After many hours planning your tattoo and laying under the tattoo gun, you want to know how to keep the tattoo lines bold and the colors vibrant for as long as possible. The key to keeping bold lines in your tattoos is proper tattoo aftercare (and not just immediately after you get your tattoo).
Understanding how your environment affects your skin and treating your skin well with all-natural tattoo balms will help you retain your tattoo’s bold lines. But before we get into the tattoo aftercare, there are some artistic choices you should consider before your tattoo session that can make retaining ink easier.
Picking the Right Tattoo That Keeps Bold Lines
The style and placement of your tattoo will have a big part in how well its lines hold up over time. For example, bright watercolor style tattoos with fine details on your back will have a harder time keeping their bold lines than a black and gray piece on your calf.
Tattoos with more vibrant ink colors will have a harder time retaining their ink than those with darker, more monochromatic ink color schemes. This is mostly because vibrant colors require a more delicate technique, with fewer passes over the skin, to help lighten the tones of the ink. It is common for tattoos with more vibrant ink to see some loss in shading and discoloration as you and your skin age.
Friction is an enemy to tattoos during and after the tattoo healing process. The parts of the body that rub against clothing or go through a lot of stretching throughout the day tend to experience more wear-and-tear. Five parts of the body that experience the most wear-and-tear from clothing and every-day activities are:
- Upper Arm
However, the challenges of keeping your tattoos bold should not stop you from getting the body art that you want. There are a handful of things you can do to help preserve the boldness of your tattoo ink.
Tattoo Aftercare for Healthy Skin and Bold Lines
As a rule of thumb, healthy skin will help retain bold tattoo ink far better than damaged skin. This means keeping your skin well moisturized and free from harsh environments.
Keeping Tattooed Skin Moisturized
Moisturize your tattooed skin with a non-scented and alcohol-free tattoo balm to keep your lines bold and long-lasting. Consider using Tattoo Goo’s Original Balm, which is made with all-natural ingredients including premium olive oil. The tattoo balm is made to go smoothly on the skin and absorb into the skin quickly.
Petroleum and lanolin-based moisturizers are heavy on the skin and can clog your pores. You do not want a heavy moisturizer on a tattoo that is healing because they retain bacteria and leaking body fluids, leading to infections and prolonged scabbing.
Avoid Direct Sunlight on Tattooed Skin
It is no secret that direct sunlight is harsh on exposed skin. Most of us have felt the stinging pain of a sunburn and peeling skin. The UV rays of the sun are worse on tattooed skin because it blotches your natural complexion and it breaks down the color of your ink.
Wear sunblock with at least SPF 30 on healed tattoos and plan to reapply throughout the day if you are going to expose your tattoos to the sun. Sunblock will not completely protect your tattoo from the sun, but the added layer of protection will help your bold tattoo lines keep vibrant for longer.
Lastly, consider wearing loose clothing over your tattooed skin as a second layer of protection. Breathable fabrics like cotton will keep you cool and allow your skin to breathe as you sweat.
Regular Tattoo Touch-ups for Bold Lines
Your skin is alive and as vulnerable to aging as anything else. You are going to see some fading and breakup of lines or color as you get older. If you want to keep tattoo lines looking bold and vibrant, you will want to schedule touch-ups over the years.
A touch-up is nowhere near as intense as the original tattoo session since the tattoo is finished. The tattoo artist may want to trace over lines to keep them bold or touch up spots where the ink did not hold. Ideally, you can ask your original tattoo artist to do the touch-up, but if you are unable to schedule with the original tattoo artist, consider bringing photos or stencil art of the tattoo to help the new artist keep the integrity of the original tattoo.
Healthy skin is the key to retaining your tattoo’s bold lines and vibrant colors as you age. You can still enjoy being active and being in the sun – if you understand how to care for your tattooed skin. It is also important to remember that there is only so much you can do. Natural aging and simply living life will lead to some tattoo ink loss. Use an all-natural tattoo balm to moisturize your skin and protect yourself from the elements the best you can to enjoy your body art for a lifetime!