After the tattooing process is complete, your artist will apply a bandage- leave this bandage on for no more than 2 hours. Right after removing the wrap, wash with clean hands using antibacterial soap (non-fragranced). Clear soap is ideal, but orange dial will work as well, though it has dyes that can be harsh. Wash with your fingertips, working the soap into the tattoo, then rinsing with clean water. Wipe the tattoo dry with a fresh, clean paper towel.
Apply a thin, glossy layer of A&D ointment- REPEAT EVERY HOUR FOR THE FIRST 8 HOURS. The reason for the frequent washing is to prevent plasma adhesion, which is the base of heavy scabbing. If you wash your tattoo frequently in the first 8 hours, and continue to really watch it and wash it frequently in the first 24-48 hours, you will end up with a light, flakiness, as opposed to a heavy scab to contend with. This ensures a much easier healing process and a better looking healed product. If you apply your aftercare frequently and keep it nice and moist, each time you shower you should see little flakes coming off of your tattoo- this is what you want, as opposed to a heavy scab. Apply aftercare frequently to avoid dryness- around 10 times a day.
We recommend A&D ointment for the first 24-48 hours, then a switch to TATTOO MAJIK for aftercare to help with color stay, reduce scabbing, and for its quick healing ability. We offer this product for $5 for one .25 oz jar, or 2 for $8. At the very least, A&D ointment or Lubriderm lotion will be sufficient during healing, but we don’t feel that they are the BEST products for tattoo healing. You’ve just spent a significant amount on your new tattoo- go the distance and get the right aftercare to ensure a good finished product.
Never touch your tattoo with unclean hands, and don’t allow others to touch it. For at least 2 weeks, keep it out of water (except while any kind, and no long or hot showers for your tattoo. Also avoid sunlight or tanning beds for the healing process. These are significant dangers for your tattoo and their threats should not be underestimated.The healing process usually lasts 2-3 weeks, though it takes around 6 months for new skin to grow back over the tattoo. That is why it is imperative that you take good care of your tattoo, especially in the first months following- you want a good return on your investment, right? Do not take aftercare lightly- it has a huge effect on the outcome of your healed tattoo.
Below is the 2 week care guide- follow it please!!!
Day 1 Your new tattoo will likely be red & a bit swollen following the procedure. It may feel warm and it may even sting a little bit- think of it as a paper cut, 1000 times over…yeah- it’s going to be sore! Wash the heck out of it- minimum every hour wash it with antibacterial soap, and dry with a paper towel- bath towels are no good as they have bacteria and lint that can stick in your tattoo. Apply the A&D ointment given to you by your artist, lightly after each washing. Avoid coming in contact with any filth or bacteria, as your tattoo is most susceptible to infection. If you are dealing with a foot or leg tattoo, change your bedsheets before climbing into bed with your new tattoos. Feet carry dirt from floors, and it is likely to assume that your sheets are a little dirty down at the end of the bed. Of course be careful to avoid any clothing or other material
rubbing on the tattoo, and especially be wary of your tattoo sticking to your bed sheets! These things will pull ink from your tattoo, leaving it blotchy after healing. It is a good idea to keep some clean paper towels next to your bedside in case you feel plasma build up in the night- of course, getting up to wash it is ideal, but if you cannot, then at least wipe that plasma with a paper towel to ensure that it doesn’t have a chance to dry on the surface of your skin.
Day 2-5 Continue to wash it frequently and apply your aftercare, though you can probably reduce washing to just a few times a day. By about day 3 or 4, you will begin to notice some tighness, dryness and itching. Do NOT scratch it! You can pat the skin around it to try and relieve the itching. It is extremely important that you allow the flakes to fall off on their own. Do not “help them”- you will pull them off prematurely and, again…pull ink out! Continue to apply your aftercare regularly, keeping it moist. If the tattooed area starts to feel tight, you need to moisturize. Always apply with clean hands!!!
Day 6-14 During the final week or so of healing, the flakes and scabs fall off and your new tattoo is revealed. It will undoubtedly look a bit less vibrant than it was upon completion- this is expected. It will be tempting to help those last few pesky flakes or scabs fall off, but please, let nature run its course. If the tattoo looks as though it needs “touched-up”, contact your artist and discuss. Typically, touch-ups are at no charge, however, that will be up to your artist to decide, based on the quality of care the tattoo received during the healing process- another reason to take care of it.
