What to Eat to Help Your Tattoo Heal

What to Eat to Help Your Tattoo Heal

Black and grey realism tattoo
By Mike from Sutton Coldfield

You know that saying you are what you eat? Well, it is true. All the building blocks of the cells in your body are made up of nutrients from the food you put in your mouth. That includes your skin.

You already know that you should fuel up before getting a tattoo to keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the process. You also know that you need to snack regularly during a long session (but not while your artist is working, that is unhygienic and rude, not to mention the chewing can cause you to move about, with permanent implications for your design). But did you know that what you eat the weeks following an appointment with your artist and their needles can help your tattoo heal better?

A tattoo is basically thousands of tiny open wounds. Your body and your immune system will immediately begin working overtime to heal it. In order to help them along the way, it is important that you see about giving them the best possible raw materials to work with. You can support your body’s healing process in a number of ways, but proper nutrition is one of the biggest pieces of the puzzle. 

Avoid inflammation and allergens

Geometric sleeve
By Cata from the Hagley Road studio

Foods to avoid include those that promote inflammation – red meats, foods high in sugar, salt and additives, as well as overly processed foods. These can interfere with the body’s natural healing processes. The same is said to be true for an excessive amount of dairy.

Instead, you want to opt for clean foods high in fibre, vitamins and minerals, to get the recovery engine revving. Not to mention help you regain some energy if you have, let’s say, been sitting for a full day for your back piece or full sleeve. 

Foods high in saturated fats are more difficult for the body to digest. This takes energy that could have used towards skin regeneration. You also want to stay away from food substances you have any inkling of an allergy or oversensitivity towards. Not only will any potential skin rash affect the area of your tattoo twice as bad (at least), but your immune system will need to do battle on two fronts. 

Phoenix tattoo
By Mel from Vivid Ink Stafford

Boost collagen production

Collagen is a fibrous protein that gives skin its suppleness and stretch. Foods high in sugar can raise inflammation levels and hinder collagen production. On the other hand, foods high in good unsaturated fats, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, almonds and avocados, can help boost it. Vegetables and fruits rich in antioxidants that help fight free radicals can also be beneficial, such as bell peppers, dark leafy greens, citrus fruits and berries. As a bonus, healthy skin will keep your tattoo looking better for longer. 

Easy on the chilli

And you are aware that you should steer clear of anything that raises your body temperature or causes you to sweat, right? No sauna, no running, and no intense gym workouts for at least two weeks after having your tattoo done. Spicy foods also cause a reaction to our sympathetic nervous system, activating our sweat glands. So if you have a natural inclination towards spicy foods, now might not be the best time to explore that Carolina Reaper harvest from your cousin’s chilli garden. Just saying. 


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