People choose to get tattooed for many reasons throughout their lives. This can include when the skin isn’t in the best condition. And no, this doesn’t just refer to people as they age. Our skin is constantly changing, and at times, it may be more sensitive, weak, or brittle than at others. That, in our opinion, should not necessarily stop you from getting new ink. It may, however, change how you treat your newly tattooed skin, starting with how to remove adhesive bandages from sensitive skin.Read More: What Makes Saniderm Better Than Other Aftercare Alternatives?
Why Is Your Skin Sensitive or Fragile?
At first, you may think of a grandparent whose skin has become almost paper thin and easily injured. Yet skin can become weak at any age (and some grandparents have stronger, healthier skin than others).
It’s worth noting that skin constantly changes throughout life due to age, genetics, diet, health status, hydration levels, moisture in the skin, and more. Skin on certain parts of the body (such as the face, neck, sternum, and hands) is also likely to be thinner, more fragile, and thus more sensitive.
Skin can also become more sensitive due to a rash, acne, rosacea, scarring, malnutrition, or even from excess stress, allergies, or due to medical issues, recent medical treatments, or medications. It may even be due to the bandage adhesive itself, which can injure weak or brittle skin if not handled correctly. And some skincare products, such as soaps, lotions, and anti-aging products, may leave the skin more sensitive or fragile.
And finally, long-time smokers and heavy drinkers, as well as people who spend a lot of time in the sun tend to have more fragile skin as smoking, excess alcohol consumption, and excess sun exposure can break down collagen, the protein that keeps skin youthful, supple, and healthy.
Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injuries
Medical adhesive-related skin injury is the phrase used to define any skin damage caused by the use of medical adhesive products, including tapes, dressings, patches, and wound closures. This can mean skin blistering, tears, irritation, and inflammation.
Depending on the conditions above, your skin may be vulnerable to injury even with the gentlest application of adhesives, especially if the adhesive is left in place for an extended time (days or weeks). So, if you’re taking care of a new tattoo and using a tattoo bandage, you’ll want to know the risks and how to gently remove the bandage without hurting the skin.
For example, if your sensitive skin is already inflamed and irritated, simply removing a bandage can cause skin injury. Some people can also be allergic to the adhesive, which causes what’s known as “irritant contact dermatitis.” The result is skin that appears red and inflamed with well-defined borders directly under the bandage. Luckily, this condition typically resolves within a day or two after removing (and not reapplying) the bandage.
Medical Adhesive-Related Skin Injury Treatment
There are some ways to help limit the risk of reaction to the adhesive in bandages as well as how to deal with an injury if it occurs, such as:
- Keep the skin moisturized both from within and without. That is, drink plenty of water and drink less dehydrating beverages like caffeinated or alcoholic drinks. Don’t forget to use a quality tattoo lotion or balm to help protect the skin. Avoid using medications, likesuch as topical cortisone creams, which may make the skin thinner and weaker and more likely to rip or tear.
- Avoid leaving the adhesive on the skin for prolonged periods. Replace the bandage at least a few times per week.
- Ensure the skin stays clean and follow tattoo aftercare guidelines closely to help limit bacterial growth, so the wound heals properly.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes lots of vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables, which can help your skin produce collagen, which supports healing. In addition, add more high-protein foods like quality meats, fish, eggs, and beans to the diet, which also provide the amino acids the body needs to produce collagen.
- Use a non-adhesive dressing over the affected skin and then cover it with a second dressing further out from the new tattoo or more sensitive flesh, especially if you know you have an allergy or sensitivity to adhesives used in bandages.
- Consider where the bandage is applied and adjust for the contour and movement of the body as well as activity levels.
- And of course, if you’re allergic to materials in the adhesive or bandage, you will need to find another alternative covering.
- Take an antihistamine like Benadryl to help relieve itching. While calamine lotion is often used to help relieve an itch, it is not recommended for use on a fresh tattoo as it can dry out the skin. Instead, you may use a cool, CLEAN compress for around 10 to 15 minutes up to 3 times per day. (If you still itch, and the compress and your tattoo lotion or balm aren’t working, check with your dermatologist, who may recommend another type of medicated cream or ointment.)
- Avoid scratching or rubbing the area, which could further damage your irritated skin and new tattoo.
How to Remove the Adhesive Bandage from Sensitive Skin
Beginning with the edge of the bandage, very gently pull back the bandage over itself in the same direction the hair grows. Avoid pulling upward, and forget about the old adage of just ripping a bandage off quickly. Slow and steady wins the race and helps protect the skin.
Some people may find the Saniderm bandage sticks more than on others, making it more challenging to remove. If that’s the case, you can go into a shower and allow the warm water (NOT HOT WATER, as this can cause the adhesive to bind in unintended ways) to gently loosen the adhesive, so it’s easier and more comfortable to remove.
If the Saniderm film is still sticking, then you can use a small amount of lotion or balm (such as Sanibalm, coconut oil, or olive oil) around the edges to help loosen the adhesive, so the bandage can release more easily. Just remember to clean the skin well if you use any oils, as oils can keep the tattooed skin from breathing, which can further irritate the skin.
When Shouldn’t You Use Saniderm’s Medical Grade Adhesive on Skin?
If you have found that you are allergic to medical adhesives in the past, it’s a good idea to test a small strip on your healthy skin before applying it over a new tattoo to see how your skin reacts. If you find that you do have a reaction, such as inflammation (redness) or itching, then Saniderm may not be the right product for your skin. Reach out to a dermatologist who should be able to provide alternative recommendations for how to deal with your particular skin issue or allergy.