*Click here for a downloadable .pdf of these instructions.*
Our skin is naturally and easily 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 healing process; however, feel free to contact us anytime with questions or concerns.
Leave the wrapping/bandage on your new tattoo for at least the first hour (and no more than four hours--do not leave the wrapping on overnight). When you are somewhere clean and comfortable: unwrap and gently (but thoroughly) wash your fresh tattoo with clean hands, warm water and a mild, unscented soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's etc). After washing, pat it dry with a clean cotton or paper towel and LEAVE IT ALONE.
DO NOT re-bandage your tattoo.
For the next 2-5 days, wash your tattoo with clean hands and mild soap twice a day until a layer of protective skin has developed. Pat dry with a clean cotton or paper towel and LEAVE IT ALONE.
After a few days, your skin will begin to peel--like a sunburn; this will reveal a bright, fresh layer underneath. Apply a mild, unscented lotion (Curel, Lubriderm, etc.) after your twice daily cleaning. Use a very small amount and rub it in. Continue to use lotion until your skin feels normal again.
That's it. Wash it, use a small amount of lotion, and LEAVE IT ALONE.
Some additional tips:
- For the first two 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.
- After 2 or 3 days, the skin will begin to peel away. This can go on for a few days; do not try to hurry the process by picking or scrubbing. Let the skin and any scabbing fall away naturally or during gentle washing/lotion application.
- It is normal for some fluids (ink, plasma, etc.) to come to the surface in the first couple of days. Don't sleep on your best sheets; don't wear your favorite clothing.
- It will get itchy, this is normal--it is healing, leave it alone.
- Always pat the tattoo dry and then let it air-dry for at least 15 minutes after washing and before applying any lotion.
- Keep the lotion to a minimum. Your newly tattooed skin should be flexible, not moist.
- Some scabbing may occur, some swelling may occur (esp. on lower legs and lower arms--these areas may also take a little longer to heal). Again, 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 with 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 flexible in the first few days. Discontinue use of Acquaphor after the 3rd day, your skin needs to breathe to heal well. If you are not sure whether this tip applies to you, ask your artist.
Please do not hesitate to call the studio or email with any questions or concerns.