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.
Leave That Bandage Alone!
Your artist took the care to cover up your new tattoo for a very good reason – to keep air-born bacteria from invading your wound. Yes, as pretty as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Leave the bandage on for a minimum of two hours. Excitement of having a new tattoo will make you want to remove the bandage so you can show your friends, but your friends will just have to wait until later.
Washing and Treating Your Tattoo
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and mild, liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap (Tattoo Goo Soap is my highest recommendation. Dial tends to be too harsh – generic brand antibacterial soaps are actually better) 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.)
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. Ink nurse or Tattoo Goo is what we recommend to our clients.
**Do not use Neosporin. This is a wonderful product 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.**
Specialty Products and Lotions for Tattoos
If you prefer, you can also use a specialty product such as Ink nurse or Tattoo Goo. Use the products as directed and 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. We recommend Ink nurse & Tattoo Goo branded lotions.
Bathing, Showering, Hot Tubs, and Swimming with your Tattoo
Yes, you can (and should!) 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 4 weeks. Keep your fresh ink out of the sun.
Scabbing and Peeling of a Tattoo
After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. Excessive scabbing could indicate a poorly-done tattoo, but a little is sometimes normal and there is no need to panic. 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 or it is peeling, apply recommended ointment or 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!
Sun Protection for your Tattoo
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.
Follow These steps
1. Wash the tattoo area with cold water and a Tattoo Goo brand soap.
2. Pat it dry with a clean towel, apply a thin layer of Ink nurse or Tattoo Goo.
3. Don’t scratch or pick at scabs or peel at the tattoo.
4. Avoid hot tubs, swimming pools and the beach during the healing process (approximately 20 days)
5. Always apply a high SPF sunscreen on the tattoo before exposure to the sun & reapply as needed.
If you have any questions regarding your tattoo, feel free to contact us anytime.