The definitive guide to short and long-term tattoo care

The definitive guide to short and long-term tattoo care

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Tattoos are forever, right? That’s true, but they don’t always look amazing forever. Follow this definitive guide for the best guidance in how to look after your tattoos from new to old.

Some people will get a tattoo and never even think about it again, spend copious amounts of time in direct sunlight and wont go anywhere near a moisturiser. By the time those people are 60, their tattoos will often be unrecognizable, merely a murky smudge and a sad ode to the beauty that was once bestowed upon their skin. This is not the way!

The key to your tattoos looking good when you’re 60 is to use effective short-term and long-term aftercare. From the very first day you get your tattoo, you should be taking the time to look after it.

Short term tattoo care

So, you’ve chosen a good artist who works in a clean studio and as far as you can see they’ve done a cracking job on your tattoo. Now it’s up to you, let the healing process begin...

The healing process is the first and most important phase of looking after your tattoo. The healing process has the most impact on how your tattoo will look after 1 year and even after 50 years. There are a number of variables during this stage of care that can impact your tattoo:

  • If your tattoo becomes itchy, scabs can be knocked off from scratching. This can pull out the ink that is trying to settle in that area, making your tattoo patchy and uneven.
  • When getting a new tattoo your skin suffers a large amount of trauma, it is essentially an open wound and is therefore vulnerable to infection. When a tattoo becomes infected it can displace un-set ink, cause inks to fade prematurely and cause uneven healing. 

It is essential that you follow a strict aftercare regime to ensure your tattoo heals properly:

  • Keep your tattoo clean.
  • Keep it out of the sun.
  • Regularly apply your Stories and Ink Aftercare Cream.

Our Aftercare Cream is bursting full of antioxidants which will help your tattoo heal faster, it contains Bisabolol extracted from chamomile which soothes irritation making you less likely to pick or scratch and Defensil plus which is a first aid grade ingredient that protects the damaged skin barrier from infections.



Long term tattoo care

Although the healing process is the most important phase of your tattoo care, it’s still crucial to the longevity of your tattoo that you look after it once it has healed! Here are some crucial considerations:

Exfoliating is good for tattoos

When you get a tattoo the ink sits in the lower level of the skin a.k.a the dermis “Only tattoo pigments persisting in the dermis will be responsible for the final aspect of the tattoos” (Dr. Nicolas Kluger @the_tattooed_derm). This means dead cells on the upper layer of skin can sit on top of your tattoo, making it appear washed out and less vibrant. Regular, gentle exfoliation can help to remove dead and dull skin, enhancing your tattoos intensity and definition. Exfoliation also helps even skin tone and texture, meaning your tattoos will have greater clarity.

The Stories and Ink Exfoliating Body Wash is full to the brim with natural scrub particles made from coconut husk and makes the perfect addition to your morning routine. We recommend using it 3-4 times a week whilst in the bath or shower.

Improve collagen production for better looking tattoos

Your skin is 70/80% Collagen. Collagen is responsible for keeping your skin tight and elastic. But, as you age you start to produce less Collagen and as a result your Dermis begins to thin. This thinning of the dermis causes your skin to lose elasticity and begin to sag, this can compromise the integrity of your ink (and of course, give you wrinkly tattoos...weird).

However, Vitamin C seems to have an amazing impact on collagen production. Vitamin C directly triggers DNA to regulate and maintain the intracellular amount of collagen and it enhances collagen synthesis. Not only does it improve collagen levels but it is also a powerful antioxidant which stops the skin aging from oxidative stress.

Vitamin C can be found in abundance in our Vibrancy Serum which is why we recommend using it every night before you go to bed!



Protect against tattoo fading and ageing

We know you love the sun, so do we, but it’s possibly the worst thing of all for your tattoos. When we asked Dr. Nicolas Kluger “What is the main cause of tattoo aging?” this is what he had to say:

“Excessive sun exposure, either just after tattooing or chronic, repetitive and unprotected sun exposure of the tattoo during the life of the bearer” - Dr. Nicolas Kluger @the_tattooed_derm

Continuous, prolonged UV exposure breaks up the pigments in your tattoo, dissolving their details and diminishing their clarity. If this isn’t bad enough, did you know that UV rays also dry out your skin and speed up the aging process? This can cause tattoos to fade and wrinkle prematurely.

Our Daily Moisturiser contains UVA and UVB filters for on the go protection. Not only this but it helps keep your skin hydrated all day long, meaning your skin will be less likely to suffer the aging effects of the sun.



Reduce scar tissue

As we have already discussed, fresh tattoos are essentially an open wound. This means that when they heal they can develop hard and often uneven scar tissue. For the most part, this is absolutely fine, but sometimes this can impact how your tattoo looks. Unhealed scar tissue can cause your tattoos to have a strange texture to them and if you’re really unlucky then it can cause patchiness in your ink. 

If you thought there was no way to combat scar tissue, you’d be wrong. White Lupin Seed has the ability to soften and even out scar tissue. Perfect for improving the clarity of your tattoos! White Lupin Seed Extract is one of the active ingredients in the Highlighting Body Oil, meaning it doesn’t just leave you looking glossy and fresh, it also helps tame that scar tissue.

If you're ready to start your ultimate tattoo care routine go check out our Tattoo Care Kit. Or feel free to reach out if you have any more questions about the range or how to look after your tattoos by emailing or pop us a message on Instagram @storiesandinkskincare.