Hello and howdy, once again!  It’s me, 5, coming straight back in with a long-overdue installment of our chilling, hair-raising, and vastly informative blog!  Completely off topic, I know the word ‘blog’ is the shortened form of ‘web log,’ but am I alone in thinking that it is the written equivalent of a sound made just prior to vomiting?  It’s just a really effed-up sounding word.  Anyhow.  Where was I?

By way of a brief explanation for my absence, I was stalling.  With the demands of career, home, family, and life in the ‘biz, I found myself completely fried and served up greasy.  I couldn’t rally my thoughts or creativity to assemble an article, and managed to procrastinate WAY more than I had hoped.  For those of you that have waited patiently…thank you.  I love you all…  Okay, enough idle chatter.  All of you, hush up.  I’m about to kick some knowledge at you.

A little elf messaged me from somewhere in Fairyland.  She said she would love to see an article on the subject of Long Term care of tattoos.  Specifically, tips, tricks, and information about the care processes beyond the initial healing.  Now, being the head-in-the-clouds dreamer that I am, I know better than to displease an elf of ANY kind.  Elves, you see, can become ill-tempered and go rogue if they become upset.  You have to play the game by their rules…what can you do?  So, to appease the elf in question, and thus secure continued peace between the Elven Empire and Fiveshire, I present a gooney-bird’s eye view of way-aftercare.

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Let’s begin with a little simple science.  In a properly executed tattoo, your design and color exist in the layers of skin just below the epidermis.  While the top-most layers of the epidermis are constantly sloughing and regenerating, those cells of the dermis below do so an order of magnitude slower.  To say the tattooed cells never replace themselves is false.  They do the whole dying, regenerating and repeating song-and-dance just like any other cells.  Tattoos will eventually fade and blur as a result of this cellular life-cycle.  Better to think of the epidermis as something like a sacrificial armor.  The epidermis suffers the brunt of solar radiation damage, minor cuts, burns, abrasions and oxidation damage.  Our outer skin is a tough shell, offering itself to life’s harshness in order to protect the more critical cellular systems  below the surface.  We should all thank our skin for this noble sacrifice.

Knowing, now, the easy physics of a tattoo…let’s talk long-term aftercare.

Since your tattoo is LITERALLY an integral part of your skin, it does not take a genius to surmise that proper skin care will benefit your art in the long-haul.  Sunscreen of SPF 30 or greater is highly beneficial to ALL tattoos, regardless of color scheme.  Many people wonder when they should use sunscreen.  The best answer I can give is year-round, as often as possible.  It is folly to assume your clothing does much good.  Most forms of UV and Solar radiation are not affected by the materials you wear over your skin…notably gamma, microwave, x-ray, and UV-B.  A key to protection is the active ingredient in the sunscreen.  Usually, Titanium dioxide.  That’s right, you’re smearing on a suit of titanium armor, y’all.  That’s pretty metal, if you ask me.  This film of TiO2 is a reflective countermeasure to the stew of charged particles flying at our cells at the speed of light.  Cool, right?

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Since we are all mostly comprised of water, it’s a good bet that getting dehydrated is a bad thing.  Your skin cells are no different!  They get thirsty, especially out here in the Old Pueblo, or as we locals call it, The Front Steps of Hell.  Replenishing the moisture your body loses daily is important, and that goes for the wrapper your guts came in.  A good quality skin lotion can work wonders to this end.  I recommend something as inert as possible…the idea here is to moisturize.  Not to medicate.  Clean, white, low fragrance, low paraffin, glitter-free, is not giraffe snot…you get the picture.

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This last bit will sound like a PSA, but one of the best things you can do to keep your ‘skinvestments’  looking amazing for the years to come is to be a healthy person.  If the rest of your body is healthy, your skin will be healthy also.  Eating well, getting good sleep, exercising and keeping your stress levels low can work wonders on tattoos.  Sounds a little hokey, I know…especially since all this knowledge is something I rarely use, myself!

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Wrapping up,  I hope this one is useful.  If you have friends or family, share this article and help spread it around.  If we get everyone we can on the same sheet of music about long-term aftercare it will have positive effects on color stability, contrast and longevity of those beautiful and boggling tattoos we love so much!  Side benefit: reduced chance of skin cancer, extreme dehydration, sleep deprivation, heart problems…and attacks by Elves.

They come in the night, you know.  Elves, I mean.

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