Before you leave the tattoo shop, your artist will go over proper aftercare routine with you. Some artists are sponsored by an aftercare line, and will be able to put their recommendation right in your hand. Others may have a few options on the shelf, and some may just give you some guidelines to follow and make you find your own aftercare from choices at the drugstore. Nearly every artist will recommend that you find an aftercare product that:
*has no dyes or fragrances *no petroleum products *no alcohol or other drying ingredients
...and many now also recommend
*no parabens/animal products *no added Vitamin E *no antibiotics
...that's a lot of stuff to remember while shopping...
For my first tattoo, which I got 16 years ago, I used a product that is still one of the biggest brands in the aftercare industry. It worked, but the product was more of a balm that came in a tin. It contained beeswax and olive oil and left a layer of goop on my skin that I didn't like the feel of. I scabbed and pulled a chunk of ink out of the piece, and so it remains today.
On other pieces, I'd used a products from the drugstore that had the least fragrance and dye of anything I could find, but also usually contained beeswax, which leaves a layer on your skin or some type of alcohol derivative, which drys you out. These products were not made for abraised skin.
Natural aftercare has always appealed to me, but many small businesses that make natural aftercare use oils like lavender and rosemary that will absolutely help keep the tattoo clean by providing antifungal and antibacterial properties, but will feel "like burning" when applied, and cause more inflammation, so I always avoided them, even though I prefer small biz and homemade formulas.
When it was time for me to formulate Nurse Mary J, I knew what I wanted in tattoo aftercare that I could never find. My goals were to use Hemp Oil and Hemp CBD Extract to create a fast absorbing, anti-inflammatory tattoo aftercare product.
The inflammatory reaction your skin has after being abraised (like getting a scrape) happens to help clear anything from the wound. A tattoo is a second degree abrasion, which means it involves both the epidermis, or outer layer of kin, and the dermis, the second layer. The skin will ooze, a natural response to clean debris out of the wound, which also brings ink out of the piece.
I knew that Hemp CBD was one of the strongest anti-inflammatory agents I'd ever used, and hoped it's topical use in tattoo aftercare would reduce the inflammation that causes scabbing and ink loss. I wanted to make heal time a little faster and more comfortable, and I wanted to keep more ink where the artist put it, without suffocating the piece or using harsh ingredients.
I was SO excited when it was time to finally test Nurse Mary J. Ink time!! The outline of this tattoo went down like every other piece I've had. As with every piece, there was immediate swelling and irritation. It's important to keep the plastic wrap the artists puts over your tattoo on overnight, so I just kept getting more and more excited to shower up and apply the lotion.
On Day One of healing, I showered and cleaned the tattoo as recommended. After jumping out of the shower, and dabbing the piece dry with a clean towel, I did the very first test application of Nurse Mary J. It went on very smoothly and seemed to soak right in, which was exactly what I had hoped for. I formulated the product to soak into your skin immediately for three important reasons:
* Products that leave a film on the skin can trap dirt and bacteria * Sticky products can hinder skin respiration * I wanted the active ingredients to be able to penetrate the skin deeply and quickly.
I applied the lotion to a freshly clean tattoo 5 times on the first day. My skin felt clean, and I noticed that the oozing associated with tattoo healing stopped much faster than usual. The redness also disappeared faster than what I normally experience.
Because reducing the inflammation caused my skin to weep less than I had experienced in previous heals, the next great benefit I enjoyed was NO deep scabbing! I did have some flaking around Days 7-9, I don't believe there is any way to avoid that but no heavy scabbing at all! My skin stayed soft and pliable, so without the hard edges of scabs causing the skin to "pucker", I experienced less itching!
The best part, was that without losing ink to scabbing, my tattoo retained more color and healed very dark.
Here is the tattoo 6 months later, fully healed
(Photo updated 1/19/16)
Others have tried Nurse Mary J Tattoo Aftercare with very similar success! We'd love to hear your testimonials and see your healed photos! Contact us or post on Twitter or Instagram using #CareByNMJ