You just got tattooed and want to take all the right precautions to make sure it does not get infected, keeps its vibrant colors and last a long time! From this point on, you are responsible for any infection or problem you may have with your new tattoo so if you don’t take the proper steps to care for it, it’s on you! It is very highly recommended that you follow all the proper steps of your after care so that your beautiful tattoo does not turn into a disaster.
Do Not Mess With The Bandage – The tattoo artist takes the time to cover up your new tattoo for a good reason. This is so no air-born bacteria will invade your wound. Remember as awesome as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound on your skin. This open area of flesh is in deed a breeding ground for bacteria and infection to invade. Leave your bandage on for at least two hours. As exciting as it is getting your new tattoo, you do not want to remove the bandage just to show your friends and family, they can wait a few hours until it is safe. The only reason to remove the bandage is if your artist covered your tattoo with a plastic or Saran wrap. These types of plastic wrap are very harmful to your tattoo, so you should remove it immediately. You’re better off not having a bandage covering your tattoo than to suffocate your new tattoo with a plastic wrap.
Wash and Treat – Once you remove your bandage, it’s time to wash your tattoo. Run lukewarm water over your tattoo with a mild, liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap (generic brand antibacterial soaps are good choices, Provon and Satin are popular choices) to lightly wash off any ointment, blood or plasma and to completely your tattoo and the surrounding area. Do not use a wash cloth or material that is abrasive. Your hands are ultimately the best option for you to use in this case. (Now if your tattoo feels a bit slimy and slippery, do not worry this is probably from oozing plasma. Just try to lightly remove as much of it as possible – when the plasma dries on the surface of the tattoo, it will begin to create scabs.) Once you have cleaned your tattoo thoroughly you want to pat your tattoo and the surrounding the area firmly with a CLEAN paper towel or soft towel until it is completely dry. Next you need to apply a very light application of your choice of ointment covering the entire tattoo and surrounding area. You can use an A&D vitamin enriched ointment, a Bacitracin or a similar antibacterial ointment. You do not want to use Neosporin, it is not a good product for new tattoos and could cause you to lose color in your tattoo as well as possibly cause an allergic reaction such as little red bumps. Do not take this chance!
Specialty Products and Lotions to Use – If you like, you can apply a specialty product like Aqua Phor, H2Ocean or Tattoo Goo. These brands are not necessary, there are other over the counter products that will work equally well, you choose with you would like to you and your tattoo artist can tell you their preference. Use this ointment as directed for the next 3-5 days. Once this time has passed, continue to clean your tattoo and follow the same steps, you can now start applying a lotion when needed instead of using the ointment, this will help keep your new tattoo soft. Make sure whatever lotion you decide to use is a dye and fragrance free lotion. Lubriderm is a highly recommended choice, but has been found to sting a bit when I applied. Eucerin is also a popular choice you can use without the stinging effect, again you can ask you tattoo artist what their recommendation would be.