I get questions everyday, in person and on the internet about my tattoos. Today I am going to tell you about all the tattoos I have on my body, what they mean to me, when and why I got them, and how bad they hurt.
DISCLAIMER: If you don’t like or believe in tattoos then don’t read this post. To each their own! 🙂
Healing & Aftercare
While every tattoo artist is different and will recommend different products for your tattoo’s aftercare, I have used the same products for every tattoo I have gotten and I haven’t ever had problems with the routine.
Before I go to bed the night after I’ve been tattooed, I wash it with warm water and Dial Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap. I then apply a thin layer of Aquafor and go to sleep. I wash my tattoo at least twice a day with the soap for the entire healing process.
After the 3rd or 4th day I usually transition from Aquafor to a lightweight, natural, scentless lotion like this one. I apply lotion generously throughout the day whenever my tattoos feel dry and tight.
The healing process of a bigger, full-color tattoo can last up to 2 weeks or sometimes even longer. When you leave the shop, your tattoo will be clean and smooth. Usually by the end of the first week the tattoo will begin to peel and itch. After 2 weeks there may still be some scabbing (depending on the location) but the tattoo should be almost completely healed by this point.
It is SO SO important not to itch or pick at your tattoo! If you remove the skin that is naturally shedding too early you can cause the tattoo to heal patchy. I’m telling you, it can be VERY hard not to itch them. Sometimes I feel like the healing process is worse than getting the actual tattoo. If you can’t stand it and need to relive the itch just lightly slap your tattoo, DO NOT USE YOUR NAILS TO SCRATCH!
The Tattoos & The Pain
To start, lets go back to my 18th birthday when I got my very first tattoo. I decided I wanted it to represent Sun Valley, where I grew up spending my summers with my grandparents. Since Sun Valley is a mountain town I got a mountain silhouette on my left rib cage for my first tattoo.
Because this was my first tattoo I think it did hurt more than a lot of the other tattoos I have gotten. I remember describing the pain as a burning sensation, which is still how I would categorize tattoo pain.
This tattoo hurt probably a 5/10 but I could imagine a larger tattoo on the rib cage being much more painful than that.
It healed quickly with little to no itching.
The summer I was 18 I got my second tattoo, a teal colored diamond at the top of my right forearm. At the time, I was having some personal struggles in my life and decided to get the tattoo as a reminder to be confident and love myself. This is my least favorite piece on my body because I didn’t go to a very good artist and the line work is really patchy. I plan on having it redone once I start my right arm’s sleeve.
Like my first tattoo, this one was very quick and not very painful. I would give it a 4/10 pain. The healing was also very easy because it was so small.
I got my 3rd tattoo the summer of my 19th year. It is my mom, step-mom, grandma, and little brother’s favorite flowers around my left wrist. When I decided to get the cuff I knew I wanted to continue working on my arm from there. It was important to me that my arms have a consistent style so I did my research and chose an artist that I wanted to complete my sleeve.
My friend Gavin recommended American Classic Tattoo in Nampa, ID to me and I fell in love with the owner Wit’s work.
I was expecting this tattoo to hurt a lot because the wrist seemed like a sensitive spot to me but it really wasn’t painful. This tattoo was 6/10 pain. The healing took about 2 weeks with a lot of peeling and itching.
I got my 4th tattoo right after my 20th birthday, the beginning of this year. I wanted a tattoo that represented my passion and desire to travel the world so I asked Wit to draw me up a hot air balloon with the globe inside of it. This is definitely one of my favorite tattoos on my entire body and one that I get the most compliments on.
After I got this tattoo I knew what I wanted my sleeve to look like. The pain was a 4/10, a very easy spot to have tattooed. But the healing was irritating because it was such a large space to have tattooed at once, it peeled and itched a lot.
My 5th tattoo is one I deeply regret and debated including in this post. I decided I wanted to talk about it and urge people not to impulsively get matching tattoos with friends. My friend and I decided we wanted matching tattoos because we were so close and it was her birthday. Not even 2 months later we stopped being friends (pretty embarrassing mistake to make).
If you’re considering getting a matching tattoo with a friend, DON’T! Go get your nose pierced together, or buy some friendship bracelets. Don’t make the same mistake as me! Luckily, I love the tattoo on it’s own and plan on altering it by adding more mandalas up my foot and leg.
This tattoo was by far the most painful I have gotten. I would rate it a 10/10 (and I am pretty tough when it comes to tattoo pain). The healing process was easy and quick but the pain of getting the tattoo was definitely the worst I have experienced so far.
My 6th tattoo was only a few months ago and was really more like 3 tattoos in one session. Wit added a rose, representing The City Of Roses (Portland, OR), where I was raised. and 2 birds flying below the balloon on my upper arm.
These tattoos were all pretty painless but the healing was very itchy and the red rose took the longest of any of my tattoos to heal (almost 3 weeks). I did some research and found out that a lot of people struggle with red colored tattoos because the skin rejects the color more than others, causing it to stay irritated longer than usual. 5/10 pain.
I got my 7th tattoo and the 4th session for my sleeve this month. My sleeve is finally almost finished and I couldn’t be happier with the results. We added the St. Johns bridge, a bridge in Portland, OR that I grew up around. As well as many little flowers, clouds, and shading to fill in the arm.
The inner arm was the second most painful spot to have tattooed so far. The healing was also very itchy and uncomfortable. I think it’s well worth it because the work turned out beautifully but the ditch (inner elbow area) was a 9/10 pain and the rest of the work we did in this session probably a 6/10.
Tattoo Future – What’s Next?
I plan on waiting a little while to get my next tattoo because I am a small girl and only have so much skin to fill over the course of my life. I do know exactly what I want next. The underside of my upper arm, the only part of my left sleeve that isn’t finished yet, will have the Sun Valley sun and a rainbow arching over the bridge.
I plan on having my right arm be a full ocean sleeve. with jelly fish on my forearm and a big ship on my upper arm. I want this arm to be primarily blue because that’s my favorite color and it calms me to look at.
Tattoos are like an addiction as many people will say! I love seeing all the beautiful work different artists do so show me your tattoos in the comments below!
Thank you so much for reading! <3