Anyone with a new tattoo will empathise with the hell of itchy, healing skin, but those with eczema will have the double whammy of new tattoos combined with itchy eczema-prone skin!
Itching is normal as a tattoo heals, but it is imperative that you do not scratch that itch. (If the itching is accompanied by heat, inflammation, pus, spots or anything that looks worrying - check it out with your tattooist and if necessary, your doctor. Don’t let an infection get the better of your tattoo!)
Your tattoo needs to heal and it needs to be left alone to do this: no scratching, no itching, no picking at scabs or flakes, however maddening the itch - and at about a week in, as scabs and flakes start to come away, it can be torturous!
But it’s not just that you’re risking ruining the design by disturbing the ink, but you’re also risking the tattoo getting infected, which can be really problematic.
Refraining from itching is not an easy task, but it helps if you tackle the problem from three sides at once.
- Load up on self-control/distraction techniques to resist the urge to itch (see our article Eczema Life Hacks: 15 of the Best Tricks & Tips for Coping With The Itch for some tips!) because prevention is better than cure.
- Use ice packs, knitting, mindfulness, getting stuck into box sets: do whatever works for you to distract yourself.
- Cover over the tattoos with loose, light clothing so they’re out of sight, out of mind.
- Cut your nails to reduce the risk of infection if you do itch unconsciously.
- Wear thin cotton gloves at night if you have to!
- Press or pat the area through clothing rather than scratching or rubbing it.
- Steer well clear of aftercare products that could trigger a flare-up, with the itchy-scratchy hell that inevitably follows.
- Remember that not every aftercare product is suitable for every single individual skin: some contain ingredients that might flare you up, even if they come recommended by others.
- Stick to gentle, safe, unperfumed favourites, or patch test any new products carefully a couple of weeks before you get your tattoo. Same applies to any skincare, haircare etc that you’ll use in the period after your tattooing.
- Pick out aftercare products that will soothe rather than irritate your new tattoo. Balmonds Skin Salvation and Balmonds Daily Moisturising Cream both contain naturally anti-inflammatory herbs to reduce swelling, inflammation and itchiness, and are rich in nutritious oils to support the skin’s natural cycle of repair and regeneration.
- Use balm to begin with, but if your tattoo is getting dry, flaky and itchy after the first week apply a small amount of lotion to the area to keep it moisturised.
Skin Salvation with hemp & beeswax, from £7.99 for 30ml
Daily Moisturising Cream with hemp & shea butter, from £13.99 for 100ml