Remove the plastic wrap from your tattoo before you go to sleep or unless I told you differently. Then wash your hands with a liquid anti-bacterial non-scented hand soap, like the orange dial soap. Wash your hands for 15 seconds and rinse them off. Then wash your hands AGAIN and create some lather and bring it onto the tattoo. Always wash your hands before touching or washing your tattoo. While washing, just use your fingers. I do not recommend using a washcloth or a sponge, as these harbor outside bacteria that you don’t want in your tattoo. Wash the soap off and then lightly pat the tattoo dry with a clean paper towel. Allow it to get some air for a few minutes.
Then you’re just going to wrap it with clear plastic wrap. DO NOT PUT LOTION ON YOUR TATTOO AT THIS POINT. You’re going to repeat the whole process of washing your hands, rinse, wash your hands again and then wash your tattoo, rinsing and then patting it dry and then wrapping. Two times a day for two days straight. So if you got the tattoo Tuesday, you’ll continue all the way until Thursday morning. You want to use new plastic wrap each time, and you’re going to have it on all day at work and all night. After two days of wrapping the tattoo, you’re going to wake up, wash it off that same way you have done for the past two days. Pat the tattoo dry and stop using the plastic wrap. You’re then just going to apply a white, unscented hand lotion. Simpler is generally better when it comes to lotion… try to stay away from anything scented or with oatmeal, etc. These additives are unnecessary and can irritate your tattoo. Normally store brand (Walgreens, CVS, or Rite-Aid) lotions are the best and are the cheapest. Only apply lotion to your tattoo 3 TIMES A DAY MAXIMUM. You should keep it as thin as you can on the tattoo. The thinner the lotion the faster the heal. I’d rather have NO lotion than too much.
The first day of the plastic wrap being off. Your tattoo will start to flake up, almost like thin scabs. Eventually your tattoo will start to peel like a sunburn. This is normal… it is just dead skin flaking off. It will look pretty gross but this is the healing process. DO NOT PICK, SCRATCH OR RUB YOUR TATTOO at this stage.
Once your tattoo is COMPLETELY done flaking, it is mostly healed and you can go in water and the sun again (with sunblock). Sometimes a tattoo looks a little “hazy” at this stage. It will be rather glossy. That just means the skin has not returned to normal yet. Give it some time and the colors should brighten and the blacks should darken and settle in a little more.
Even after your tattoo has completely healed, you will want to put a high s.p.f sunblock on your tattoo before going into a tanning booth, or into the sun for more than 15-20 minutes. The sun is by far the worst enemy of tattoos, and WILL fade colors over time. A sunburn can be disastrous. In my honest opinion, don’t tan. You’ve just gone through pain and paid good money for something that will be on your for the rest of your life. I design my tattoos to be extremely durable against normal aging and wear. But tanning is like purposely destroying your tattoo, and I can’t stress enough how bad it is.
Things to remember
Always, always, always wash your hands before you touch your healing tattoo. Hand washing by itself reduces the chance of infection by 70%.
DO NOT expose your tattoo to direct sunlight or soak it in water for at least 10 days. This will cause complications in healing, almost always resulting in color loss.
Different areas of the body sometimes require a little extra care… feet, creases in arms, near the armpit and hip areas are prone to high friction so you’ll undoubtedly have longer heals in those areas. If you got your feet tattooed I personally just wrap it one extra day (3 days instead of 2) with a sock over it and regular sneakers.
If are unsure if your tattoo is healing correctly, please do not hesitate to contact me and I will be more than happy to answer any questions you may have. DO NOT take medical/healing advice from your friends, other tattoo artists. If you use any lotion I did not OK or have written here. Then I will not guarantee success in your healing process. I’m also less likely to touch up your tattoo for free, and you’ve diminished any chances of us becoming friends.