The First Day
I will apply ointment and wrap your tattoo before you leave, keep this covering on for at least 4 hours. If we finish the tattoo later in the day I my recommend to leave it on overnight. Once the wrap is removed, DO NOT cover it again during the healing process. The tattoo will need to breathe in order to heal. If you need to cover it, wear clothing that is loose and non-abrasive.
With clean hands, remove the bandage and wash gently with warm water and an unscented antibacterial soap. Make sure you remove all traces of blood, ointment and secretions. Do not use a washcloth, loofah, or anything exfoliating on your tattoo while it is healing. Let it air dry, or gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean paper towel, do not rub it. Do not use alcohol or hydrogen peroxide to clean your tattoo, these will dry it and possibly remove color.
I recommend Aquaphor as the healing ointment for your tattoo. With clean hands, wash the tattoo as stated above and apply a small amount to the tattoo. Rub it in thoroughly, as if you were applying lotion. It should not shine or feel sticky, if it does you are using too much ointment! Wash the tattoo and apply the ointment twice a day for the first 3 to 4 days. Keeping a light protective layer of moisture will ensure the least amount of scabbing and peeling. After 3 or 4 days of using the Aquaphor ointment, you may notice small specks of color come off as you rub the ointment in. This is healing skin, and an indicator that you should stop using the Aquaphor. After you stop using Aquaphor, you may switch to an unscented lotion that does not contain alcohol. Just like with the aquaphor you need to be very sparing with it so as not to interfere with the healing proccess.
Do not swim or soak in a hot tub or bath for two weeks after getting your tattoo. Chemicals like chlorine and the bacteria found in most lakes or pools will cause your tattoo to fade or cause an infection. Soaking a healing tattoo will also cause any healing skin to soften and come off too soon and along with it some of the ink. Your healing tattoo is an open wound, therefore protecting it while gardening, working with dirty or oily equipment, or handling pets or other animals such as livestock, is highly recommended to prevent infection.
Do not tan for at least two weeks after tattooing to allow it time to heal. After it has healed, you may tan (either naturally or at a salon) as long as you apply SPF30 or higher sunblock over the tattoo. UV RAYS WILL FADE YOUR TATTOO! If you expose it to the sun, it WILL fade.
Like any other wound to the skin, your tattoo will itch during the healing process. DO NOT SCRATCH IT. Scratching or picking at a healing tattoo will remove healing skin, thus removing color from the tattoo. You may apply lotion to relieve the itching. Following these simple steps will help ensure that you end up with the best results and minimal complications.