DAYS 1-5: Keep that Saniderm on! It should be on for a minimum of 24 hours but you will have much better results if you wait 4-5 days. If it is peeling to the point your tattoo is exposed, continue to the steps on day 5.
Why do we do this? This will help protect your tattoo from infection and ink rejection!
DAY 4 or 5: Remove the Saniderm gently (easier in the shower under warm water) & wash with warm water & unscented antibacterial soap. Proceed to the following WEEK 1 steps and begin them the same day the Saniderm is removed.
WEEK 1: Wash tattoo under warm water with unscented antibacterial soap 3 times a day. Dry with a paper towel. Apply a THIN layer of Aquaphor or an equivalent AT LEAST 3 times a day. When you notice it itching, peeling, or appearing dry: apply ointment!
WEEK 2: Apply ointment as needed if you notice it itching, peeling, or appearing dry. Your tattoo should be healed after 2 weeks.
Signs of potential infection: rash/redness/ bumps in the tattoo area, fever, worsening swelling, purulent drainage, increasing pain, shaking/chills/ sweats
- DO NOT soak your tattoo in a tub, sauna, or jacuzzi or go swimming in any kind of water while your new tattoo is healing. This means no pools, no ocean, no lake, no river. All of these things have bacteria sitting in them -- soaking a healing tattoo (or any open wound) can cause a nasty bacterial infection. Not only will this severely damage your tattoo, but it will also make you very sick. In extreme circumstances, THIS CAN BE DEADLY.
Showers, on the other hand, are very good! Regularly washing your healing tattoo will keep the bacteria out! Avoid rubbing scented soap on your tattoo for the first week of healing.
- Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight and tanning booths until the tattoo is healed. If you're outside, make sure you're wearing clothing that will keep it completely covered. After 2 weeks, apply SPF25 or higher sunscreen when exposed to sunlight to minimize fading. DO NOT apply sunscreen to your tattoo while it is healing. Exposure to the sun, especially while healing, will cause your tattoo to fade.
- DO NOT RUB or PICK the tattoo!! Loss of color &/or infection could occur.
SIGNS OF INFECTION
- rash/redness/ bumps in the tattoo area
- worsening swelling
- purulent drainage, increasing pain
- shaking/chills/ sweats
In the first 24 hours, some redness and swelling are totally normal. It is also normal for some blood &/or ink to "leak" during the first 24 hours.
If you suspect you have an infection: CONTACT A DOCTOR IMMEDIATELY!
I know all of this sounds scary, but if you follow all of the aftercare instructions, getting an infection is extremely unlikely. Don't listen to others who say they didn't care for their tattoos after and "were fine." They got lucky (and it is very likely that their tattoos will not look good for very long).
Please please please don't risk your health and safety!!