Every artist has a different method of aftercare. Some of the information may be conflicting and confusing, but with some common sense, it's not difficult. This is the aftercare regimen I have been giving for years, and from what I've seen, it works just as well as many others.
1. Leave the bandage on for about an hour or two, but no longer than 4 hours.
2. WASH YOUR HANDS before removing the bandage. Once you remove the bandage, wash the tattoo gently by hand with unscented, antibacterial soap. (Dial, Softsoap, etc)
3. Rinse the tattoo by cupping water in your hand until all the residue is rinsed away. Do not let the water pound on the tattoo directly.
4. Gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean paper towel. Do not use a bath towel or tissues (little fibers can stick to the tattoo hindering healing)
5. Apply a very THIN layer of A&D ointment that has been given to you. Do not apply it thickly. You want to make sure that it massaged in gently yet thoroughly, so your hand is not sliding across the tattoo. DO NOT use Neosporin, as some may have allergic reactions to it, and should only be used in case of infection. If you develop any tiny bumps around the tattoo, stop using the product and consult your artist.
6. Repeat this process at least 3 times a day for the first 3 days. You may notice some of the ink coming off the tattoo. That is nothing to be worried about, as the pores are sealing the tattoo in, and that is the ink on the top layer of skin.
7. After a couple of days, the tattoo may begin to peel like a sunburn, or even develop a crust (depending on your healing process - everybody heals differently). When the tattoo feels dry, apply a THIN layer of cocoa butter lotion or any unscented hand lotion (Vaseline Intensive Care, Lubriderm, Keri, Curell, Aquaphor, etc). Do this at least 3 times a day. REMEMBER TO ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE TOUCHING THE TATTOO!!!
8. DO NOT pick or scratch at the tattoo. Doing so can destroy the tattoo's color, not to mention it can possibly lead to infection. If it itches, slap it or apply lotion. (Yet again, WASH YOUR HANDS FIRST)
9. While the tattoo is healing, do not submerge the tattoo under water for about 2-3 weeks. That includes tub baths, hot tubs, swimming, or any other prolonged soaking. Doing so can cause the tattoo to get gooey and possibly fall out. Showers are ok, just don't let the water pound on the tattoo directly.
10. Do not expose your tattoo to sunlight or tanning for 2-3 weeks. UV rays can damage the color in the tattoo, losing it's brightness. Once the tattoo is healed, and SPF 50 sunscreen is highly recommended.
11. Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes over the tattoo while it's healing. For tattoos on the feet, do not wear shoes that will rub up against the tattoo until it is completely healed. Ballet flats or flip flops are encouraged during the healing process, as long as they do not rub against the tattoo. Also avoid pedicures while a foot tattoo is healing.
12. If you have any problems or questions regarding how to take care of the tattoo, always ask your artist first, NOT YOUR FRIENDS!!
If any problems arise, you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the shop at 540-433-5612