There’s a huge debate on the best time of year to get a new tattoo. In the summer, sweating, sun, and swimming all pose risks for your new ink. With winter comes a whole other set of problems. Here are some tattoo care tips if you decide to get inked this winter.
With winter comes cool air- or in Toronto’s case, bitterly cold air. Cool air is actually great for tattoos. It not only makes tattoo sessions easier and more manageable, it also prevents your body from sweating. There’s a reason tattoo parlors always have their air conditioning blasting.
The problem is that in the winter we try to hide from this cool air as much as possible. We pile on layers hoping to escape the freezing wind and dart from heated building to heated building. All this does is suffocate the tattoo and not provide it a chance to heal. So while the winter provides an abundance of healing cool air, most people shy away from it. If you’re getting inked this winter make an effort to expose your tattoo to some fresh air for at least two hours a day- and no, when you’re sleeping doesn’t count.
New tattoos require moisturizing either through ointment or lotion. The tattoo process irritates skin and these creams help soothe it afterward. The problem with winter months is that we bundle ourselves up. You have to make sure you can apply ointment or lotion at least three times a day for the first two weeks at least. This is always a potential problem among winter inks as long sleeves, pants and boots are the norm among clothing. Try wearing layers that allow you to expose your tattoo for easy access when needed or fit these moisturizing sessions in while you’re at home. Also be mindful of the dry, cold air that comes with winter. Your skin will become dry more easily in this type of air and the last thing you want is your tattoo to start to itch. You might have to moisturize more than you would in the summer months but if it prevents you from scratching then go for it.
Everyone knows you have to wash and pat dry a tattoo as it heals. It helps keeps the area from becoming infected. This theoretically is as easy to do in winter as it is in summer months. However, it’s easy to skimp on the cleaning when you don’t have the constant sweating from the summer heat to remind you. Just because you don’t sweat as much in the winter doesn’t mean you can wash your tattoo any less.
Swimming and prolonged submersion into water aren’t good for new tattoos. In the bitter, cold months in Canada, it’s easy to think you don’t have to worry about that. But keep in mind of these things if you go on vacation to somewhere warm or up to your cottage for the weekend. Pools and hot tubs aren’t good for that ink, no matter what the temperature outside is.
The chill of winter also makes it tempting to take longer showers or even treat yourself to a bath. Again, these instances of submerged or prolonged exposure to water aren’t good. So however tempting it might be to take a warm bubble bath or an extra long hot shower, remember your ink.
Winter months pose unique challenged to new ink. Layers and coverage are ideal in the cold air but certain clothing items are problematic for tattoos. Pants make legs and hip tattoos harder to heal and boots and socks prolong the healing of foot tattoos. Ink covered by footwear can take up to four weeks to heal completely. The key is to wear clothing that is loose and doesn’t rub up against the tattoo. So maybe delay your foot tat until the summer months but if you’re thinking about a neck or hand tattoo winter is an ideal time to get it.