The most basic thing to remember is to clean and moisturize the tattoo 2-3 times per day for two weeks. Always wash your hands before touching the tattoo. Keep your fresh tattoo out of prolonged water exposure (baths, swimming, hot tubs) for two weeks.
In most cases, I will apply a Tegaderm bandage to the tattoo. Tegaderm is a clear, hospital-grade, waterproof bandage that aids in preventing infection. Tegaderm can be worn in the shower, but it is best not to expose it to running water for too long, as it can start to break down the adhesive around the edges. Leave the Tegaderm bandage on for 2-3 days. Take it off early if the bandage gets damaged or punctured, starts to come off too much, or if the tattoo leaks enough plasma to break the seal. Remove the bandage in warm, running water, and throw it away (this usually works best in the shower). Clean the tattoo with warm water and unscented soap, patting it dry with a fresh paper towel. Allow to dry for about 10 minutes and apply a very thin layer of Aquaphor to the entire tattoo. Be sure to rub it in completely like lotion. Repeat 2-3 times per day for the first 4-5 days after removing the Tegaderm bandage. After that, switch to using unscented lotion as the moisturizer.
When I am healing, I like to wash my tattoos with soap and water in the morning and evening, and then clean it with witch hazel in the middle of the day. Makes it much easier if you are out and about or at work, etc. Just wash your hands and squirt some on to a fresh cotton pad and gently wipe down the tattoo. Allow to air dry for a few minutes and then apply moisturizer.
Do not expose your fresh tattoo to water for prolonged periods. No baths, hot tubs, saunas, or soaks. Showering is fine, but it is safest to keep it out of direct contact with running water as much as possible.
While your tattoo is healing, it is best to wear clean, loose fitting clothes made from natural fabrics over the area that has been tatooed. It is also a great idea to put clean sheets on your bed.
Keep your fresh tattoo away from animals, dirt, and sunlight. Avoid excessive exercise or activities where you might sweat a lot. Some sweating is OK, just make sure to clean the tattoo immediately afterward.
To keep your tattoo looking great for decades to come, it is best to apply sunscreen to it any time it is exposed to sunlight for more than a short time.
For ear tattoos:
Make sure to use only unscented shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products while your tattoo is healing. Always clean and moisturize your tattoo after washing hair or apply products. If the tattoo includes the part of the ear where glasses arms rest, be sure to clean glasses arms with alcohol or unscented soap before wearing. Because ears are so exposed, I recommend cleaning fresh ear tattoos with witch hazel (and moisturizing) multiple times per day for the first week (in addition to regular cleaning with soap and water in the morning and evening).
For hand tattoos:
I highly recommend carrying around a travel size bottle of unscented soap for hand washing throughout the day. Always apply a thin layer of moisturizer after each wash. Always wear dishwashing gloves while washing dishes or cleaning. Make sure your gloves are clean and new and free of holes.
Things To Buy
Things to buy:
-Unscented soap (I like Dr. Bronner’s unscented baby soap)
-Aquaphor skin ointment (Get a tube, NOT a tub. And it’s best to get a fresh mini tube for each tattoo you get)
-Fresh roll of paper towels
-Fresh pack of cotton cleansing pads
For ear tattoos:
-All of the above
-Unscented shampoo & conditioner
For hand tattoos:
-All of the above (minus the items for ear tattoos)
-Fresh dish gloves