It’s funny how no matter how much detail a client is provided with about their tattoo and what to expect as it heals, a few folks still make a panicked call to the studio within mere days of getting their tattoo, freaking out about how their tattoo is starting to look.
A new tattoo is an actual wound, an open sore that needs to close up and heal. This process takes between 2-4 weeks on average. That means, it will go through various stages of scabbing and peeling.
With colour tattoos this process can look pretty gruesome but it does not mean anything is wrong with your piece. You MUST allow the skin time to reseal itself through the normal healing process in the much the same way that any skin graze and ensuing scab will heal.
You shouldn’t pick your scabs, as this can lead to scarring, as well as infection. In the case of tattoos, it will lead to discolouration and even lift the ink right out of it.
Applying too much aftercare (be that a specific tattoo product, a moisturiser or an anti-septic) will dilute the ink and even leech it out of the wound before it’s healed up.
Ask your tattooist about their own tattoo healing stories. Nearly all of them will have a weird tale of the healing process, where observing a big colour piece heal, includes moments when they’re sure something is wrong but it all works out in the end. You have to be patient.
If the surrounding skin isn’t red and inflamed, it’s very unlikely that there’s any infection to manage. So just leave it alone as much as possible in order to avoid cross contamination with unclean fingers.
Below is a wee picture than shows the varying stages of the healing process.
Hope this clears things up a bit 🙂