Congrats! But Don’t Touch It!
Congratulations on your new tattoo! Before you do anything else, don’t touch it. Your tattoo is an open wound and the easiest way to make either you or your new tattoo sick is to handle it with unwashed hands.
The following instructions are a set of basic guidelines written to help assist you in the initial healing and care of your tattoo but they do not cover everything that could happen to it.
If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
The Morning After & First Three Days
The first three days after your tattoo is applied are the most imperative in its healing but we do recommend that you continue ointment usage for the first seven days. If swelling is encountered in the first few days, it is best dealt with by taking 800mg of ibuprofen every eight hours that you’re awake for as long as is necessary.
We’re going to start by covering the proper way to wash your hands.
If you don’t already have some you’re going to need a bottle of clear, liquid and scent free soap. Softsoap is an excellent example of a good soap; Meijer makes a fantastic generic equivalent.
Start by washing your hands; wash both sides of both hands thoroughly for at least thirty seconds in warm to hot water, dry your hands and then turn off your sink with either disposable toweling or with a clean hand towel.
If you’re not going to turn off your sink with a clean towel (ideally the same one you used to dry your hands) you may as well not wash your tattoo at all.
The same filth you just cleansed from your hands still resides on the knob of the faucet, this is always important but especially in a shared bathroom situation.
It is absolutely imperative that you wash your hands in this matter any time that you plan to touch your tattoo for the first week that it is on you.
With clean hands go ahead and peel the bandage off of your tattoo and dispose of it, then wash your hands again in the manner described above.
Take a few pieces of new paper toweling or a clean kitchen towel and fold them over themselves until the towel is just a little bigger in diameter than the tattoo. Run hot (not boiling!!) tap water over the towel until it is fully saturated and then lay it on top of the tattoo, letting it stay until your body is acclimated to the temperature of the water.
Peel the towel off and wash your tattoo gently by hand with some of the clear liquid soap and lukewarm water until all of the ointment, blood and excess ink has been removed from your skin, sometimes this is easiest in the shower.
Do Not Re-Bandage
It is not necessary to ever bandage it again after the initial wrap is removed and doing so can be detrimental to its health.
You may wear clothing (it should be clean!) over your tattoo but letting it breathe whenever possible is a very good idea.
When the tattoo is clean apply a thin layer of ointment, preferably Vitamin A&D, Bacitracin, or Neosporin (NOT Neosporin-Plus). It is usually a good idea to buy a new tube each time you get tattooed or at the very least to wash the top of an old tube after squeezing out about an inch of ointment.
Once the ointment is applied wait about five minutes and then wipe off any excess by blotting the tattoo with a paper towel.
Keep in mind when applying ointment that it is much easier to apply too much than too little.
Ointment should be applied at least two to four times a day in the manner described above and very rarely will it be necessary to apply it more than seven or eight times per day. It should be washed at the very least twice a day but it would not be detrimental to wash it before every ointment application as long as you are gentle.
Flaking & Peeling
After a couple days it is typical for the tattoo to begin flaking or peeling, this is normal. Do not pick at the tissue or scratch it, both behaviors will greatly increase your of accumulating scabs or perhaps even scar tissue.
After the tattoo is a week old you can put down the ointment and switch to hand lotion for your moisturizing needs. The lotion should be scent and color free and should not contain aloe. Keri, Lubriderm and Jergens are all fine options but once again, Meijer does offer some fine generic alternatives.
After two weeks the majority of the healing period should be completed. Continue moisturizing as needed for the next two weeks and after roughly a month your tattoo should be healed. If it still has scabs or spots of irritation continue caring for it until they are gone. Until your tattoo is healed it’s very important that you not submerge, it in water (showers are of course fine) or expose it overtly to sunlight.
Continuing to always use sun block even after the tattoo is healed will help ensure it looks as good in the future as it does now.
Please contact us with any questions; we’re open 7 days a week and always have someone working to help you with any problems or questions you may have.