the day, I'm told it would be fine. For the time being, I would say this has more pros than cons. I would say I'm pretty happy with this type of healing.

March 27, 2011
1:31 pm
Oakbear
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PyroSatyr – 8 days is amazingly fast!

 

bettyrage – Hot water? Ouch!

 

I'm actually doing a slight variation currently after vising a different artist to usual a couple of days ago. The clingfilm / seran wrap was left on overnight (about 16 hours), before being removed washed like normal and then having bepanthen oinment applied. After that the usual application of bepanthen as needed. I was skeptical, but so far it swelled, hurt and felt tight on the first night; but looks to be healing very fast indeed. The bepanthen is also a first for me, and it's annoyingly sticky, but seems to be doing the job.

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
March 27, 2011
1:34 pm
Oakbear
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JMcCauley – How long has it been?

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
March 27, 2011
2:35 pm
JMcCauley
Vassar, Michigan
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Only two days so far. It's still a bit early to tell but I'll keep you guys up to date on my progress.

March 27, 2011
3:05 pm
bettyrage
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Keep me updated! I'd like to know if it works!

Yes, HOT water. My artist said that traditionally, in Asia, men would get full backpieces and such done and then jump into huge hot spring pools. It hurt, but was a test of bravery. It also helped kill any germies and lock in the ink. I kind of like to think that I'm a tough cookie like a ninja. Laugh

March 27, 2011
6:19 pm
JC Alvarez
Orlando, FL
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Oakbear – Yea 8 days was fast from what I'm told, though my pic is the tattoo I'm talking about. Fairly small, only about 5 or 6 inches and its on my back. But I am very pleased with it.

 

JMcCauley – As long as you was it pretty regularly you shouldn't have to worry about growing anything nasty. Also like Bettyrage said Hot Water is  helpful. Hurts like hell but works in my opinion

March 29, 2011
4:57 pm
JMcCauley
Vassar, Michigan
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Five days in now and the progress is amazing. I started my peal when washing this morning. Because there was no scabbing, the pealing is kinda like a light sunburn. All the raised skin from the line work is no longer raised and aside from light flaking, the skin feels normal. I am noticing that I'm am getting the fresh tattoo itchy skin but it isn't nearly as bad as I'm use too. I'll update again tomorrow. At this rate, I should be all healed up by friday.

March 30, 2011
3:22 am
Oakbear
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Thanks for keeping us updated. This does sound interesting!

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
April 3, 2011
5:55 pm
JMcCauley
Vassar, Michigan
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Ten days and I am completely healed. No scabs, no flakes, skin texture is normal. I am really amazed on how much faster I healed compared to how long it would take by healing other tattoos exposed. I had been told by many people and tattoo artists that keeping a fresh tattoo covered was unhealthy, would pull out color, cause sores, do skin damage, and be just all around bad. Well, none of these things happened and my tattoo looks great. This method worked very well and I will be healing out all my next work the same way. I hope this may be helpful to any of you that may be healing a new piece.

April 3, 2011
10:01 pm
Tiffany Hahn
San Diego, CA
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I've never heard from any tattooer or tattooee to dry heal. It's a huge no-no as far as everything I've heard. You always keep it covered and moist to prevent scabbing. I've never had a single tattoo scab and they always heal really fast.

Tiffany M. Hahn ☆ CoBM Minister
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April 3, 2011
10:49 pm
JMcCauley
Vassar, Michigan
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Its strange you say that tiff. I've never heard of a covered heal. The artist started tattooing in Michigan but didn't start healing covered till he moved out west to cali. (I see thats where your are from) I Wonder if there is some sort of east coast/west coast healing clash. Either way, healing under plastic is the way to go.

April 4, 2011
7:52 pm
Oakbear
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Glad it's worked well. I think i'll try it maybe net time or the time after.  (I have a few methods i want to try).

Tiffany, i think this was an alternative to uncovered with lotion rather than a dry heal. Having said that, i know people who swear that with a good artist LITHA is all you need. Not been brave enough to try it yet though!

 

Edit – Typos

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
April 5, 2011
8:10 am
Oakbear
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Tiffany on rereading i'm not sure i interpretted you right.

What aftercare do you normally use?

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
April 17, 2011
10:48 am
Gillian
Rochester, NY and Savannah, GA
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its funny because all of the arists i've been to in my area have told me to dry heal. I usually dry heal for a few days, then when it gets too itchy I rub some emu oil into it. I don't have any problems with needing touch ups. I don't think touch ups have to do with the healing process… I think they have to do with the individual's skin type.

April 24, 2011
11:51 pm
Oakbear
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Gillian – How long is the usual healing time with your method?

I think skin type can have an influence on ink rejection, although an experienced artist should be able to compensate for this. There is a degree of idiocincracy with how people may reject certain inks though, and aftercare can play a part i think (although mostly only if you get it pretty wrong).

"The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself." - Nietzsche
March 26, 2012
6:32 am
jamidownard
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 Remove the bandage after one hour, two maximum.All wounds need to breathe if they are to heal properly. Wash the tattoo using your fingertips or hand only.Use a mild antibacterial soap and warm water.Take care to remove all traces of blood as this will cause scabbing.Do not scrub the tattoo with a washcloth during the two week healing period.Always gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean soft cloth or just let it air dry.


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