Congratulations on your new tattoo! The process is now in your hands. Proper aftercare is essential to insuring a proper healing process, resulting in optimum tattoo results.
Your tattoo will be bandaged by your artist, immediately after the tattooing procedure is completed.
Leave the bandage on for 1-2 hours. The tattoo will bleed, and this is a completely normal part of the process.
After a couple hours, remove the bandage and begin your aftercare routine. Do not reapply any bandage.
Your tattoo is an open wound and should be treated as such in order to prevent infection.
The first step after removing the bandage is to gently wash the tattooed area with a gentle, fragrance-free soap. (Dove, Dial, and Ivory are perfectly acceptable.)
After washing the tattoo the first time, and only the first time, rinse the tattoo with the warmest water that is comfortable for five minutes, then rinse with the coldest water that is comfortable for five minutes. This process will allow the fresh tattoo to open up its pores, allowing excess material to leave the wound, and then contract the pores, allowing for a nice clean heal. This hot/cold rinse should only be utilized the FIRST time that you wash your tattoo, and at no time afterwards.
For the next two weeks, or until the tattoo is completely healed you will be washing the tattoo only twice a day, once in the morning, and once at night. You will still be using a gentle, fragrance free soap to wash your tattoo.
After washing the tattoo, gently pat dry the tattoo with a clean paper towel. Bath towels can harbor bacteria; and occasionally the terry in the cloth can enter the tattoo, being a bad actor.
After gently patting dry the tattoo with a clean paper towel, allow the tattoo to air dry for 10-15 minutes. This will keep the moisture level down, discouraging bacterial growth, and mushy scabs. Both of which are undesirable.
After allowing 10-15 minutes of air drying, begin the proper regiment as dictated by the day of healing:
Day 1 and Day 2, after the air dry time, apply a VERY thin layer of Aquaphor ointment to the tattoo. Too much can clog pores and be a nuisance. This should only be applied twice a day, thin coat, after washing and air dry.
Aquaphor is the only recommended aftercare product. A&D contains no helpful agents for tattoos and can only encourage bacterial infection when combined with the heat of the skin. It is great for other purposes, but not tattoo aftercare. Neosporin contains an agent that is actually meant to extract foreign particles, aka tattoo pigment, from the skin, resulting in faded looking tattoos. Most other “tattoo specific” healing products usually are combinations of beeswax, fragrance, snake oil elixir, and random vitamins that truly do nothing but take your money and possibly cause problems for your tattoo.
After Day 1 and Day 2, discontinue the use of Aquaphor. It is no longer necessary and the moisture from the ointment can then at that point become detrimental.
Day 3,4,5,and 6 require only the twice a day washing with the gentle, fragrance-free soap. (Dove, Dial, and Ivory are perfectly acceptable.)
Day 7 and beyond require the twice a day washing with the gentle, fragrance-free soap. After washing the tattoo, gently pat dry the tattoo with a clean paper towel. Bath towels can harbor bacteria, and occasionally the terry in the cloth can enter the tattoo being a bad actor.
After gently patting dry the tattoo with a clean paper towel, allow the tattoo to air dry for 10-15 minutes.
After allowing 10-15 minutes of air drying, begin using a fragrance free lotion INSTEAD of the Aquaphor that you used on Day 1 and 2. (Curel, Lubriderm, and Aveeno are recommended) Again use a thin coat of lotion, allowing the skin to properly breath and heal. At this point your tattoo may have scabbed and began to lose those scabs. DO NOT PICK THE SCABS. Don’t be clever and apply any aftercare product vigorously to relieve itch, as this could cause scabs to be picked off and pigment to be removed… ultimately your loss.
During the two week healing period:
No direct sunlight.
Not hot tubs, bath tubs, swimming pools, oceans, or ponds. Bodies of water can harbor bacteria and cause skin infections in open wounds such as a tattoo.
NO PICKING THE SCABS
There are tale tell signs of improper aftercare that a properly trained artist will recognize immediately. If the improper care requires correction through touch ups, it will be at the expense of the collector, not the artist.
After your tattoo is completely healed, use a sunblock of an SPF 40 or higher to insure the brightness of the tattoo. Like any pigment, tattoo or otherwise, sun can drastically damage and change the appearance of your tattoo.
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