***A tattoo is an open wound and can get infected it you don't take proper care of it. 80% of a tattoo is the healing. You can get an amazing tattoo but if you don't take care of it, it will not heal well and look bad. Once you leave the shop, your artists job is over and we expected and depend on you to take care of your new tattoo. It will be on you forever so please take care of it and we'll all be happy. Here is a set of instructions that we believe works well for many people, and have used this method on ourselves successfully:
Here it is quick for those of you who don't like to read:
-If your artist used a second skin type product, remove after 5 Days and follow with normal washing and unscented lotion.
- Take off your bandage 1 hour after your tattoo
- Wash it will Luke warm water until it isn't slippery anymore
- Pat (DO NOT RUB) it dry with a clean paper towel
- Allow to air dry for 10 minuets (important)
- Apply a small amount of Fuk Putty and rub it in to you skin (you do not want it to be shiny. More is not better)
- Wash, pat dry, air dry, apply ointment 3 times a day for 2 weeks!
- Once your tattoo starts to peel or about 3 days after, start using non scented lotion (Luberderm, Avveno, Eucerin) instead of tattoo ointment.
Continue reading for more in depth instructions (Recommended)...
-1 hour after your tattoo you should remove the bandage and wash the tattoo. We recommend you wash the tattoo with an anti-bacterial hand soap, such as Dial antibacterial hand soap, to reduce your risk of infection. Whatever antibacterial soap you use, make sure it's a pump bottle as bar soap can have bacteria on it! Also use luke-warm to cool water as opposed to hot water, which would burn the tattoo. It is important to wash the tattoo lightly with your HAND ONLY! DO NOT USE A TOWEL OR ANYTHING ROUGH! Be sure to remove all ointment, blood, and any other residue. Your tattoo will feel slippery. This is normal. It's plasma and it is very important to get it off so it doesn't breed bacteria or create infection.
-Pat (DO NOT RUB) the area dry with a clean paper towel. DO NOT use a shower or dish towel.
- Let the area air dry for 10 minuets (important)
-After washing the tattoo, apply a tattoo ointment. Some commonly recommended ointments would be Bacitracin, A+D Ointment and Aquaphor. These ointments have been recommended for a very long time and they are not very good for your tattoo. Anything with petroleum in it is not good for your new tattoo. It can fade it and just sits on top of your skin breeding bacteria instead of penetrating and healing. We recommend anything that is meant for tattoos such as Tattoo Goo, Redemption, Hustle Butter or our product Fuk Putty (which is the best). If you don't have any of these, you can get 100% Shea butter from your local dollar store. It is VERY IMPORTANT to only use a very tiny amount of ointment and that you lightly rub it into a thin, “barely there” layer over the tattoo. The tattoo should just have a slight sheen (not shiny) after rubbing in the ointment. Using too much ointment can over saturate the tattoo and cause excess scabbing or scabs to come off prematurely. It is NOT “the more the better.” Using too much ointment can clog your pours and cause acne, infection, and bad healing.
-We recommend use of the ointment for around 3-5 days or until your tattoo begins to peel. During these days and for 2 weeks after, wash your tattoo every morning right when you wake, after lunch, and right before bed with clean hands! It is important to wash the tattoo 3 times a day. Apply more ointment after each washing. If your tattoo is in a hard to reach area, have a friend assist you, just make sure they wash their hands thoroughly before they do so. If you do not keep your tattoo clean, you run the risk of both infection and excess scabbing which could result in poor healing. During these first few days, depending on where your tattoo is located the tattoo may be prone to swelling, using a bag of ice, elevating the tattooed area, and taking ibuprofen can help reduce the swelling.
