Posted on April 14 2021
So there it is, you’ve finally got your dream stick and poke tattoo on your body, but unfortunately the work doesn’t quite stop there. Aftercare is one of the main reasons why stick and pokes fade and why a lot of people become frustrated with them, but the correct care will promote healing without infection, sharper lines and darker ink. Compared to machine tattoos, stick and poke tattoos are usually small and simple, meaning they normally heal faster and often won’t leave a scab if taken care of properly. This is the last and most important step, especially the first week afterwards, for determining how your tattoo will look for the rest of it’s life. Of course we want you to get the best possible result, so here are our top tips for safely and effectively looking after your stick and poke:
Bandage it up
Immediately after finishing your tattoo you want to cover it with a dressing, as it’s technically an open wound. This means it’s an easy target for bacteria and infection, so applying the bandage will help to protect it whilst letting the bodily fluids drain. Take a look at our range of dressings to see which one will be the correct size for your tattoo. We recommend leaving your dressing on for a minimum of two hours and maximum six hours.
Your skin needs to breathe to be able to heal, so carefully take off the bandage after two to six hours. It’s super important to fully clean your tattooed area as soon as the bandage is off, but care is key so be gentle. Make sure your hands are clean before you begin to carefully wash the area with warm water and antibacterial soap - fragrance-free is ideal as it’s less irritating for your skin. Next, you want to pat the area dry with a clean towel and let it air dry. Be careful not to rub the tattoo as you dry it, as this can be abrasive on the skin and can cause damage.
After washing your tattooed area you want to apply a thin layer of moisturiser, such as the Easy Tattoo Healing Cream. Combining a non-scented, hypoallergenic lotion with a salve, such as the Tattoo Goo Aftercare Salve will keep your skin properly hydrated. Not to mention, good quality salves will enhance the colour of your tattoo, encourage healing and won’t clog your pores. This step forms a protective barrier for your skin whilst moisturising the area, as it’s important to not let it dry out. Having said that, it’s all about balance as excessively moisturising your tattoo can cause damage, so aim to clean and apply ointment three to four times a day for seven to ten days. Getting in the shower with your new stick and poke is fine, however you should avoid fully submerging it until it’s healed, so hold off having a bath or swimming in the sea for now.
Dress for the occasion
The clothes you wear can affect your new tattoo so it’s vital to dress appropriately, especially for the first few days of caring for your tattoo. Like we said earlier, your skin needs to be able to breathe in order to heal, so loose-fitting, natural fabrics such as cotton and linen are perfect for this as they contain breathable fibres. If you know you’re going to be wearing clothing that’ll rub on your tattoo, you can temporarily cover it with protective film, but this should be avoided where possible as the film stops the skin from being able to breathe. Exposing the area to direct sunlight will make your tattoo fade, not to mention it’ll burn the skin, so keep this in mind when choosing what to wear for the first couple of weeks. As well as clean clothing, make sure you use clean bed sheets until your tattoo is fully healed.
During the healing process it’s normal for your tattoo to peel or scab and sometimes this can itch. In short, if your tattoo does start to itch - don’t scratch it, as this can remove the ink and even lead to infection. Instead, try lightly tapping on the area to relieve it as this won’t be abrasive on your skin.
A few things you should avoid
After a fresh stick and poke tattoo, try to avoid: shaving the area, going under any kind of water (whether that’s the sea, a swimming pool or hot tub), leaving the dressing on for too long and pets.
If you experience prolonged symptoms of the following with your tattoo: redness, swelling, feeling hot to touch, raised texture, pain, green/yellow discharge, and/or fever, please contact a doctor as you may require antibiotics.
Your new tattoo should heal in around two to three weeks and if you need to retouch any part of it, you should wait until it’s fully healed to do so.
You want your new tattoo to look the best it can and let’s face it, the end result of a patient, stick and poke aftercare process can’t be topped. So make sure you follow our tips and use the correct products so your stick and poke will not only last you a lifetime, but can be shown off with pride.
P.S. Don’t forget to tag us in your pictures on Instagram so we can see what you’ve created.
Need to top up your aftercare items ready for your next stick and poke? Head to our aftercare section to see our range of products.