Getting that new tattoo was only half the battle. Now you have to heal it. Don't let all of that money you just spent go to waste. Do what you're supposed to, and if you have any questions that cant be answered here, then feel free to contact me. Thanks!
1. Leave the bandage on until you can properly wash your tattoo
Make sure you can wash your tattoo thoroughly, and not in some grimy gas station bathroom. I advise washing it when you get home, since the bandage should stay on for at least 1 to 4 (one to four) hours. As far as washing it is concerned, see Step 2.
2. Wash your grubby little paws
Once you're in a clean bathroom somewhere, start by washing those nasty things that you call hands. As far as soap goes for this shindig, I recommend Dial Gold Anti-bacterial liquid soap. You don't have to use this specific brand, but whatever you use should be anti-bacterial as well as a liquid. Do NOT use bar soap. ALSO, whatever soap you are using should be fragrance free. Any other additives could cause an allergic reaction.
3. When you wash your tattoo
Wash it with warm, soapy water, using your bare and recently cleaned hands (no washcloth or lufa). The warmer the better. The hot water will open the pores of the skin and allow you to clean the tattoo better. Unfortunately, it also makes it sting a little more. Suck it up.
Rinse the tattoo with cold water. This will close the pores back up, and also feel amazing compared to the warm water. (Think of the feeling of having a sunburn in the shower... same concept). Pat dry with a clean towel, do not rub or do anything to irritate the skin. Once its dry, apply lotion.
4. For the first couple of nights
I recommend covering your tattoo. Before you go to bed, and after you have cleaned it, wrap your tattoo with either saran wrap or Tatuderm (if you have your own, or were given some by me). It should be wrapped up exactly as it was when you first got it done. Make sure that it wont come off in your sleep. This will keep the tattoo moisturized throughout the night, as well as protect your sheets from the "purging" that your skin will be doing. If not, then the extra ink that your skin will "purge" will stain the sheets, and your tattoo could possibly dry out. Continue this for the first 2 or 3 (two or three) nights. DO NOT RE-BANDAGE THE TATTOO DURING THE DAY, UNLESS YOU ARE BEING FORCED AT GUN POINT TO GO SWIMMING IN SEWAGE. Let your tattoo breathe naturally and just continuously apply lotion throughout the day and use some common sense.
5. Lotion vs. Ointments
Everybody tells their clients to take care of their tattoos with a wide variety of products. I believe that lotion is the best thing that you can use to heal your new piece. The objective is to keep the skin as moisturized as possible, and lotion does this without clogging any pores after multiple applications. Also, you can't over apply lotion, whereas if you over apply A&D ointment, or something similar, it could cause problems during healing.
*** NOTE *** There are some products that I do recommend, if you have access to them. However, they aren't readily accessible from your local CVS, and usually involve ordering online.
6. All Done
The tattoo should take approximately 2 to 3 weeks to heal. Although it is done, you should still continue to take care of your skin by applying lotion regularly, just not anywhere near as much as you have been. Once daily is all you need to keep your tattoo looking its best for years to come.
If there is a problem with the healing, there's no need to worry. All of our work is guaranteed, and if your tattoo doesn't heal the way it is supposed to, we will touch it up at no charge to you. All we ask is that you let us know within 3 months of your original appointment. Outside of that 3 month window, but it will cost whatever the minimum is at the shop that the tattoo will be done at (i.e. our shop minimum is $150.00, so it would cost you 150 bucks if you wait until after that 3 month window has passed). So don't be lazy, and you wont have to give us any more of your hard earned money. But we will gladly take it...