Our skin is quite naturally capable of coping with the stress of tattooing, and will heal quickly and beautifully with very little help. The steps below will guide you through the process; however, feel free to contact me anytime with questions or concerns.
Leave the wrapping/bandage on your new tattoo for at least the 1st hour (and no more than 6 hours--DO NOT leave the wrapping on overnight). When you are somewhere clean and comfortable: unwrap and gently wash your fresh tattoo with clean hands, warm water and mild, unscented soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's, etc.). After washing, pat dry with a clean cotton or paper towel and LEAVE IT ALONE.
DO NOT re-bandage your tattoo.
Twice a day for the first 5 days: wash your tattoo with clean hands and mild soap. Pat dry with a clean cotton or paper towel and LEAVE IT ALONE.
Around the 5th day, your skin will begin to peel, like a sunburn; this will reveal a bright, fresh layer underneath. Continue your twice daily cleaning and now apply a mild, unscented lotion (Lubriderm, Curel, etc.) 10-15 minutes after washing. Remember to give your skin a few minutes to breathe and dry before applying lotion. Use a very small amount and rub it in.
After 10-14 days, your skin will begin to normalize. You may stop the cleaning regimen at this point; continue to apply lotion a few times a day as is comfortable.
That's it. Wash it, use a small amount of lotion, and LEAVE IT ALONE.
Some additional tips & comments:
For the 1st 2 weeks, NO sun-bathing, tub-soaking, swimming, or long showers.
NO scratching, picking, or poking--it is healing, LEAVE IT ALONE.
Wear loose, light-weight clothing for a few days, if possible.
Once your skin begins to peel, this can go on for a few days. Do not try to hurry the process by picking or scrubbing. Let the flaking skin and any scabbing fall away naturally or during washing/lotion application.
It is normal for some excess fluids (ink, plasma, etc.) to come to the surface in the 1st couple of days. Don't sleep on your best sheets; don't wear your favorite clothing.
Your new tattoo will get itchy, this is normal--it is healing, LEAVE IT ALONE.
Keep the lotion to a minimum. Keep the skin flexible, not moist.
Some scabbing may occur, some swelling my occur (especially on extremities--these areas may also take longer to heal). This is normal--it is healing, LEAVE IT ALONE.
Try to maintain a decent diet (eat some veggies!) and get a daily multivitamin during the healing process; keeping your immune system charged will expedite your healing time.
If you have a flexible area with full-color coverage, a thin layer of Eucerin Aquaphor (VERY light and rubbed in--wipe off excess with a clean paper towel) may help keep it from drying and cracking in the 1st few days. Discontinue use of Aquaphor after the 3rd day--your skin needs to breathe to heal well. *If you are not sure if this tip applies to you, ask me.*
Overall, enjoy the fascinating process of pigment augmentation, marvel at the wonder of subcutaneous artistic expression, thrill in the delights of altered flesh, and LEAVE IT ALONE.
Please do not hesitate to call or email me with any questions or concerns.