-Around the 3-5th day, you should notice your tattoo has formed a thin, hard layer, which will begin to peel. The peeling is similar to that of a sunburn peeling, only the skin will come off in the colors of the tattoo, this is normal. At this stage in the healing process you can switch from using the ointment to a non-scented hand lotion. Aveeno, Curel, and Lubriderm non-scented are some common recommendations. For the next 2 weeks, keep washing the tattoo and use the lotion as needed. Keep the skin moisturized to prevent cracking and bleeding. There may be a couple scabs on your tattoo that take longer to come off then others, some taking up to a few weeks to come off. If this is the case just let the scabs fall off on their own and be mindful not to pull them off prematurely, as this could result in loss of ink. The majority of your tattoos healing should be over in 2 weeks, but it does take up to 2 months for a tattoo to be fully healed as it heals from the inside out. Your tattoo should flake while healing like sunburn. If you are getting wet looking scabs, your probably using too much ointment!
Things to avoid during the tattoo healing process:
-Try not to sleep on your tattoo. Example, if the tattoo is on your back, sleep on your stomach. Not only will the tattoo become stuck to your clothing and linens, it will leave a lovely imprint on your sheets. Should you wake up and your clothes are stuck to your tattoo, do not rip them off, for this could result in ripping off scabs. Instead wet the area of clothing that is stuck to the tattoo with water and it will become unstuck.
-Avoid submerging the tattoo. Soaking in water could cause scabs to come off prematurely. Also avoid swimming due to possible bacteria and irritants in the water. So no ocean, lake, pool, jacuzzi, or bath tub for 2 weeks! Showers are okay… and encouraged.
-Avoid the sun! Getting sunburn on your tattoo can cause some serious problems. Think of your tattoo as like healing a bad sunburn, you wouldn't want to get more sun on it. If your going to be in the sun for an extended period of time, wear loose cotton clothing over the tattoo.
-Avoid wearing tight clothing that will rub onto the tattoo, excessive rubbing can lead to scabbing and loss of ink. Some key areas where this is common is around the pants line and the bra line. Try to wear loose fitting cotton clothing over the tattooed area so that its breathable, or if your not in public, go without! If you had your foot tattooed, try to stick to a more open type of shoe such as a flip-flop. Also, the first couple days of healing the tattoo will tend to “ooze” in the colors of the tattoo that tend to stain fabric, so do not wear your sunday best!
-Avoid over working the tattooed area. For example, if you are an avid gym goer, lay off the arm exercises for 2 weeks if you just had your arm tattooed. Or, if you just got your foot tattooed, don’t plan a hiking or 5 hour mall trip. Over working the tattooed area can result in scabbing and poor healing. Working out will also cause you to sweat which is also not good for the tattoos healing process.
Infection is not super common but lets face it, with so many invisible bacteria floating around out there its bound to happen at some point, here's some tips on dealing with your tattoo should it become infected:
-First and foremost is how to tell if your tattoo is indeed infected, some key signs of tattoo infection are a red haze surrounding the tattoo after its already past a week or more of the healing process, which also could be accompanied by a white haze over sections of the tattoo, indentation of the tattoo, extreme scabbing which may turn green or yellowish, bad smell, and puss. Contacting your tattoo artist so they may confirm whether or not your tattoo is infected and ways to combat the infection is a good idea, although the best way to deal with an infection is by calling you physician, they will know the absolute best way to combat your infection and may prescribe you antibiotics.
-The best ways to avoid infections are by keeping your tattoo clean and by making your artist aware of any sensitivities or allergies you may have before getting tattooed. For example, many tattoo artists use latex gloves during the tattooing process, if you have an allergy to latex let your tattoo artist know ahead of time so they can switch to nitrile gloves. Also, many people have a sensitivity to certain tattoo inks, red ink is a common color that people have a sensitivity to because of the nickel content in that particular color. An easy way to tell if you have a nickel allergy is by wearing a piece of cheap costume jewelry, which is commonly nickel coated, and will discolor your skin black if you are allergic to it.
After your tattoo is healed:
-In order to keep your tattoo looking good for as long as possible, it is important to keep your skin moisturized, and when your going to have prolonged sun exposure, use sun block to help avoid fading.
Every different artist has there own ideas and theories as to what is the best way to take care of your tattoo. There are many ways to heal a tattoo and this is just one and it is what we find works the best!