Tattoo Aftercare Instructions
Now you have your fresh 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 these guidelines. A really beautiful tattoo can turn into a disaster if the proper aftercare is not taken.
Wash and Treat
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and mild/NON-SCENTED soap. 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. Wash your new tattoo about 3 times daily. (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.)
Then 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 (clear/yellowish ointment) would be your best choice.
If you prefer, you can also use specialty products such as Tattoo Goo, H2Ocean, or the many more that's out there. It's not necessary, as many over the counter products work just fine, but it's your choice. Use the products as directed -- continue for 3-5 days.
**Do not use Neosporin or Vaseline. These wonderful products are used for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos. Some can have an allergic reaction to the Neosporin, which causes little red bumps. When the bumps go away, so does the ink, and you end up with a polka-dotted tattoo. **
After that, continue to keep it clean, but you can use lotion when needed instead of ointment after the first few days, to keep the skin soft and moist. Whatever lotion you use, it should be dye and fragrance free. A lot of artists recommend Lubriderm, but I have found that Lubriderm dries the tattoo out.
I think that Vaseline Intensive care lotion works the best in my opinion.
Bathing, Showering, Hot Tubs, and Swimming
Yes, you can (and should!) shower with a new tattoo, wash your tattoo use lukewarm water and mild/NON-SCENTED soap. 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. Swimming - whether it is a pool, fresh water or salt water - should be avoided for at least 2 weeks.
Scabbing and Peeling
After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. A little is sometimes normal and there is no need to panic. (Do not apply ointment or lotion to a softened scab - wait for it to dry) You will also start to itch, just like 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!
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 30-50SPF sun block. This will keep your tattoo protected while in the sun.