ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE AND AFTER TOUCHING A FRESH TATTOO
Tattoo healing usually lasts between 2 weeks and 4 weeks depending on the amount the skin was worked. Color tattoos and grey work with more saturation and blending will usually take longer to heal.
Things to avoid during tattoo healing:
- Fragrance additives in lotions, soaps and ointments.
- Do not submerge your tattoo in water for any period of time.
- Keep your tattoo away from direct sunlight and heat.
- Avoid any material touching your new tattoo that is not clean, including hands, sheets, and clothing.
- Do not scratch a fresh or healing tattoo. You risk damaging it permanently by scratching or picking at a new tattoo. If you scab do not pick the scab!
Day One: After your tattoo session is completed, leave the bandage on for at least 2 hours or until you are at home. Carefully remove the bandage from your tattoo and wash it with a basic bar soap like Ivory or with an antibacterial soap such as Dial (antibacterial soap can sometimes be too strong for sensitive skin. ) Pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel and then allow to air dry. Once the tattoo is dry, apply a very thin layer of Black Cat aftercare salve, A&D ointment (provided) or Aquaphor ointment to the tattoo. Aquaphor ointment and A&D healing ointment are readily available at most drug stores. It is not necessary to re-bandage the tattoo. Your tattoo will however ooze a clear fluid mixed with ink pigment and some blood, "exudate", during the first 24-48 hours. Protect your bedding from staining by wearing a loose fitting clean garment or wrap the tattoo in plastic wrap or an absorbant non-stick bandage overnight. The tattoo will continue to exude over the next 24 hours in small amounts.
First 3-4 days: Wash the tattoo a few times per day as above. Pat dry, let air dry and then apply a thin coat of ointment, dab off excess. Do not apply skin moisturizer to the tattoo during this time. The tattoo is still very sensitive and must be kept clean and protected. If you work around heat or possible contamination elements, keep the tattoo covered with loose clothing or protected with a bandage or plastic wrap.
Week Two to Week Four: Switch to using a basic fragrance-free moisturizer, such as Black Cat lotion or Curel. The tattoo should peel like a sunburn and will begin to itch as the skin repairs itself. If you experience severe itching you can use hydrocortizone 1% cream (available at any drug store or supermarket) to help control the itch.
Long Term Care: Always wear sunscreen when outdoors. UV rays will fade and blur your tattoo over time. Eventually all tattoos do need to be retouched to keep them sharp and bright.
Scabbing: If your tattoo scabs (it does happen) keep it as dry as possible, yet moisturized. Do not allow the scab to get washed away in the shower/bath or crack from becoming to dry. Do not pick at your scab. Use a thin coat of fragrance free moisturizer on a scab to keep it healthy. While not typical, scabbing can occur due to a variety of reasons, including lack of aftercare, artist's application of the tattoo, etc. If you lose some of a scab you will most likely need to have the tattoo retouched.
Rashes: Rashes are most often due to a reaction the open skin has to a lotion or ointment. They usually appear red and bumpy. If you develop a rash, wash the area with warm water and mild soap only. Discontinue any products that might be causing the rash or use less of them (blot excess). A heated wash cloth can be applied to the area to help comfort and stimulate your body's natural healing process. Hydcortizone 1% anti-itch cream can be used to help recover. If the rash persists beyond a few days consult your tattoo artist or doctor.