- After you've had your tattoo done, the artist will place a bandage over it. The bandage absorbs any blood that may come from the tattoo shortly after it's finished. When the tattoo is fresh, it's considered an open wound; the bandage also protects the tattoo from bacteria. However, your tattoo needs to be exposed to fresh air to heal quickly. After two hours, remove the bandage and do not replace it.
- Your new tattoo needs to be kept clean. Wash it two to three times a day with tepid to warm water and a mild soap. Wash it gently; don't scrub it. Dry your tattoo with a clean paper towel. Don't use a bath or hand towel, as it holds onto bacteria. Don't allow your tattoo to be exposed to water for long periods of time, for example by going swimming or having a bath. A quick shower is fine.
- Tattoo artists differ in opinion over which ointment is best for healing tattoos. What works best for one person may not yield the same results for another. Feel free to experiment to find what works best for you. Some popular choices are Preparation H, A+D Ointment, bacitracin, neomycin, Lubriderm and hydrocortisone acetate. Ensure you don't use an ointment that contains petroleum jelly or lanolin, as these substances might draw the ink out from your tattoo.
Things to Avoid
- Avoid certain actions or situations if you want your tattoo to heal faster. Don't touch your tattoo or apply ointment without washing your hands first. For at least three weeks, don't expose your tattoo to direct sunlight. Never pick any of the scabs that will form on your tattoo, as this process can lead to scarring and the ink looking patchy. Don't apply too much ointment at once; a thin layer is best.