After each tattoo session your tattoo artist will bandage the area. As this is to keep help keep the area clean in the initial stages of healing, we ask that you leave the bandage in place for a minimum of 6-8 hours. If possible, try to leave the bandage in place overnight. It is during this time that your skin may seep (plasma) as it goes through its natural healing process.
(Leaving the bandage in place overnight, especially if it's a larger piece, will keep your skin from sticking to sheets or blankets in your sleep, which may cause tearing, complications, or infections.)
Remove the bandage gently, and discard of it immediately. With clean hands, use a mild (non-fragrance) soap to clean the area with hot/warm water. Do not scrub, but ensure that the area is rinsed thoroughly. Gently pat dry the area with a clean towel.
At this point, your tattoo should be more of a “closed wound,” and require little tending to.
Avoid pools, baths, hot tubs, etc. as the skin remains vulnerable to reopening and to outside infection.
Do not apply cream or lotion for the first 5-7 days. Allow the body to heal itself.
As the skin heals, it is normal for it to flake and become dry and itchy. You may apply a very thin layer of unscented lotion to help soothe the area. Lubriderm and Aveeno are easy-to-find brands that offer perfume-free products.
The healing process lasts approx. 2 weeks for most tattoos.
There are many variations in opinions on products and suggested techniques when it comes to tattoo aftercare, however they all ultimately encourage cleanliness and patience with the body's own healing process. The aftercare suggestions here are used by the artist's themselves, after years of experimenting and refining their own process in the experience. It seems to simplify more as the years pass; less is more.
In a friction-free world, these guidelines will heal any tattoo flawlessly; however, we do not live in that world. Every person has different skin, bodies, and sensitivities. What is most important to remember to exercise cleanliness and to use common sense along with the above instructions.
Of course, feel free to contact the shop or your artist if you have any further questions or concerns at any point.