1) Carefully remove the bandage. Once bandage is removed wash your tattoo well with a mild unscented soap to ensure removal of ointment. Do not apply any cream to your tattoo until it starts to dry out; this can take anywhere from one to three days depending on the tattoo, its location and your body. When the tattoo begins to dry out, use a non-greasy unscented moisturizer such as Lubriderm. Do not over moisturize your new tattoo.
Your tattoo will begin to flake off within 3 – 5 days. Pending on the tattoo size, detail and your skin type, a thick scab may occur; should this happen, DO NOT PICK AT IT, such action will slow down the healing process. Be careful not to damage the new tissue that is forming. Avoid wearing tight clothes around your new tattoo, as they can cause friction or prevent it from breathing properly . Your tattoo may remain shiny up to ten weeks. Make sure to keep your new tattoo away from direct sunlight and avoid pools, bathtubs or any prolonged time with your tattoo submerged in water.
2) Gently wash the tattoo. Most artists recommend lukewarm water and mild, unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Use your hands to gently rub the tattoo, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink. This will help to prevent the tattoo from scabbing too soon.
- Do not hold the tattoo directly under the water. Wash it indirectly by splashing the water over the tattoo with your hands. The stream of water from the faucet may be too harsh on your new tattoo.
- If your new tattoo is covering a large area of skin, it may be easiest to wash the tattoo in the shower.
3) Let the tattoo air dry. Once you have thoroughly washed the tattoo, you should gently pat it dry with a little paper towel. Do not rub the tattoo, as this may cause irritation. Once the excess moisture has been removed, you should leave the tattoo uncovered for 20 minutes to an hour. This will allow the tattoo to breath and any excess moisture to evaporate.
- You should allow your tattoo to breathe like this after each time you wash it or get it wet.
4) Moisturize your Tattoo. Once your tattoo is fully dry and the skin begins to feel tight you can apply a non-greasy unscented moisture cream such as lubriderm to the tattoo. Make sure to apply only a very thin layer that's just enough to make the tattoo shine and rub it in gently until it's absorbed by the skin. It's very important that you don't apply too much ointment or else you'll suffocate the tattoo and encourage the growth of bacteria.
- You should continue applying the ointment once or twice a day when your tattoo after your tattoo starts to dry out.
- Don't use petroleum based products, such as Vaseline, as these are too heavy and may clog the pores, causing breakouts on the tattoo. They also draw the ink from the tattoo to the surface of the skin, causing the tattoo to fade before it's even fully healed.
5) Continue to wash and moisturize. You should continue to wash your tattoo with mildunscented soap and warm water, but not too frequently, until it is fully healed. This can take anywhere from 3 to 6 six weeks, depending on the size and location of the tattoo. Youshould wash more often if the tattoo is on your hand, wrist, foot, or any other area which is more exposed to germs.
- After applying lubriderm ointment for the first 3 to 5 days, you can switch to regular lotion after each wash. It is recommend that you avoid using lotions that are scented, colored or contain glitter. Remember to only apply a light layer of lotion, as over-moisturizing can negatively affect the tattoo.
- The initial healing of the tattoo will take up to two weeks. During this time, you can expect the tattoo to start peeling or flaking, in a similar way to sunburn. Some colored skin may come away as the tattoo peels, but this is completely normal.
- After the skin peels, your tattoo will look glassy and feel tight. It may also have cloudy or white patches of skin that you will be tempted to peel off, but try to resist. This is referred to as "onion skin" and will fall off by itself within a couple of weeks.
- If you have taken proper care of your new tattoo, you can expect your tattoo to be healed and your skin to have fully regenerated in about 4 to 6 weeks.