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Thank you for getting Tattooed by me.
Below follows my version of aftercare instructions.
By now you have probably heard a good variety of versions and I don't claim this one to be the be all and end all of all versions.
Just what seems to be a few logical conclusions after having tried many different ways over the 22+ years of being in this business.
I will try and explain everything as well as possible but if you have any more questions feel free to contact me.
* Remove the bandage after about 3 hours.
All wounds need to breathe if they are to heal properly.
* Wash the tattoo using a mild antibacterial soap (such as Dial) and lukewarm water.
Use your fingers to wash the tattoo and make sure to wash your hands first before touching the tattoo.
Do not scrub the tattoo with a washcloth during the healing period.
Take care to remove all traces of blood and plasma as this will cause scabbing.
Pat it dry with a clean, soft cloth or paper towel and leave it alone for about 20 minutes, basically until it starts to feel like the skin is a little tight and dry.
This allows for excess moisture from the swelling under the skin as well as moisture introduced by washing the tattoo to evaporate out.
It's very important to let your tattoo "breathe" like this any time you get it wet before it gets into the peeling stage.
* Personally I do not like the use of any petroleum jelly based ointments.
They are not necessarily bad for use, however, many people will use way to much and over use will cause several issues throughout the healing.
I much prefer to NOT use any ointment at all the first 2 to 3 days if you can't use it very sparingly.
If you decide you want to use such a product after all I recommend using Aquaphor as ointment, or other aftercare products specifically for tattoos such as "Hustle Butter", "H2Ocean" or "After Inked".
These tattoo specific products can be used throughout the whole healing process but still need to be used sparingly.
I would recommend to start using a fragrance free lotion, such as Lubriderm, after 3 days.
Only use enough to make it shine, a little goes a long way.
Coconut oil can also be used very sparingly.
Do not constantly switch products though as this can be counter productive for the healing also.
Too much ointment traps germs into your new tattoo which can potentially lead to infection.
Just a dab will do.
Work it in well.
Dab off all the excess with a paper towel.
There should be just enough to keep the tattoo moist and to keep it from scabbing.
Do not re-bandage the tattoo.
* You must keep your tattoo clean!
However, long showers or baths must be avoided for 2 weeks.
Prolonged soaking can and will loosen scabs if any have formed, or will soak through the soft tissue turning it into a soggy mess and cause your ink to flow down the drain.
This includes swimming in the Ocean or a Pool, Hot Tubs, and Saunas. Short showers are best, under ten minutes if possible.
Also, bacteria, bacterial infections, staph infections and worse, hepatitis can enter your body this way.
*Please refrain from scratching or picking at the tattoo.
Scrubbing with a washcloth can be very harsh on a tattoo and will cause your colors to fade.
Disrupting the tattoo while it's healing can also cause scar tissue.
It is normal for the tattoo to become very itchy during the healing time.
Just remember not to pick or scratch no matter what!
*Refrain from wearing tight and restrictive clothing over the healing tattoo as these can rub and irritate the tattoo to a degree where it can cause ink loss, infection, scarring of the tattoo.
* Remember, the sun is BAD for your tattoo!
Whether the tattoo is new or old, if you want it to look nice and heal properly, keep it out of the sun. A sunburn on a new tattoo can cause a lot of problems.
It will dry out your tattoo and could cause it to form a horrendous scab resulting in fading before it is even healed.
It will also take much longer to heal completely and promotes scarring in a new tattoo.
Wait until it is fully healed to go back in the sun or a tanning bed and make sure you put on a high quality sunblock. Never put sunblock on a tattoo that is still healing.
Wait until it is fully healed before going into the sun.
* Following all of these simple steps will ensure that you end up with the best result with minimal complications and your tattoo will stay looking bright and beautiful for many years to come.