IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CARE FOR & PROTECT YOUR TATTOO WHEN YOU LEAVE!
The healing time of a tattoo varies from person to person and with tattoo size/location. It can be compared to a skinned knee or minor burn.
Your tattoo will be bandaged before you leave Liberty Tattoo in order to keep it clean, keep the ointment on it, protect it from the sun and your clothing, and to control the small amount of bleeding/oozing that usually occurs (this will stop within an hour for most people).
Keep your tattoo bandaged on and off until it starts to peel (about 4 to 5 days). You can shower as normal right away but do not soak in a tub or go swimming until it is healed (2 weeks). A good time to keep your new tattoo bandaged for optimal healing is while you are sleeping. If you will be at work or traveling right after getting your tattoo you might want to plan ahead with your supplies so that you can care for it properly.
PROPER HYGIENE is crucial during healing not only for the outcome of your tattoo but for your health as well! Gently clean your tattoo with soap and water, pat dry, apply an ointment (not cream) such as VITAMIN A&D (for diaper rash, found in the baby section at most grocery/drug stores), NEOSPORIN (do not use if you are allergic to or have had a reaction from), BACITRACIN or AQUAPHOR (by Eucerin) and then cover with a non-stick bandage (do NOT use plastic wrap!). Continue this process until your tattoo starts to peel (4 to 5 days) and then stop using the ointment and stop covering with a bandage. You can now switch to a light, non-greasy lotion until your tattoo is no longer dry/flaky.
It is common for your tattoo to remain a little tender, swollen and red for the first 24-48 hours (varies from person to person and with tattoo size/location). Bruising is also common (especially in tender areas like your inner arm).
IF TATTOO IS ON YOUR LOWER LEG (knee, calf, shin, ankle, foot) YOU MUST ELEVATE IT SEVERAL TIMES A DAY TO AVOID SERIOUS SWELLING AND HEALING PROBLEMS (the larger the tattoo the more important this is)!
IF TATTOO IS IN OR NEAR A PART OF YOUR BODY THAT BENDS (armpit, elbow, wrist, waist, knee) TRY TO KEEP THE AREA FLAT/EXTENDED AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE SO THAT AIR GETS TO YOUR TATTOO AND TO AVOID IRRITATING IT WITH FREQUENT MOVEMENT. Baby these areas (do not lean on your elbow!), healing is tricky!
In 4 to 5 days (varies from person to person and with tattoo size/location) your tattoo will begin to feel tight/rough and then it will peel/flake (this is not as noticeable with small tattoos or just outline work). Your tattoo might itch like crazy but NEVER SCRATCH OR PICK YOUR TATTOO at any stage during healing, this will cause poor healing and light spots. When this layer of skin sloughs off you will have a beautiful healed tattoo. However, your new layer of skin will be delicate so continue to treat your tattoo with care by keeping it out of the sun as well as clean and moisturized. It may go through a second (less severe) peel and remain dry for weeks, just continue applying lotion (with an SPF if necessary!).
Remember, even though we take every sterile precaution, a tattoo results in broken skin so that means you are susceptible to infection just like you are with any cut. Nearly all problems that occur during healing are a direct result of not following these basic instructions and although they are rare and seldom serious, please worry about your health first, the outcome of your tattoo second. Please call us if you have any concerns but since we are not medical professionals you must use your common sense and do what you think is best.
A TATTOO IS A LIFETIME COMMITMENT!
THE WORST THING FOR A TATTOO IS TANNING, by the sun or tanning bed! Your artist may have helped you decide on colors that fit your lifestyle but tattoo aftercare is your responsibility for life. Tanning “will” fade your tattoo so a sunscreen with at least an SPF30 is essential to keep it looking good. Get in the habit of applying sunscreen whether you are swimming, working in the yard or simply driving with your arm out the window. A professionally done and properly cared for tattoo will remain vibrant for “years and years” (without a touch-up!).
Many myths and misconceptions surround tattooing so education is your best defense. Neosporin will NOT pull out the ink! We have been in the business for almost 40 years, we get tattooed and follow this aftercare so before you take advice from your friends, co-workers or strangers, consult with Liberty Tattoo.
ADDITIONAL INFO & TIPS:
- Bandage your tattoo on & off (meaning not the entire time!) until it starts to peel. Keep it clean, keep ointment on it, keep it out of the sun & don’t let your clothing/shoe rub on it. One of the best times to keep it bandaged is while you’re sleeping, & a good time to let it get some air is while you’re hanging out at home (provided nothing will be rubbing on it & that you are able to keep it clean & greased up). Also, the ointments can stain your clothing/bedding.
- Don’t panic, it’s normal for a little ink to ooze out the first couple of days & for a little to slough off when it peels.
- Until your tattoo starts to peel keep it CLEAN & MOIST with ointment. DO NOT LET IT DRY OUT! DO NOT LET IT SCAB!
- SHOWER during healing but DO NOT SOAK your tattoo in a tub until it’s healed (2 weeks).
- NO SWIMMING until your tattoo is healed (2 weeks). Rivers & lakes are full of bacteria, pools & hot tubs contain chemicals.
- If your bandage or clothing get stuck to your tattoo DO NOT PULL OFF, this will cause poor healing & light spots. Simply run water over it until the item falls off easily.
- DO NOT SCRATCH OR PICK YOUR TATTOO DURING HEALING!
- Lower leg tattoo? ELEVATE, ELEVATE, ELEVATE!!!
- DO NOT SHAVE over your tattoo until completely healed, peeled & smooth.
- BANDAGES: NEVER use plastic wrap! Use NON-STICK (telfa) PADS or BED LINER/UNDERPADS (found at Wal Mart, Walgreens, etc. these pads can be cut to any size & are great for large tattoos as well as hard to bandage body parts. Do not use animal pee pads as they contain chemicals). Paper towels are fine too but keep reading. After your tattoo is clean, apply your ointment, cover with a bandage & secure with tape or an ace bandage. If using paper towels apply plenty of ointment because the towel will absorb a lot of it & might get stuck to your tattoo (remember, if this happens do not yank it of). Try to change your bandage once or twice a day but LET YOUR TATTOO GET SOME AIR TOO! DON’T SUFFOCATE IT, DON’T CAUSE AN INFECTION!
- If rash/redness develops or if your tattoo is unusually hot (common in hot weather, over-bandaging or using the ointment too long), gently clean the area with soap & water, pat dry, apply HYDROCORTISONE CREAM & let it get some air, it should look better in a few hours. You can call us but remember, even though we’ve heard & seen it all we’re not doctors so do what “you” think is best.
- Tanning will fade your tattoo so a SUNSCREEN with at least an SPF30 is ESSENTIAL if you want it to look good for years.
- Your tattoo might remain dry for several weeks; continue applying a light, non-greasy LOTION (with an SPF30!). Lubriderm, Neutrogena & Curel are all good but so is Suave.