In the last blog, we talked about water. Today we are going to wrap up this series on tattoo aftercare myths with a quick blog on the dry healing technique.
THE MYTH: Put Nothing On Your Tattoo, Oxygen Is Best
In all reality, oxygen is is crucial to healthy wound healing, so this is a simple case of "taking a good thing too far."
During a dry heal, the fresh tattoo is washed gently in the shower, but there is no aftercare beyond that.
The dry heal method is very rarely recommended by tattoo professionals, I have never met an artist who approved of it (but that doesn't mean they aren't out there!) It's time to pull out the mantra I've repeated through these blogs: your fresh tattoo is an open wound. Keeping that in mind, can you even imagine visiting a doctor for a wound and having him tell you not to put anything on it? Let's talk about why it's important to take the next step of moisturizing.
Some problems with dry healing exist that can produce very damaging results. The first issue makes a lot of sense. If you don't put a thin layer of product on your new ink, you are leaving it completely open to any bacteria you come in contact with. Properly applied aftercare lotion should be a very thin layer, but even so it provides a barrier between the elements and your wound. Many aftercare products, including mine, contain ingredients that are anti-microbial to promote a healthy skin surface.
There is another even bigger issue with dry healing, and that's the amount of scabbing it produces. Without lubrication and some anti-inflammatory action, your skin will weep more and this may push more ink up than usual during the healing process. Dry healed tattoos are almost always dull in comparison to those healed with a proper aftercare lotion because there has been no deep scabbing to pull ink out of the dermis.
Deep scabs cause three major problems with the heal:
- They contain more ink that will eventually be lost.
- As they dry, skin around them is pulled tighter than skin around it (puckered), causing lots of itching.
- If you can't control scratching those itches, you'll pull the scabs off early and remove large amounts of ink with them.
Deep scabs are also easy to snag on something and rip off. It is actually possible to pull a chunk of ink right out of your tattoo if a scab goes at the wrong time. Ultimately, we are talking about a lot of discomfort, and in return you get faded color.
The product I have made contains anti-microbial agents to protect your skin and it reduces scabbing dramatically when used correctly. Even if you don't choose to use Nurse Mary J, please consider another aftercare product for your healing stages to preserve your color.