The healing period is vital to your tattoos overall vibrant appearance. When your tattoo is finished, "proper care of your tattoo" instructions should be discussed, and a printed form provided to you by your tattoo artist. It is especially important if you are getting your first tattoo that you follow the instructions provided by the tattooist. The first few days after your tattoo is applied you need to follow the instructions very carefully, this is the time when your new tattoo is much like an open wound and vulnerable to infections. Below is a general guideline that will help you get through the critical healing process.

(These instructions may vary from other instructions you may have heard or read about. Tattoo artist have different techniques for healing a new tattoo.)

Day 1 and Day 2

After your tattoo is finished your tattoo artist will bandage, or wrap your tattoo for protection. It is important to leave it covered for 4 to 8 hours. When you remove the bandage or covering that was put on your tattoo you need to wash the tattoo thoroughly with warm water and mild soap, you need to remove any excess ointments and dried particles that may have started to form on the tattoo. After you have gently cleaned the area you can pat it dry and apply a thin layer of an antibacterial ointment such as, Neosporin, Bacitracin, or A&D Ointment. Repeat this process of gently washing, pat dry and applying a thin layer of ointment. You need to be gentle with your tattoo during the first few days, no harsh soaps, cleaning solvents, grease, dirt, etc. Try not to re-bandage the tattoo, they need air to heal properly. if your tattoo is still seeping fluids you may bandage your tattoo to protect clothing or bed sheets, but try to bandage as loose as possible.

Day 3 and Beyond

By day 3 your tattoo will be well on its way to healing itself. You will not need any bandages by now and you should stop using the anti bacterial ointments. After day 3 you can use hand lotions or creams to help keep the tattoo moist. You can use these lotions as often as possible for the next two to three weeks, just make sure to just put a thin layer on and do not smother the tattoo. There are many brands of products you may use such as Eucerin, Keri, Curel or Lubriderm.

Showering and Shaving While Your Tattoo is Healing

The first few days after your tattoo has be applied you need to avoid direct spray from a shower head, soaking the tattoo in a bath, chlorine pools and saunas. The tattoo still has open pores during the first few days and you need to be particularly careful to avoid any infections or dilution of the pigments that have used during the tattoo process. Wash your tattoo gently with warm water and mild soap and pat it dry afterwards.

If your tattoo is in an area where you may need to shave you are going have to avoid shaving for a few days. The tattoo should heal over before you begin shaving that area again. Razors are known to be an breeding ground for bacteria so make sure you use a new or sanitized razor every time you need shave the tattoo area.

Avoid The Sun

Most people like to get tattooed and show off their new body adornment. Unfortunately that may mean exposing to the direct sunlight. This has to be avoided for a while until the tattoo is completely healed over. A sunburn will easily blister the new tattoo and cause a loss of pigment resulting in a dull and poor looking tattoo. It is also recommended that a good sun block be used every time you are going to expose the tattoo to long periods of sun. This will continue to keep the tattoo looking bright for many years to come.

If Your Tattoo Scabs Over

Properly done tattoos should have minimal scabs. After a week or so you may get a thin even layer that appears milky over the tattoo, this is normal and just continue to use your lotion and keep the tattoo moist. If your tattoo forms a heavier scab you need to try your best to leave it alone keep your lotion on it and let it go through the healing process. If you pick the scab at this point it will most likely pull the color out of the tattoo.

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Proper Care of a New Tattoo