For “Open Healing”:
Your tattoo artist will have applied an absorbent bandage to the tattooed area after completion of the tattoo. You should keep this bandage on for a minimum of 2 hours, maximum 5 hours. When you remove the bandage, wash your tattoo throughly with warm water and an unscented antibacterial liquid soap. Pat it dry with a clean paper towel, and wait dry 10-15 minutes until the skin feels tight. Apply a small amount of ointment or tattoo cream to the area – just enough to thinly cover the tattoo. Use just enough to keep the area moisturized – a small amount every 3-4 hours should be sufficient. Repeat this process (wash, dry, and apply ointment) 2-3 times a day for the first 3 days after getting your tattoo. Starting on day 4 you may reduce the washing to once a day/ as needed, but continue to apply ointment every 3-4 hours.
Applying too much ointment can prevent the tattoo from healing properly. Always wash your hands before applying ointment, and make sure the tattooed area does not come in contact with potential contaminants like clothing, pet hair, or unclean surfaces.
For “Recovery” (clear patch):
After completion of the tattoo, the artist will apply one recovery patch entirely covering the tattooed area. For small tattoos (less than 3 inches), this patch should be kept on the skin for 1-7 days, according to your artist's instructions. Do not keep the covering on your skin for more than 7 days. You can wear the patch in the shower and under clothing, but do not scrub or submerge the area. Do not wear tight clothing or shoes that will rub the tattooed area.
If the patch comes off, exposing any part of the tattooed area, remove the patch. Wash the area thoroughly with an unscented liquid antibacterial soap. Dry the area with a clean paper towel – pat dry, do not rub or wipe. Wait 10-15 minutes until the skin is completely dry (it should feel somewhat tight). If your artist has provided you with a second patch, apply it to the clean and dry tattooed area. Remove the white backing first, and then stick the patch to your tattoo, starting form the middle and working out toward the edges, so as to avoid large air bubbles. There should be a border of approximately 1/2 inch between the outer edge of your tattoo and the edge of the patch.
If your artist has not provided you with a second patch, or for any reason you choose not to apply a second patch, follow the instructions for “Open Healing” after washing and drying your tattoo.
Allergic reactions to some tattoo inks, as well as the “Recovery” patch are uncommon, but possible. If you experience excessive redness, pain, or itching in the tattooed area, seek immediate medical attention.
If you have the “Recovery” patch on your skin and experience redness, excessive pain, or itching in the area under the patch, remove the patch, wash with an antibacterial liquid soap, dry thoroughly with a clean paper towel, and continue to care for your tattoo using the “Open Healing” method for at least 7-10 days from the day you received your tattoo. If the condition persists for more than a day after removing the patch, you should see a doctor.
It is possible for any tattoo to become infected if not cared for properly. Infections are caused by bacteria, and can result from contact with clothes, animal hair or saliva, dust, dirt, and any other contaminated surfaces. If you think your tattoo has become infected, seek immediate medical attention. In order to reduce the risk of infection, wash your tattoo with an antibacterial liquid soap 1-3 times a day, and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Always wash your hands before applying ointment, and avoid contact with potential contaminants.
What not to do:
NO swimming, baths, or submerging in water for 7-10 days after getting tattooed, or until the tattoo is fully healed (all scabs have fallen off on their own)
NO sports or gyms for 7-10 days after getting tattooed, or until the tattoo is healed (all scabs have fallen off on their own) Gyms are a common source of bacteria – avoid them until your tattoo is completely healed. Also avoid any strenuous activity, especially anything that will cause you to sweat. There is bacteria in your sweat that can cause an infection.
NO direct sunlight for 1-3 months after getting your tattoo. During this time, your skin is still recovering, and is thinner than usual in the tattooed area. Any prolonged sun exposure can cause excessive fading during this time period. During the first 7-10 days after getting tattooed, simply stay out of the sun or keep the area covered. After the scabs have fallen off, you may use a 50+ spf sunscreen to protect your tattoo.
DO NOT pick the scabs. If you remove the scabs from your tattoo, you will pull out some of the ink as well, causing the tattoos to look faded or patchy.
NO saunas, massages, scrubs or chemical peels for 10 days after getting tattooed.