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How to Care for a New Tattoo?
Remove the bandage after 2 to 4 hours. Wash the tattoo and let it air dry. Next, apply some ointment, and wash and moisturize your tattoo three to five times a day. Avoid the following: soaking the tattoo, exposing it to sunlight, scratching it, wearing tight-fitting clothes, and working out. Watch for swelling.
Listen to your tattoo artist. If you’ve done your homework and chosen a good tattoo artist, he or she will provide detailed instructions on how to care for your new tattoo, which you should follow carefully. Every tattoo artist will have a slightly different opinion on the best way to care for a new tattoo, but don’t worry, most reputable artists have had years of experience in caring for new tattoos, so their methods have been tried and tested.
Leave the covering on for 2-6 hours. Once the tattoo is complete, your tattoo artist will clean the area, apply an anti-bacterial ointment and cover the tattoo with a bandage or some dressing. Once you have left the tattoo parlor, resist the temptation to open the bandage. The bandage is there to protect your tattoo from airborne bacteria, which can penetrate through your broken skin. The bandage should be left on for a minimum of two hours before you remove it.
Carefully remove the bandage. The jury is still out on how long a bandage should be left on before it is removed. Most artists agree that you should keep your tattoo covered for a minimum of two hours before removing, but the recommended maximum amount of time varies between 4 and 6 hours. Tattoos covered in plastic wrap are the exception plastic wrap should never be left on a new tattoo for longer than two hours.
Gently wash the tattoo. Most artists recommend lukewarm water and mild, unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap. Use your hands to rub the tattoo gently, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink. This will help to prevent the tattoo from scabbing too soon. Do not use a washcloth, loofah or any sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may harbor bacteria.
Pat the tattoo dry with a light, soft towel. Once you have thoroughly washed the tattoo, you should gently pat it dry with a little paper towel. Do not rub the tattoo, as this may cause irritation. Once the excess moisture has been removed, you should leave the tattoo uncovered for 20 minutes to an hour. This will allow the tattoo to breathe and any excess moisture to evaporate.
Apply a non-scented, water-based anti-bacterial ointment. Once your tattoo is fully dry, and the skin begins to feel tight you can apply a little ointment, such as Bacitracin or A&D, to the tattoo. Make sure to apply only a very thin layer that’s just enough to make the tattoo shine and rub it in gently until it’s absorbed by the skin. It’s very important that you don’t apply too much ointment, or else you’ll suffocate the tattoo and encourage the growth of bacteria.
Continue to wash and moisturize your tattoo, at minimum, twice a day until the scab is gone. You should continue to wash your tattoo with anti-bacterial soap and warm water until it is fully healed. This can take anywhere from 3 to 6 six weeks, depending on the size and location of the tattoo. You should wash the tattoo approximately three times a day, though you should wash more often if the tattoo is on your hand, wrist, foot, or any other area that is more exposed to germs.
Do not scratch or pick at your tattoo, Avoid soaking, Do not expose to direct sunlight, Avoid tight-fitting clothes, Avoid working out and swelling.