You are not done with your tattoo until it has healed. A tattoo must heal properly. This requires active participation on your part.
- Remove the bandage after one hour, two maximum. All wounds need to breathe to heal properly.
- Wash the tattoo using fingertips or hands only. Use a mild antibacterial soap. take care to remove all traces of blood as this can cause scabbing. Do not scrub the tattoo with a wash cloth during the two week healing period. Always gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean soft cloth or let it air dry.
- Apply a thin coat of ointment. Use just a small amount, enough to make it shine. A little goes a long way. You should barely be able to tell that it is there. Too much ointment will only suffocate the tattoo and cause scabs that have formed to liquefy which causes ink to fall out and could leave the piece looking blotchy.
- Your skin will form a protective layer no matter what you do. It can and will form a thick, hard scab that may crack when you move. When you form this kind of a scab, the ink sits within it and slowly heals into the skin. When the tattoo is kept moist, it doesn’t have a chance to form a scab but does form a thin membrane to protect the tattoo while it heals. This layer peels off in a similar fashion to a sunburn (do not peel your tattoo as you will pull the ink out!) and it is perfectly normal to see small flakes of colored skin falling off during this stage of healing.
- You must keep your tattoo clean. However, long baths and showers should be avoided for 2 weeks. (This includes swimming in the ocean, using a pool, hot tub or sauna)
- Please refrain from scratching or picking at the tattoo. Scrubbing with a washcloth can be very harsh and will cause your colors to fade. Disrupting the tattoo while it’s healing can also create scar tissue. It is normal for the tattoo to become very itchy during the healing time. To relieve this, spray the tattoo with rubbing alcohol or slap it with your hand (this will sting and take away the itch).
- The sun is BAD for your tattoo, even if you have had it for a long time. A sunburn on a new tattoo can cause a lot of problems. It will dry out and cause a horrible scab that will result in the piece fading before it has had a chance to heal. Wait until your tattoo is fully healed to go back into the sun. Remember not to make the mistake of applying sunblock while the tattoo is still healing. Over time excessive exposure to sunlight will cause your tattoo to fade no matter what colors are used.