Do Not touch your tattoo without washing your hands thoroughly first!
Once you get home gently remove your bandage. Your tattoo is likely to be red and sore at this point so it may be relatively painful to wash the area, but it must be done!
Rinse your tattoo in warm water (as warm as you can tolerate) for 2-3 mins. Lather a mild, fragrance free soap on your fingertips and gently rub over the area and proceed to remove all the left-over ink and dried bits of blood off the surface. Do not use a sponge or cloth. Always check the ingredients of the soap before you rub it over your tattoo - if it contains any artificial fragrances or alcohol, do not use it. Fragrances and alcohol can burn the very sensitive area and dry the skin out. After a thorough but gentle wash rinse your tattoo in cool water for 2-3 minutes. After washing is complete, you can either let your tattoo air-dry or you can pat it dry with a clean dry towel or paper towel. DO NOT RUB OR SCRUB your tattoo, always pat dry.
Apply a pea size amount of unscented lotion and rub in thoroughly.
Continuing to wash your tattoo once a day is usually enough cleaning for any new tattoo. Lotion may be applied to the tattoo as required (no more than twice a day).
Repeat the cleaning process until the tattoo is fully healed. Remember that your tattoo isn't completely safe from germs and bacteria until it has FINISHED scabbing and peeling. Continue to wash the tattoo until this point (approximately 10-14 days).
What NOT to Do While Your Tattoo Is Healing
There are several things that shouldn’t be done in the first stages of tattoo healing, below is a list of the most important things that you should not do while your tattoo is healing.
Pick the Scabs - After a few days, your tattoo is going to begin to scab over. The scabbing should be mostly light, but some thicker scabs can appear over certain areas depending on how much the area was worked on.
These scabs should not be picked or pulled off under any circumstance. Scabs that are not ready to fall off are potentially still connected to deeper skin layers, where the ink is still in the process of setting, meaning that pulling a scab off could cause ink to be pulled out of the skin along with the scab.
Scratching your Tattoo - This is probably the most important rule of all when it comes to caring for a new tattoo. So many things can go wrong with a tattoo if you begin to scratch it. Firstly, by scratching your tattoo you can very easily pull off multiple scabs and many pieces of peeling skin all at once. This can pull out large amounts of ink, making your tattoo look patchy and probably guaranteeing that you're going to need a touch-up over the damaged area. Heavy scratching can cause pits to develop in scabbing areas of the skin - this can lead to much longer healing times for the tattoo, as well as permanent scarring in some cases. Not only this, but your fingernails harbor some disgusting bacteria (think poo, uncooked food and public toilets - you get the picture). By scratching your tattoo with your dirty fingernails, you are opening the wounded area up to all of these millions of types of nasty bacteria, greatly increasing the chances of your tattoo getting infected - which can become very serious in some cases.
Submerge your Tattoo in Water - Most bodies of water harbor many kinds of nasty germs and bacteria. Places like baths, lakes, rivers, swimming pools and hot tubs all contain large amounts of nasty little germs, so keep your tattoo away from all of these areas if possible for at least a month. If this can’t be avoided cover your tattoo with a waterproof bandage (they are available at most drug stores).
Expose your Tattoo to the Sun - Another extremely important rule. If you didn't already know this, the sun is the #1 tattoo killer. You must always keep your tattoo covered if going outside in warm weather. When your tattoo is new, it is an extremely sensitive area, and even tiny amounts of UV rays from the sun can cause lots of damage to the area in short amount of time. During this important healing stage, the sun can swell and blister a tattoo, as well as prolong the healing times and fade the ink, so stay away from the big circle in the sky (and sunbeds too for that matter, they are just as bad in terms of UV production). Once your tattoo is completely healed you can start to use sunscreen.
Re-wrap your Tattoo - Unless specifically advised by your artist, and told in detail how to do this properly, you must not re-wrap your tattoo once the initial wrap has been removed. Your tattoo needs to breath in order to heal properly and the wrap will suffocate the area, leading to poor quality healing - which will also take longer than normal compared to if the tattoo was able to breath normally. Not only this, but when wrapped the area becomes very moist and warm, which is a perfect environment for bacteria to grow and thrive. The longer you leave a poorly sterilized wrap on a tattoo, the more likely the area will get infected.
Smother the Tattoo in Lotion/Ointment - As with the re-wrapping, if you put too much aftercare cream/lotion onto the tattoo, the thick layer of product is going to prevent the area from getting enough air and oxygen, which will affect the quality of healing and potentially cause the tattoo scabs to bubble. You should only apply a very thin layer of lotion to your tattoo. If you accidentally apply too much, then you should gently dab off the excess lotion with a paper towel until you're left with a more appropriate amount.
Use Petroleum-Based Products - Most of these product types (such as Vaseline) are very dense and heavy, and should not be used on tattoos. Even applying a thin layer can prevent your tattoo from breathing properly. Not only this but some petroleum-based products contain ingredients that can actually pull ink from your tattoo.
Wear Tight-Fitting Clothing - Depending on the location of the tattoo, tight-fitting clothing can rub against/irritate the sensitive area. This can result in outbreaks of rashes and other symptoms such as scabs being rubs off and pieces of healing skin being pulled loose.
If you have any questions or concerns please stop by the shop or give us a call @ 519-829-2626. We would be more than happy to answer all of your questions!