The first few days of aftercare on your fresh ink are the most important. Following the steps here can help both first-timers and experienced collectors.
The Wrap: Your artist will wrap the fresh tattoo in a clear plastic wrap. Keep wrap on tattoo for at least 2 hours, but not longer than 8 hours. Over this time, some ink and blood might gather underneath the wrap. This is normal.
Before removing wrap wash hands very well. Try not to scratch new ink with your fingernails. Do not replace wrap unless your artist tells you to.
The Wash: The first few times you wash your new tattoo are the most important. Following these instructions will help your new tattoo heal faster and better.
The First Day:
-Use your clean hands only! Do not use towels or brushes. Do NOT ever scratch or pick at tattoo.
-Avoid letting dust, pet dander, dirt, other people's hands, or other foreign objects touch the fresh ink.
-Wash your new tattoo with running water and antibacterial soap. As you wash, slowly turn up the water temperature to the hottest water you can stand. The hotter the water, the better.
-Firmly wash fresh tattoo for 5-7 minutes.
-Let cold water run over freshly inked skin for 2-3 minutes
-Dry skin with fresh paper towels. Pat dry the skin, do not rub.
-Once dry, apply a thin amount of lotion or tattoo salve to freshly inked skin.
-Repeat this process 2-3 times the first day.
-At bedtime, try to avoid letting tattoo be touched by sheets, blankets, animals, or sleeping partners.
-Again, only use clean hands when washing tattoo.
-After the first day, wash your new tattoo 3-4 times a day with antibacterial soap. Your washes at this point should be shorter. Don't let water sit on the inked skin. Try to keep showers short.
-Do not go swimming until tattoo is fully healed.
-Continue to apply a thin layer of lotion or tattoo salve after each wash.
What to expect from new ink:
The amount of time a new tattoo takes to heal depends on a few factors. Each tattoo is different. The size, colors, and placement of a tattoo can affect how it heals. This is what to expect from most tattoos during their healing process.
Ink and bodily fluids may still seep from tattoo. It is very important to wash tattoo properly using the instructions above. Remember that a tattoo is an open wound.
Some bodily fluid may continue to seep from fresh ink. Over these days, continue to wash your tattoo.
A thin layer of skin will form over the tattoo. It is normal for this skin to peel and feel itchy. Do NOT pick or scratch this new layer of skin. If you develop a scab on any part of the tattoo, be extra careful not to pick or scratch that area. Continue washing daily with short washes. As long as you keep your tattoo clean, scabbing should not occur.
The tattoo will finish peeling. The tattoo may continue to itch. Resist the urge to scratch or touch newly tattooed skin. A tattoo can take up to a few months to fully heal into the skin.
Tips For Healed Tattoos
-Avoid direct sunlight on tattoo ink, and always wear sun screen when outdoors.
-Continue to use lotion or tattoo salve for as long as possible after getting tattooed. Many collectors apply lotion to their tattoos every day for the rest of their lives.