Caring for your tattoo after it has been inked on your skin is an important process to promote the maximum appeal and appearance as well as to prevent infection of the newly wounded area. Your tattoo artist will make sure that your tattoo gets the best color as well as maintain safety and cleanliness of your tattoo right after. It is very important that you follow their instructions. From that moment then, you are fully in charge.
Here are the necessary measures that you need to protect your tattoo and yourself?
Always wash your hands before touching your tattoo!
- When you get home: Remove bandage within 2-3 hours after getting your tattoo. Do not re-bandage. When removing the covering, wet or soak it with warm water. This is to make sure that your skin surface does not stick to the covering. It might be painful and might damage your skin further and the design. It is very important that you do not remove it before the recommended time or else you will be putting yourself in a situation that may be prone to infection because your broken skin will invite dirt and airborne bacteria. (See more details below.)
- Thoroughly wash your tattoo right after removing the covering, use an antibacterial soap and lukewarm water. Be gentle, do not use a washcloth or anything that will exfoliate your tattoo. Only use your hands. Do not scrub your skin!
- Gently pat your tattoo dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Do not rub, or use a fabric with a rough surface.
- Avoid soaking the tattoo in water, for example swimming pools, bathtubs, sauna, and salt or fresh water. It can promote infection, leech or ruin the color of the tattoo. This activity is contraindicated for about two weeks.
- Avoid exposure to the sun. While your tattoo is still healing, keep it protected by covering it with your clothes or loose covering because heat can cause scabbing and scarring and may affect the result. After healing, continue to protect it with sunblock to keep the colors glowing for a long time since it can cause damage or fading of the tattoo.
- Do not pick at any scab or scratch it when it's itchy. Apply the recommended tattoo aftercare products. This is part of the normal process of healing, and it is important that you avoid any situation or activity that can probably damage it. The tattoo was made by poking a needle into the flesh. It broke through your skin layer and drew bloodstream with every poke. At this time in time, your brand-new tattoo is more associated with an open wound than a finished masterpiece of design.
- On the first night, you may want to wrap your tattoo in saran wrap to prevent sticking to your bedding. Do not use any cloth bandages or pads, as the fibers of this material can adhere to your open tattoo and hinder the healing process.
- Wear clean, soft clothing over your tattoo for the first 2 weeks- nothing abrasive or irritating. For a foot tattoo: go barefoot as much as possible. If you must wear shoes, first wrap your clean tattoo in saran wrap, then cover with a clean cotton sock before putting on your shoe. Avoid sandals or flip-flops for this period to prevent chafing and damage to the tattoo.
- After day 4: On the 3rd or 4th day your tattoo will begin to peel. This is normal! Do not pick at the skin. Begin using a mild, white, unscented lotion, free of dyes or Perfumes.
- Use lotion for minimum 2 weeks, 1-2 times daily.
What Not To Do:
- Do not pick, scratch, peel, slap, rub or irritate your tattoo.
- You can shower, but you may not soak your tattoo for 2 weeks. No swimming, soaking or hot tub.
- You may not expose your tattoo to the sun for at least 3 weeks, after that you must use sunblock.
- Do not wear abrasive materials, jewelry, or shoes that rub against your tattoo.
- Do not let anyone touch your tattoo without washing their hands.
- Beware of gym equipment, wash it well before using it.
- Ice your tattoo to reduce swelling.
- Elevate your tattoo, to reduce swelling.
- Take short showers.
Follow this link to watch videos about tattoo aftercare.
So, you just got your new tattoo and you want to take good care of it! From this point on, your artist is not responsible for any infection or problems you may have with your tattoo if you don't take proper care of it. It is very important that you follow your artists instructions. Your new tattoo is sort of a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection.
1.) LEAVE THE BANDAGE ON FOR A MINIMUM OF TWO HOURS.
2.) WASH & TREAT
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and mild, liquid antibacterial (Don't use Dial Soap) to gently wash away any ointment, blood and/or plasma and to completely clean the area. Do not use a washcloth or anything abrasive. Your hand is your best tool in this case. (If your tattoo feels slimy and slippery, you have probably been oozing plasma. Try to gently remove as much of this as possible - when the plasma dries on the skin surface, it creates scabs.)Pat (do not rub) the area firmly with a CLEAN towel or paper towel to get it completely dry. Follow with a very light application of your choice of ointment. A&D vitamin enriched ointment would be my first choice, but if you don't have any, Bacitracin or a similar antibacterial ointment is acceptable.**DO NOT USE NEOSPORIN** This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos.
You can also use a specialty product such as Tattoo Goo, H2Ocean or many over the counter products work just fine as well. Use the products as directed as continue for 3-5 days. After that, continue to keep it clean, but you can use lotion when needed instead of ointment, to keep the skin soft. Whatever lotion you use, it should be dye and fragrance free. A lot of artists recommend Lubriderm
4.) BATHING, SHOWERING, SWIMMING AND HOT TUBS
Yes, you can shower with a new tattoo. It's OK to get your tattoo wet - just don't soak it. Submerging your tattoo in a bath or hot tub can cause serious damage, so you'll want to avoid those for 2-3 weeks, but showering is perfectly fine as long as you don't saturate your tattoo. If you get soap or shampoo on your tattoo, just remove it quickly with water. Swimming - whether it be a pool, fresh water or salt water - should be avoided for at least 2 weeks.
5.) SCABBING AND PEALING
After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. Apply warm moist compresses to the scabs for about 5 minutes 2-3 times a day to soften them and they will eventually come off on their own. (Do not apply ointment or lotion to a softened scab - wait for it to dry) You will also start to itch, just like a sunburn when it begins to heal. The advice here is, don't pick, and don't scratch! If the skin itches, slap it. If it is peeling, put lotion on it. And if it is scabbing, just leave it alone. Your tattoo is almost healed, and now is not the time to ruin it.
6.) PROTECTION FROM THE SUN
After your tattoo is healed, from now on, you will always want to protect it from the sun's ultraviolet rays. These can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very fast. Before spending a lot of time in excessive heat, protect your tattoo with a minimum 30SPF sunblock. This will keep your tattoo vibrant for many years, and it will continue to be a source of great pride.