1. Leave the bandage on until you can properly wash your tattoo... When you do take the bandage off, make sure you can wash your tattoo thoroughly and are somewhere that you know is clean, and not in some grimy gas station bathroom. We advise washing it when you get home, since the bandage should stay on for at least one to four (1 to 4) 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. They’re dirtier than you think, and it’s a quick way to catch an infection. As far as soap goes for this shindig, we recommend Dial Gold Anti-bacterial liquid soap. You don't have to use this specific brand, but whatever you use should be anti-bacterial or anti-microbial as well as a liquid. Do NOT use bar soap… it’s just a petri dish of germs waiting to get into your new tattoo. ALSO, whatever soap you are using should be fragrance free. Any other additives could cause an allergic reaction and/or issues during the healing process.
3. When you wash your tattoo... Wash it with warm, soapy water, using your bare and recently cleaned hands (no washcloth or luffa… they can damage the healing skin). The warmer the better. The hot water will open the pores of the skin and allow you to clean the tattoo better and more efficiently. Unfortunately, it also makes it sting a little more. Suck it up…...… it’s worth it.
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 it’s dry, apply lotion.
4. For the first couple of nights (1 to 3 nights)... We recommend covering your tattoo. Before you go to bed, but after you have cleaned it, wrap your tattoo with either saran wrap or Tatuderm (if you have your own, or were given some by us). It should be wrapped up exactly as it was when you first got it done. Make sure that it won’t come off in your sleep. This will keep the tattoo moisturized throughout the night, as well as protect your sheets from the "purge" that your skin will be doing. If not, then the extra ink that your skin will "purge" will stain the sheets in a Rorschach-esque recreation of your tattoo design, and your tattoo will probably dry out (thus leading to potential skin cracking or scabs, much like horribly chapped lips). When you wake up in the morning, wash the tattoo again with warm soapy water, making sure to get all of the “sliminess” off of the skin. (if you need a refresher, just start from step 1). 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, especially in the naturally hot and humid environment of South Carolina. 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 clog pores and ultimately cause problems during healing.
*** NOTE *** There are SOME products made especially for the healing of tattoos that we do recommend, if you have access to them. We do sell some in the studio, however they aren't usually available from your local CVS, and if not gotten through us then will involve ordering online. If you have one of these products, or intend on ordering some, you should speak with your artist to ensure that it’s a product that we recommend… some aren’t worth it, and in fact aren’t very good for your tattoo at all and can lead to faded color and strange healing processes (i.e. TattooGoo).
6. All Done... The tattoo should take approximately 2 weeks to heal, however that varies depending on the client. 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 for the past couple of weeks. 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 as soon as the tattoo is healed so that we can assess the tattoo and see what needs to be done, as well as scheduling you for a touch up. If it is determined that the issue was caused by negligence on the clients part, or that so much time has passed that any issue could have occurred after the healing, then there will be a charge for touch ups. So don’t be lazy, and let us know if there are any issues so you don’t have to give us any more of your hard earned money!!