So after just about 4 days after getting my elbow tattooed, which I must admit was an experience for me, I am well into the healing process. To disclaim, the healing process of tattoos is different for everyone and I am not justifying how it should be, but these are my experiences.
For the first few days I was in some minor pain that was just mainly irritation and some bruising that formed around the fine lines of the script of the tattoo. I am a big fan of constantly cleaning the affected area and especially since it is on my elbow that touches the dirty counters of where I work, keeping it clean is a big concern of mine.
To clean my tattoos, I have always preferred using a spray by the trademarked brand Bactin. It is a cleanser, pain relieving, and infection fighting spray that covers any affected areas and cleans them thoroughly. Spray the tattoo and its surrounding areas and with either a CLEAN wash cloth or even paper towel, gently pat the tattoo until mostly dry. After that comes the moisturizing process. Now if the tattoo becomes too dry and too brittle there is more of a risk of deforming the tattoo, losing some of the ink, and even infections (which I have had on my leg and let me say they are not fun at all). I prefer for the first few days after being tattooed, using a healing ointment named Aquaphor. Applying a thin layer every few hours seems to keep my tattoo from drying out completely which is a plus. The Bactin/Aquaphor duo that I use seems to really work for me and after the first couple of days I continue to clean with Bactin but substitute the ointment out for a regular lotion such as Lubiderm every so often to keep the moisture.
This was the best close up picture I can get by myself of the tattoo where you can see that the redness for the most part has completely disappeared. I am still irritated in some ways especially when bending my arm back and forth. Looking at my arm towards the left there is definitely some swelling and the words are all individually raised which is very natural. Most of it has scabbed over completely which is a good sign of proper healing! I can not stress this enough, DO NOT UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE PICK AT YOUR SCABS! If you are to take a way any of the scabs that are on the tattoo you are prolonging the healing process and interrupting the natural flow of it.
From another perspective of the tattoo (sorry not the best of quality) it is evident that I am going to need to get a touch up which is not a complete shock to me. Some of the lines appear to be shaky or even from just brushing up against my shirts of somethings at work so of my scabs partially came off. It also slightly appears that my skin could have rejected the ink as well. That is natural and happens to almost everyone depending on if your skin is sensitive, how heavy or light handed the artist was, and even the type of ink used. Looks like it might be another 2 weeks before I am completely healed and ready for touch ups.
All in all I am actual very happy with how easy this tattoo is healing. I am a typical person to take twice as long to heal apart from everyone else. I have fair and thin skin which makes my healing process much longer and usually much more painful unfortunately. Will keep updating and post a final healed picture in the future!