NO ONE LIKES A SCAB-PICKER
You're faking that limp.
- When you leave the studio your tattoo will be covered with medical-grade dressing tape. This is to keep the fresh wound clean as you venture into the dirty world. Leave the dressing intact for 1-2 hours to absorb blood and serum as well as to give your body's clotting agents a chance to infiltrate.
- Saturate a clean washcloth with hot tap water and place it on the tattoo. This will hurt, but most likely so did getting the tattoo. Hold the washcloth on the area until the ache goes away (usually 5-10 seconds). Do not wipe or scrub. You may take a hot shower depending on tattoo size/location or as a matter of preference.
- Repeat step 1 (unless you opted for the shower).
- Using your fingertips (no nails) clean the area with plenty of fresh warm water and mild soap. Take care to remove all of the ointment, serum, ink and blood residue.
- Pat dry with a clean paper towel.
- Using your fingertips (no nails), massage a liberal amount of Aquaphor into the tattoo. Use a fair amount of pressure, as this technique will serve to restore circulation and greatly facilitate healing. Some like the massage, some dislike it, but it will relieve congestion and immobility in the skin.
- Use Aquaphor Healing Ointment by Eucerin (petroleum-based) on the tattoo for 3-5 days, depending on your rate of healing. There is no prescribed number of times to apply as long as the area always has a light coat.
- After 3-5 days switch to Curel unscented lotion (water/glycerin-based). Moving from a petroleum to water-based moisturizer will relieve discomfort while allowing heat to escape thereby controlling the itching that occurs in the natural healing process.
- No baths, swimming pools, oceans, lakes, spas or soaking the tattoo until it is fully healed. You may shower as usual.
- Do not pick any loose skin, flakes or scabs.
- Do not re-bandage your tattoo unless it is in an area where it will be chaffed by clothing. If you have to re-bandage your tattoo daily your healing times may be longer.
- Do not clean your tattoo with alcohol, betadine, hydrogen peroxide or any other harsh disinfectant/antiseptic.
- Do not expose an unhealed tattoo to the sun or tanning booths.
- Healed tattoos must be covered with high SPF sunblock to keep the colors vivid and the lines crisp. Prolonged exposure to the sun will eventually destroy a tattoo's integrity.
- A leeching of ink is normal for the first few days.
- Itching is a natural part of healing. Switching from the petroleum-based to the water/glycerin-based emollient will temper consequent discomfort.
- If you have a problem with the lanolin in Aquaphor, A&D Ointment or Coconut Oil are acceptable replacements.
- Do not use an antibiotic such as Neosporin or Bacitracin unless your tattoo shows signs of infection.
- Allergies to the ink are unlikely but not unheard of. Swelling and rarely scabbing are not cause for alarm, but no tattoo should ever ulcerate or ooze. See a doctor if you think you may have reacted.