Day 15- REST OF YOUR LIFE Now that you’ve made a significant investment in time, money, and effort in your tattoo it’s time to make a commitment to take care of it long-term. That means applying sun block every time prolonged sun exposure is expected- be smart in the summer. Usually tattoos will begin to show their age around the 10 year mark. At that point, you may consider having it touched up, to look like new again. Tiny lines may blot out overtime, causing a piece to lose definition- this is why it is so important to take the advice of your tattoo artist as it pertains to the longevity of the piece.
Why is my foot/ankle swollen?
When an extremity is tattooed, it can swell more than other areas. This is especially true when you have a tattoo on your leg, ankle, or foot and you spend a lot of time on your feet. Just try to elevate your legs to help with the swelling. This discomfort usually only happens during the first couple days. As stated above, always change your bed sheets before sleeping with a foot or leg tattoo to avoid infection.
When can I come back for more work on the same piece?
When working on a large piece that requires more than one session, follow up sessions cannot be scheduled for at least 2 weeks to allow for healing. Normal healing time can vary between 2-4 weeks, 2 weeks being average for most.
What are the signs of an infection?
Though rare, infections from tattoos do occur. They can occur as a result of poor care or improper steps taken by the artist to insure sterility. If you are around children, animals, or other unsanitary environments, you should take care to keep your hands and the area around your tattoo clean. Carrying some hand sanitizer with you is a good idea. Signs of an infection include the following: excessive redness, oozing any type of pus or strange colored discharge other than a clear fluid with perhaps a small amount of ink in it (which can be normal), overly swollen, and overly painful to the touch. When I say “excessive redness” I mean a darker red with a defined edge that slowly grows as time goes on. A new tattoo can still be red the day or two following the procedure, because of the trauma to the skin. If you think you have an infection, be watchful and nurturing to the area, after 24 hours you do not see improvement, call a physician. Staph infections can be serious and may require the use of antibiotics.
My tattoo doesn’t look as vibrant after healing.
Your tattoo will look more vibrant than ever right after the procedure is completed. After the healing process, the colors may not look as bright. The healing process involves a new layer of skin forming over top of the tattoo, so you actually see your tattoo through a fine, top layer of skin. It takes around 6 months for the new layer of skin to completely form, though that area can be safely worked on again after 2 weeks.
My tattoo has healed, but looks a little blotchy.
This could happen for a number of reasons. If during the healing process you did not care for your tattoo as prescribed by your artist, then chances are you’ll end up with an inconsistent look to your tattoo. If you scratched your tattoo, exposed it to UV rays, soaked it, accidentally peeled a scab before it was ready to come off, or if it stuck to some type of cloth, such as clothing or bed sheets, you may end up with “spots” where the color is lacking. Consuming alcohol or taking any medication that thins the blood , such as ibuprofen, will make you bleed more excessively during the tattoo process and in turn will interfere with the injection of ink into your skin. Then again, some people are just bleeders. Capilaries may be closer to the surface, blood pressure differences, and plasma and oil gland secretion can all play a role in how well your skin accepts ink. There is no reasoning with your skin- everyone is different and every area of the body is different as well. For bleeders, or people who have uncooperative skin, the ink goes in, and your bodily fluids push it out, making it a struggle to get color to stay properly and evenly. Though there is no scientific data supporting the claim, many people feel that certain colors are simply not agreeable with their skin, and do not absorb as well as other colors. I personally think this is true, as I’ve seen some people take some colors well and others not so well. Touch-ups can be discussed with your tattoo artist. It is not uncommon for tribal work to need touched-up in order to achieve a solid black look.
Can I go in a tanning bed or tanning in natural sun after receiving a tattoo?
The UV rays from a tanning bed will harm your new tattoo just as badly as the rays from the sun. If you are going to be exposed to UV rays of any kind cover your tattoo with a thick, opaque cloth- sunscreen is not to be used on a fresh tattoo (the first 2 weeks). However, it is highly recommended that you use sunscreen to protect the longevity of your tattoo, after it has healed. UV rays will dull and fade any tattoo.
The white and yellow in my tattoo isn’t very bright.
Colors that take well in one persons skin may not take well in another. A common problem with white and yellow, or other light colors, is that it doesn’t come out very bright, and/or that it fades more quickly then other colors. Yet others have issues with other colors.