Your body treats a new tattoo as a burn or an infection. Treat it like one and do not use anything on it that will dry it out or push the ink out. You paid for the application of ink into your skin. Now, you have your fresh new tattoo, and you want to take good care of it! From this point on, your artist is not responsible for any infection or problems you may have with your tattoo if you don't take proper care of it. It is very important that you follow these guidelines. A really beautiful tattoo can be ruined if the proper aftercare is not taken.
LEAVE THAT BANDAGE ALONE! Your artist took the care to cover up your new tattoo for a very good reason - to keep air-borne bacteria from invading your wound. Yes, as pretty as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Leave the bandage on for a minimum of 1.5 hours. It is even better if you can just keep the bandage on for three hours. Excitement of having a new tattoo will make you want to remove the bandage so you can show your friends, but your friends will just have to wait until tomorrow morning. If you think you just absolutely cannot resist the temptation to show off your new possession, ask your artist if they can cover it with clear cellophane wrap, so the tattoo can be viewed without the protective layer being removed.
After you remove the bandage, you will want to wash your tattoo. Use lukewarm water and antibacterial soap to gently wash away any ointment and to completely clean the area. Do not use a washcloth or anything abrasive. Your hand is your best tool in this case. Then pat (do not rub) the area firmly with a CLEAN towel or paper towel to get it completely dry. Follow with a very light application of ointment. We highly recommend getting an after-care product that is specific for the healing and protection of tattoos. The next best option would be Aquaphor, which is available at any pharmacy. Continue this procedure at least twice a day for two or three days. After that, continue to keep it clean, but you can use lotion when needed instead of ointment, to keep the skin soft.
**Do not use Neosporin. This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos. Some can have an allergic reaction to the Neosporin, which causes little red bumps. When the bumps go away, so does the ink, and you end up with a polka-dotted tattoo.
After a few days you may notice some scabbing and peeling. Excessive scabbing indicates a poorly-done tattoo, but a little is sometimes normal and no need to panic. You will also start to itch, just like a sunburn when it begins to heal. The advice here is, don't pick, and don't scratch! If the skin itches, slap it. If it is peeling, put lotion on it. And if it is scabbing, just leave it alone. Your tattoo is almost healed, and now is not the time to ruin it! After your tattoo is healed protect it from the sun. From now on you will always want to protect it from the sun's ultraviolet rays. These can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very fast. Before spending a lot of time in excessive heat, protect your tattoo with a minimum 30SPF sun block. This will keep your tattoo vibrant for many years, and it will continue to be a source of great pride.