Why is my foot/ankle swollen?
When an extremity is tattooed, it can swell more than other areas. This is especially true when you have a tattoo on your leg, ankle, or foot and you spend a lot of time on your feet. Just try to elevate your legs to help with the swelling. This discomfort usually only happens during the first couple days. As stated above, always change your bed sheets before sleeping with a foot or leg tattoo to avoid infection.
When can I come back for more work on the same piece?
When working on a large piece that requires more than one session, follow up sessions cannot be scheduled for at least 2 weeks to allow for healing. Normal healing time can vary between 2-4 weeks, 2 weeks being average for most.
What are the signs of an infection?
Though rare, infections from tattoos do occur. They can occur as a result of poor care or improper steps taken by the artist to insure sterility. If you are around children, animals, or other unsanitary environments, you should take care to keep your hands and the area around your tattoo clean. Carrying some hand sanitizer with you is a good idea. Signs of an infection include the following: excessive redness, oozing any type of pus or strange colored discharge other than a clear fluid with perhaps a small amount of ink in it (which can be normal), overly swollen, and overly painful to the touch.
When I say “excessive redness” I mean a darker red with a defined edge that slowly grows as time goes on. A new tattoo can still be red the day or two following the procedure, because of the trauma to the skin. If you think you have an infection, be watchful and nurturing to the area, after 24 hours you do not see improvement, call a physician. Staph infections can be serious and may require the use of antibiotics.
My tattoo doesn’t look as vibrant after healing.
Your tattoo will look more vibrant than ever right after the procedure is completed. After the healing process, the colors may not look as bright. The healing process involves a new layer of skin forming over top of the tattoo, so you actually see your tattoo through a fine, top layer of skin. It takes around 6 months for the new layer of skin to completely form, though that area can be safely worked on again after 2 weeks.
My tattoo has healed, but looks a little blotchy.
This could happen for a number of reasons. If during the healing process you did not care for your tattoo as prescribed by your artist, then chances are you’ll end up with an inconsistent look to your tattoo. If you scratched your tattoo, exposed it to UV rays, soaked it, accidentally peeled a scab before it was ready to come off, or if it stuck to some type of cloth, such as clothing or bed sheets, you may end up with “spots” where the color is lacking. Consuming alcohol or taking any medication that thins the blood , such as ibuprofen, will make you bleed more excessively during the tattoo process and in turn will interfere with the injection of ink into your skin. Then again, some people are just bleeders. Capilaries may be closer to the surface, blood pressure differences, and plasma and oil gland secretion can all play a role in how well your skin accepts ink. There is no reasoning with your skin- everyone is different and every area of the body is different as well. For bleeders, or people who have uncooperative skin, the ink goes in, and your bodily fluids push it out, making it a struggle to get color to stay properly and evenly. Though there is no scientific data supporting the claim, many people feel that certain colors are simply not agreeable with their skin, and do not absorb as well as other colors. I personally think this is true, as I’ve seen some people take some colors well and others not so well. Touch-ups can be discussed with your tattoo artist. It is not uncommon for tribal work to need touched-up in order to achieve a solid black look.
Can I go in a tanning bed or tanning in natural sun after receiving a tattoo?
The UV rays from a tanning bed will harm your new tattoo just as badly as the rays from the sun. If you are going to be exposed to UV rays of any kind cover your tattoo with a thick, opaque cloth- sunscreen is not to be used on a fresh tattoo (the first 2 weeks). However, it is highly recommended that you use sunscreen to protect the longevity of your tattoo, after it has healed. UV rays will dull and fade any tattoo.
The white and yellow in my tattoo isn’t very bright.
Colors that take well in one persons skin may not take well in another. A common problem with white and yellow, or other light colors, is that it doesn’t come out very bright, and/or that it fades more quickly then other colors. Yet others have issues with other colors.