There are many acceptable ways to care for your tattoo while it is healing and you may hear different versions from different tattoo artists. None-the-less they all follow a relatively similar narrative. These are just my suggestions for best practices that I have seen work over the past 17 years of tattooing. However, the following is NOT intended to be taken as medical advice. If you have serious concerns about your health and safety please contact a qualified health care provider.
1. Once your tattoo is finished the artist will apply a protective cover. Leave this cover in place for at least 2 hours but no longer than 12 hours. You do not need to cover it again.
2. Once the bandage is removed, immediately wash the tattoo with lukewarm water and a liquid, anti-bacterial soap. Do not use soaps that have strong botanical fragrances. Be sure to remove all grease and residue. Let air dry or pat it with a paper towel or clean bath towel.
3. With clean hands apply a fragrance free moisturizer. There are many products on the market that can work well. The two that I currently have seen the best results with are a product called Aquaphor and plain, organic coconut oil. Whatever moisturizer you decide to use be sure to apply it VERY sparingly. Start with just enough to make the tips of your index and middle finger greasy, and spread that on the tattoo, working it in until it isn't spreading anymore. Repeat this until you have covered the whole tattoo.
4. repeat steps 2 and 3 for 5-7 days. By then you should be noticing small bits of dry skin flaking off the tattoo. At this point you can start using a plain white skin lotion to moisturize the tattoo.
Do not touch or let others touch your new tattoo unless the hands have been washed thoroughly.
Do not use bacitracin, polysporin, neosporin. These have been known to draw ink from the tattoo
Do not compress the fresh tattoo with tight clothing or belts, etc.
Do not let unqualified people tell you how to take care of your tattoo. If you have a question, refer to the care instructions, or contact your tattoo artist.
Do not soak, swim, or sauna for at least 2 weeks.
Do not expose to sun for at least 2 weeks.
Do not pick at or otherwise traumatize your fresh tattoo. If it is very itchy slapping gently will actually help a lot
Your new tattoo will heal in about 2-3 weeks. Maybe even less!
Please feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions.