1) Wash your hands! Remove the bandage after one hour, two maximum.
2) All wounds need to breathe if they are to heal properly.
3) Wash the tattoo using your fingertips or hand only.
4) Use a mild antibacterial soap and warm water.
Take care to remove all traces of blood to decrease your chances of scabbing.
Do not scrub the tattoo with a washcloth during the two week healing period.
Always gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean soft cloth or just let it air dry.
5) Apply a thin coat of ointment to the tattoo…
Aquaphor, A&D Ointment and Tattoo Goo are all very good.
(Just enough to make it shine, a little goes a long way… less is more.) Work it in well.
Dab off all the excess with a paper towel. You should barely be able to tell that it’s there… This is just enough to moisturize the tattoo and to keep it from scabbing.
Please Note: There’s a difference between “moisturizing your tattoo” and “keeping it moist.” Moist implies ‘wet’, which is bad. It’s the same as soaking it in water. Your body will absorb what it needs where it needs it. Your body heat can liquefy the ointment and it may become glossy looking or runny. This means there’s still too much on there. Dab more off. Too much ointment will only suffocate the tattoo, clog pores and liquefy any scabs that may have formed causing the ink to fall out and look blotchy. There is no need to re-bandage the tattoo.
Ointment should be applied twice a day for two to three days then switch to moisturizer like Aveeno, Eucerin, Keri, Lubriderm, Curel, Jergens, or Vaseline Intensive care. Apply moisturizer twice a day for the remainder of two weeks. Do not use lotions that contain color or fragrance or sparkles until the healing is complete. (Usually anywhere from ten days to two weeks; Possibly longer for slower healers.)
Your skin will form a protective layer no matter what you do. Most of the time the tattoo will probably be more on the dry side than wet/moist. If you keep it too moist and then let it dry out repeatedly it will form a thick, hard scab that may crack when you move. When you form this kind of a scab the ink sits within it and slowly heals into the skin. When the tattoo is kept moisturized it doesn’t have a chance to form a scab but does form a thin membrane to protect the tattoo while it heals.Under ideal circumstances it’s very thin, almost like an onion skin. It usually begins to flake off by the fourth or fifth day. Very similar to a flaking sunburn (do not peel your tattoo, you will pull the ink out!) and it is perfectly normal to see small flakes of colored skin falling off during this stage of healing. During this stage of healing, it’s common for the new skin beneath to look milky, causing the tattoo to look lighter. This will adjust within the next week or two.
You must keep your tattoo clean, however, long showers or baths must be avoided for 2 weeks. Prolonged soaking can and will loosen scabs if any have formed, or will soak through the soft tissue turning it into a soggy mess and cause your ink to flow down the drain. This includes Swimming in the Ocean or a Pool, Hot Tubs, and Saunas. Short showers are best, under ten minutes if possible.
Please refrain from scratching or picking at the tattoo. This can cause damage. Scrubbing with a washcloth can be very harsh on a tattoo and will cause your colors to fade. Disrupting the tattoo while it’s healing can also cause scar tissue. It is normal for the tattoo to become very itchy during the healing time. To relieve this, spray the tattoo with rubbing alcohol or slap it with your hand (this will sting it and take away the itch).
No but’s about it, the sun is BAD for your tattoo, even if you’ve had it for a loooooong time. A sunburn on a new tattoo can cause a lot of problems. It will dry out your tattoo and cause it to form a horrendous scab much of the time causing the tattoo to fade before it is even healed. It will take much longer to heal completely. It promotes scarring in a new tattoo. Wait until it is fully healed to go back in the sun or a tanning bed and make sure you put on a high quality SUNBLOCK (not sunscreen). But, do not apply sunblock while the tattoo is healing. Keep it out of the sun The tattoo is under your skin, and your tan will form above it. If you get too dark, some colors (white, yellow, pink, and orange) may not show up as brightly as they could. Over time, excessive exposure to excessive sunlight will cause your tattoo to fade no matter what colors are used.
Hands & Feet:
Remember that hands and feet reproduce skin cells much faster than other parts of the body. A tattoo in these areas will sometimes take an extra two weeks to heal. During this time refrain from washing dishes, wearing gloves, or wearing socks and shoes (sandals must not rub the tattoo). Any friction of this type WILL wear away the tattoo within a very short period of time. Tattoos in these areas are almost never guaranteed.
Individuals heal in so many different ways, it’s hard to tell (especially for first-timers) exactly what will happen – whether the tattoo will scab or peel. A tattoo in one spot may heal completely different from a tattoo in another spot. The way an artist works the skin can also make a difference in the way a tattoo heals. There is no way to fortell exactly what every tattoo is going to do while healing or how to heal it.
Yes, it’s probably better for a tattoo to peel, but sometimes people just don’t heal this way. Sometimes a scab will form no matter what you do. For some, it’s hard to tell whether or not a scab is forming. Sometimes a piece will look like it’s scabbed over but will peel, other times it’s obvious that a thick, hard scab has formed. If a scab does form you may have to do things a bit differently… You should always check with your artist before you change any of your aftercare procedure. Each artist has their own methods of aftercare.In most shops, if you follow their directions and the tattoo heals badly, they are responsible for a touch up. If you deviate from their aftercare without seeking their advice and the tattoo heals badly, you forfeit that guarantee. Almost all artists will advise you to keep the tattoo moist. This can keep it from forming a scab. But what happens if that doesn’t work?
We notice a lot of people getting tattooed and then over-applying ointment and lotion – too frequently or just too much of it. Keeping it too moist, to the point that it’s nearly turning any repairing tissue to mush. Then, while they sleep the mush hardens, turning to a scab. Morning comes and on goes more goo… that then absorbs into the scab turning it to mush again… and later, dries out to form a thicker scab.
Sometimes a tattoo just needs to scab- whether it’s because the artists technique or the clients particular skin type or a rough healing area… sometimes it just happens. . If it does form a scab discontinue the ointment or moisturizer. Let the tattoo ‘dry heal’. You will have to keep an eye on it and baby it to keep any scabs from getting pulled off prematurely, but personally, I find it to be the best way should scabbing occur. If anything, apply a sparing amount of moisturizer once a day or less, if at all. No matter what, your body will heal. Touch ups are always available.
(This is why we guarantee all of our work. 🙂
Each artist at Inkpulsive guarantees their own work and will touch up the tattoo within 3 months of the original date at no cost – unless it’s obvious that you abused the tattoo.