Once you have chosen an artist to do your tattoo it is best to follow their aftercare instructions.
Your friends who have tattoos may offer advice, but the only way a tattoo artist can guarantee their work is if it is taken care of in the manner they suggest.
A tattoo is considered an open wound. Keep it as clean as possible. Contamination of the area or poor hygiene can lead to possible infection. Your artist will bandage your tattoo at the end of your session. Remove this bandage after 1 hour. Leaving the bandage on for too long can negatively affect the healing of your tattoo.
Wash your hands before removing the bandage. After you remove the bandage wash your tattoo carefully with antibacterial/antimicrobial soap or an antiseptic wash. After washing your tattoo gently pat it dry with a clean paper towel.
With clean hands apply a thin layer of ointment to your tattoo. Gently massage the small amount of ointment into your skin. DO NOT smother your tattoo with too much ointment. In order to heal properly your skin must be able to breathe. Keep the ointment light. I normally recommend Hustle Butter or Aquaphor.
For the next two days wash your tattoo in the same manner. Continue using Hustle Butter or Aquaphor. Make sure anything that comes into contact with your tattoo is clean. This includes towels, sheets, clothing and especially your hands. Washing your tattoo two or three times per day will suffice, unless the cleanliness of your tattoo has been compromised. Avoid over washing your tattoo. This will only lead to skin irritation.
Hustle Butter does not require any additional aftercare products. It can be used for the duration of your healing time. If you choose to use Aquaphor after three days you will be required to stop using Aquaphor and switch to a non fragrance/dye free lotion of your choice. With clean hands apply a small amount of lotion to the tattoo as needed.
The healing time differs from person to person, but is usually between two-three weeks. The tattoo will flake and peel much like a sunburn while it heals. This is normal. DO NOT pick at the tattoo! Some people find that after flakes have fallen off, an opaque film may be left that hides some of the color in their tattoo. This film is the new skin growing over the tattoo and should clear up in a few weeks.
Itching is to be expected during the healing process. DO NOT scratch or pick your tattoo! Applying lotion regularly will help with the itch.
While your tattoo is healing do not fully submerged the area in water. You can shower, but do not allow the water to beat heavily on the tattoo. Do not shave the tattooed area or use scented body wash for three weeks. Likewise, avoid baths, direct sunlight, saunas, and hot tubs for three weeks. Do not swim in pools or the ocean while your tattoo is still healing. Chlorine and salt water can negatively affect your healing process.
If you suspect an infection please contact your physician. If you aren't sure, come in and let us take a look at it.
Feel free to Email me with any questions!