TATTOO AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS
So, there you have it. The Most AWESOME tattoo in the land! Its so beautiful, tears well up in your eyes!!! Your artist gives you the rules for care but you are to excited to listen! When you leave the shop you realize that you have forgotten what to do! From this point on, your tattoo artist is NOT responsible for any infections or problems you may have with your tattoo, especially if you do not 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 care to cover your tattoo for a very good reason – to keep air borne bacteria from invading your open skin. Yes, as pretty as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Lave the bandage alone for a minimum of 1 hour (if the bandage is paper towel ) or 2 hours (if the bandage is plastic) Yes, of course your friends want to see your new tattoo, but they are just going to have to wait. They will have your entire life to gaze upon its glory!
Wash and Treat
After you remove your bandage, you need to wash your tattoo. Use luke warm water and mild liquid antibacterial soap to gently wash away any ointment, blood or plasma and completely clean the area. Do not use a washcloth, towel or anything abrasive. Your hand is the best tool in this case.
[Note: If your tattoo feels slimy and slippery you have probably been oozing plasma. That’s ok and a normal occurrence. Try to remove as much of this as possible. When the plasma dries on the skin surface, it creates scabs.]
Once clean, pat (do not rub) the area firmly dry with a CLEAN paper towel to get it completely dry. Follow with a very light application of ointment, preferably A & D vitamin enriched ointment. Bacitracin is also acceptable.
***DO NOT USE NEOSPORIN***
This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos. Some can have an allergic reaction to Neosporin which causes little red bumps. When the bumps go away so does the ink, and you have a polka dotted tattoo!
Specialty Products and Lotions
If you prefer you can use specialty products such as Tattoo Goo, Inkfixx or H2Ocean. It is not necessary but your choice. Use these products, or the ones aforementioned above, as directed for 3 to 5 days.
After 3 to 5 days You use lotion as need to keep the skin soft and moisturized but not wet! Whatever lotion you use, it should be fragrance and dye free. No cocoa butter or other additives either. I recommend Lubriderm and Eucerin.
Bathing, Showering, Hot Tubs and Swimming
Yes, you can (and definitely should) shower with a new tattoo. It’s OK to get the tattoo wet just do not soak it. Submerging your tattoo in a bath, hot tub, pool or the like can cause serious damage to your tattoo and possibly cause an infection! Water that you sit in contains bacteria and germs that will enter your body through a new tattoo as it is open skin. Running water is not bad for a tattoo, it just rolls right off, that is why showers are A-OK! These things need to be avoided for at least 2 weeks or until the tattoo is completely healed.
The Ugly Stage
After 3 to 5 days your tattoo will start itching and peeling and looking pretty ugly. All tattoos go though the “Ugly Stage”, its a part of the natural healing process. Its your body’s way of shedding the damaged skin cells and pushing new ones to the top. DO NOT SCRATCH! Pat it lightly if it itches and apply plain, unscented lotion. Make sure to rub it in well.
While your tattoo is peeling and shedding the old top skin layer, you may have the urge to pick and pull off the shedding skin. DO NOT PICK IT!! Its imperative that yo leave it alone and let you body naturally shed this. Simply apply the lotion as directed. Picking it may pull skin that is not finished healing off and damage your tattoo. It can also cause scabs which will also damaged your tattoo. If a particularly large scab forms, apple a warm moist compress to the scabbed area for 5 minutes 2 to 3 times a day to soften them and they will fall off on their own.
Protection from the Sun
CONGRATULATIONS! Two weeks have passed and your tattoo is healed and beautiful! The care does not stop there, however. You will always want to protect it from the sun’s UltraViolent Rays. These can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo and fast. Protect your tattoo with a sunscreen with minimum 30SPF. This will keep your tattoo vibrant for many years.
Finally, if you ever have any questions about your tattoo consult your licensed tattoo artist. They will be glad to answer any questions you may have. After all its their artwork on you and they want it to look great too! No question is stupid. It is always better to be safe than sorry.