Keeping this for reference & especially so that more people get reasonably good guidelines regarding tattoo aftercare. Not exactly the way I do it here in Japan. However, I find this quite a good guidance! too many rumours on the web regarding healing & Tattoos. Please be careful which product you use. My view is natural is best. It's up to you, this is for reference purpose only. It covers the main points! Some of the best aftercare guidelines I have seen on tattoo studio website! Always consult your physician if you feel uncomfortable!
The Care and Feeding of Your New Tattoo
There are as many procedures for healing a tattoo as there are tattoo artists. Unless you have extensive experience with a healing process that has worked successfully for you, please follow our directions as closely as possible. We cannot guarantee our work if you do not take care of your tattoo as per our instructions. If you have any questions please contact us immediately.
1. Leave bandage on 1-4 hours. Remove bandage and wash tattoo gently. Once the tattoo is completed your artist will clean the area thoroughly then apply a layer of A&D ointment and cover the tattoo with a bandage (either non-stick cotton or plastic wrap). Leave the bandage on for at least one hour but no more than four hours. Ideally you want to be able to wash the fresh tattoo in a clean sink or shower.
Carefully remove the bandage and run warm water over the area or soak it in a clean sink filled with warm water. This opens the pores, allowing excess ink to wash away. It may sting slightly but you will quickly get used to it. Using your fingertips, apply a small amount of mild, unscented soap (like Dove or Cetaphil). Gently massage the tattoo with soap and water until you feel the slimy layer dissolve away. The area will feel velvety-soft when all of the soap, ointment and blood is removed. Now run the water a little colder to soothe the irritated skin and shrink the pores.
2. Pat dry then apply A&D. Re-bandage if necessary. Gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean cloth or paper towel. Apply a thin layer of A&D ointment to cover the whole tattoo. If you are planning to sit around the house then you can leave it exposed, but try to keep it elevated when possible. If you are experiencing swelling or soreness, take ibuprofen as directed on the label. Do not exceed recommended dosage.
We recommend taking it easy after a tattoo. If you are going out or just straight to bed we suggest covering the lubed-up tattoo with a piece of plastic kitchen wrap to protect the tattoo from friction and bacteria. You can wear old clothing over this to protect your sheets while you sleep. The A&D acts a temporary airtight seal over the tattoo.
Do not apply medication of any kind unless instructed to do so by your artist or a physician. Avoid Neosporin or anti-biotic ointments as well. If you have a history of reactions to A&D, please consult with your artist about alternatives.
3. Apply water-based lotion periodically to minimize scabs. In the morning you will need to wash the tattoo again. Do this quickly and gently. Do not soak the area or allow the water to hit it too roughly. Your skin is beginning to develop a scab to protect and heal the wound. This is good as long as you don't allow it to get too thick and heavy. You no longer need to use the A&D ointment. You want the tattoo to breathe and heal on it's on. At this point you will be applying a water-based, non-scented lotion over the tattoo (like Lubriderm, Aquaphor, H2Ocean, etc. Check with your artist if in doubt). Don't goop it up too much. Just work in a nice thin layer of the lotion to moisturize the area.
You need to keep the tattoo slightly moist for the next few days so keep the lotion with you and rinse the tattoo gently with cool water between applications; approximately four times a day, although this may vary with different skin types and climates. The moisturizer prevents the scabbing from getting too heavy which would pull color from the skin. You want the wound to breathe, but cover it lightly with plastic film if you are worried about harming it while you sleep.
4. AVOID: swimming or soaking in public water, hot tubs, or the ocean for at least two weeks; rigorous working-out and heavy sweating for the first week; tanning machines or prolonged exposure to direct sunlight while healing.
5. Don't scratch or pick. Between 4-7 days after getting tattooed, the skin over the wound will begin to flake and peel like a sunburn. It may even appear as if ink is coming out of the tattoo. This is just excess pigment and the dead layers of skin falling away. It will not affect the final appearance of the tattoo. Resist the urge to scratch or pick the area. Keep gently cleaning and moisturizing. The skin will come off on it's own. Often your hair will be growing back through the skin, adding to the itchiness and irritation. You can pat or gently slap the skin to alleviate some of the itching. Do not shave until the tattoo is completely healed! You are almost done...
6. Be patient. The average tattoo can take anywhere from 10 days to a full month to heal. Each person heals differently and variations in placement, climate, type of tattooing, etc. will change the way a tattoo heals. Give it a full month to settle in before assessing the final product. Skin is an amazing substance but needs time to adjust. Colors and gray shading change and transform throughout the healing process, often becoming lighter or even brighter as the blood heals away. A couple of weeks of meticulous caring for a tattoo may seem inconvenient, but it is a worthwhile investment.
7. Treat your skin with respect. ANY pigment, ink or dye is damaged by prolonged exposure to UV rays. Tattoos are no exception. Avoid direct sunlight on your tattoos or use a heavy duty sunscreen to prevent fading. Even after it's healed, your tattoo can be ruined by tanning or sunburn. Remember that the tattoo itself is in the lower layers of the skin (dermis). The top layers (epidermis) always renew and grow over the tattoo, giving it a slightly faded look over time. Skin cells and ink particles shift through the years and can make edges fuzzy and soft. The tattoo is part of your body and thus subject to the natural changes of a living organism. Proper hydration, sun protection and moisturizing will keep your skin and your tattoo happy and healthy for a lifetime.
8. Troubleshooting If you see pus or discharge coming from your tattoo or the area seems abnormally sore and tender you could be experiencing an infection. Contact your artist or physician immediately. Often an application of Bacitracin will clear it up in a day, but check with an expert to be sure. Any other questions or concerns should be directed to your artist. Let the tattoo heal completely before over-analyzing any discrepancies with the artwork (see no.6 above). We do guarantee all of our work, however your tattoo needs to be totally healed before we can assess any problems and/or touch-up the artwork.
9. Last but not least... Don't forget to drop by and let your artist take a photo of the healed tattoo or just email us a photo. We like to know how our work turns out. We always work hard to please our customers so let us know about your experience. We know there are many tattoo artists out there to choose from so we thank you for letting us do your tattoo. Our business relies on happy, repeat-customers so spread the word!
Those are the aftercare recommendations from Tattoo culture Studio! Check their site out. They have a great selection of artists that make really nice work