With so many aftercare methods available for the healing of your new tattoo, and with so much conflicting information on the internet, you may become overwhelmed when it comes to the best routine for you and your ink.
One of the age-old questions in tattooing is whether wet healing is really the best method for healing your tattoo. We dive into everything you need to know about this process and whether it’s right for you.
Table of Contents (clickable)
Related: Tattoo Healing Stages
Should You Wet Heal a Tattoo?
Wet healing is a process of tattoo healing where your tattoo is kept moist during the aftercare process. Providing a moist environment for an open wound can have its advantages as well as disadvantages. Some artists prefer one method over the next, and one may work better for your skin type over another.
Keep in mind that wet healing could refer to both the continuous moisturization of your tattoo, as well as keeping your tattoo wrapped between washes. If you do intend to rewrap your tattoo, there are a few precautions you should take. Have a look at our article, What Are Tattoo Wraps And How Long Should I Keep My Tattoo Wrapped?, for more information.
How Long Does the Wet Healing Process Take?
Wet healing requires a bit more attention than a standard aftercare process. You should monitor, wash, and reapply products to your new tattoo every six hours or so for at least the first week of healing. If you are rewrapping your tattoo at the beginning of the process, you can stop wrapping it at around the four-day mark.
The Benefits of the Wet Healing Process
There are a few scientific benefits to wet healing.
- It can accelerate the healing process - A medical study found that wet dressings provided a more ideal healing environment for wounds than dry dressings. The wet dressing helped prevent excessive scabbing which led to a quicker heal-time. Keep in mind that a tattoo is a wound, but it is different and requires different conditions than a surgical or medical wound.
- It can reduce the pain of your tattoo - Wet healing lowers stress response in your wound and this helps promote faster healing of your tattoo, as well.
- You can decrease the chances of infection - A medical study discovered that wet wound healing that was done properly reduced the signs of infection and allowed cells to close and heal the wound more quickly.
The Disadvantages of the Wet Healing Process
There are a few important factors to keep in mind if you choose to wet heal your tattoo.
- You need to be cautious about what products you use during the wet healing process. Some products can actually damage skin cells from healing, and others may prevent oxygen from reading the wound. If you choose to wet heal with an ointment, have a look at our favorites: Best Ointments For Tattoos.
- Too much moisture can actually cause more harm than good. You need the ideal amount of wet for the perfect healing conditions, and too much could actually cause issues like scab bubbling.
- You can risk compromising the sterile conditions for your wound through improper wet healing techniques. It’s for this reason that we don’t recommend rewrapping your tattoo, and all products should be applied to clean skin with clean hands.
Areas of the Body That Should be Wet Healed
Some body parts or areas of your skin benefit from wet healing more than others. These places include:
- Areas that experience a lot of movement
- Areas that will come into contact with irritants such as rubbing against clothing or work-related issues
Our Final Thoughts
Wet healing may work for one person but might not work for the next. It’s always best to speak to your tattoo artist and see what aftercare process they recommend for you and your skin. If you do plan to rewrap your tattoo for your wet healing routine, discuss this with a professional, as well. In addition, whatever healing method you choose to pursue should always be done carefully with clean hands and a freshly cleansed tattoo.