Without the proper tattoo aftercare, the dream of a perfectly designed tattoo can become a total nightmare. It matters not if it’s small or large, your first or many, proper care is critically important, not only to the preservation of your tattoo, but to your health as well. The good news in all of this, is that if the aftercare instructions are followed and common sense used, there’s less chance of infection to your body, or damage to your new tattoo.
Once you’ve gotten your tattoo, you are the only one responsible for the care of it! The artist is definitely not responsible for any problems, like infections that you may acquire after the tattooing procedure.
Here are some basic instructions for the aftercare of your new tattoo:
1. Leave the bandage on for at least 2-6 hours, no more than 10 hours. The reason for the bandage is to keep air-borne bacteria and other contaminants from invading your wound.
2. Your new tattoo must be thought of as an open wound, so wash your hands thoroughly BEFORE touching or cleaning the area. Remove the bandage with care – Do NOT force it’s removal! If it sticks, carefully wet any part that won’t come off easily, and continue to pull the bandage off slowly so as not to damage any dried parts or scabs that might have formed.
3. Once the bandage is removed, clean the area with lukewarm water and a mild antibacterial soap, then rinse gently with a soft cloth, or preferably your hand, removing any ointment, blood and plasma. Do not scrub or rub the tattoo, but pat it dry with a clean soft towel.
4. Let it dry completely for approximately 10 minutes – then apply a thin layer of tattoo aftercare products that you’ve chosen, or ones advised by your tattoo artist, such as a mild medicated ointment like Bacitracin or something similar; vitamin A&D ointment, or special tattoo aftercare products like Ink Fixx. Do not use Neosporin, it is not for tattoos. There are some people known to have allergic reactions after using Neosporin, that cause red bumps, and when the bumps leave so will the ink. So take heed.
5. No need to re-bandage. For the next 3-5 days, keep the new tattoo very clean and apply the ointment 3-4 times a day. Make sure to gently remove any old ointment before applying fresh ointment – and apply only enough to make the skin shiny. The main thing is to NOT allow your tattoo to become dry. When the scab forms, do not pick at it – allow it to heal on its own.
After that, continue to keep it clean, and use a good aftercare lotion as needed, to keep the skin soft and your colors bright. Healing generally takes about 14 days in a normally healthy person.
After your tattoo has healed, you’ll want to protect it from the sun’s rays, so use a good sun block that will protect it from sun damage. Take the advice your tattoo artist offers, and use the most efficient tattoo aftercare products, and you will keep your tattoos vibrantly alive for many, many years to come.