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 ointment on it, protect it from the sun and your clothing, and to control the small amount of bleeding/oozing that can occur (this varies with tattoo size and will stop within an hour for most people).
Keep your tattoo bandaged on and off (meaning NOT the entire time!!) and covered in an ointment until it starts to peel, about 4 days. A good time to keep it 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.
You can shower same day but do not soak your tattoo in a tub or go swimming until fully healed (2 weeks).
GOOD HYGIENE is critical during healing not only for the outcome of your tattoo, but for your health as well! Wash your hands prior to touching your tattoo and then clean it with soap and water, pat dry, apply an ointment (not a cream) and then cover with a non-stick bandage that breathes. NEVER EVER USE PLASTIC WRAP! For ointments we like AQUAPHOR (by Eucerin) or VITAMIN A&D (for diaper rash, in the baby section at most grocery/drug stores). You can also use NEOSPORIN or BACITRACIN but they can cause allergic contact dermatitis for some. Again, continue this process until your tattoo starts to peel (about 4 days) and then stop using the ointment and stop covering with a bandage. You can now switch to a light 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 couple of days (varies from person to person and with tattoo size/location). Bruising is common, especially in tender areas like your inner arm.
IF TATTOO IS ON YOUR LOWER LEG, ESPECIALLY LOWER LEG, YOU MUST ELEVATE IT SEVERAL TIMES A DAY TO AVOID SERIOUS SWELLING AND HEALING PROBLEMS (the larger the tattoo the more important this is, trust us)!!!!!
IF TATTOO IS IN OR NEAR A PART OF YOUR BODY THAT BENDS (armpit, elbow, wrist, waist, knee, foot) 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. Healing is tricky, baby these areas (do not lean on your elbow!).
In about 4 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 IT during any stage of healing, this will cause scabs and light spots. When this layer of skin sloughs off your tattoo will be healed. However, you should continue to treat it with care by keeping it out of the sun as much as possible or protected with at least an SPF30 sunscreen. It might go through a second (less severe) peel and remain dry for several weeks, just continue applying lotion.
Remember, even though we take every sterile precaution a tattoo results in broken skin which 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 problems are rare and seldom serious, worry about your health first, the outcome of your tattoo second. You can call us if you have any concerns but remember, we are not medical professionals so you must use your common sense and do what you think is best regarding your health and medical attention.
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 40 years and 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 AND OFF (meaning not the entire time!) and keep it greasy with ointment until it starts to peel. Keep it clean, away from animals and dirt, out of the sun, and don’t let anything (clothing, etc.) rub on it while healing. A good time to keep it bandaged is while you’re sleeping and a good time to let it get some air is while you’re hanging out at home (provided you can still follow the guidelines above). Also, the ointments can stain your clothing/bedding so all the more reason to bandage it.
- Wash your hands before touching your tattoo and don’t let anyone else touch it while it’s healing!!
- Don’t panic, it’s normal for a little ink to ooze out the first couple of days and for a little to slough off when it peels. Colors will look a little off during healing so please don’t call the next day thinking it needs a touch-up, see how it looks in a month when all of the colors have settled in.
- Until your tattoo starts to peel keep it CLEAN and GREASY 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 and lakes are full of bacteria, pools and hot tubs contain chemicals.
- If something gets stuck to your tattoo DO NOT PULL IT OFF, this will cause scabs and 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 and smooth.
- BANDAGES: NEVER use plastic wrap! Use NON-STICK (telfa) PADS or BED LINER/UNDERPADS (found at Wal Mart, Walgreens, etc. they can be cut to any size and 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 work too but keep reading. After your tattoo is clean, apply your ointment, cover with a bandage and secure with tape or an ace bandage. If using paper towels apply plenty of ointment because the towels will absorb a lot of it and 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!
- Although infection is unlikely, signs can include (but are not limited to): redness, swelling and tenderness of the procedure site for an extended period of time (common in hot weather or if bandaged too long), red streaks going from the procedure site to the heart, elevated body temperature, or purulent drainage from the procedure site. If you think you develop an infection, clean your tattoo with soap and water and seek medical attention. With “some” MINOR rash/redness an application of HYDROCORTISONE CREAM and some air might do the trick but remember, it‘s your health, BE SMART!!
- Tanning of any kind WILL fade your tattoo.
- Your tattoo might remain dry for several weeks; just continue applying LOTION (with an SPF30 if necessary!). Lubriderm, Neutrogena, Curel, Suave, whatever.