1. Treat it like a fresh wound
Leave the plastic wrap a minimum of 2 hours and NO MORE than 3 hours. Gently wash the tattoo in circular movements. Wash with lukewarm water and mild, NO ALCOHOL and unscented liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap (Dove, Intima, Hydralin,…).
Use your hands to gently rub the tattoo, removing all traces of blood, plasma, or leaked ink. This will help to prevent the tattoo from scabbing too soon.
Do not use a wash cloth or any type of sponge to clean the tattoo, as these may contain bacteria. Do not hold the tattoo directly under the water. Wash it indirectly by splashing the water over the tattoo with your hands (or just shower). The stream of water from the faucet may be too harsh on your new tattoo.
2. Let the tattoo air dry
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 breath and any excess moisture to evaporate. You should allow your tattoo to breathe like this after each time you wash it or get it wet.
3. Apply ointment
Use Dexeril, Cicatril, Bephanten…
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.
4. Continue to wash and moisturize your tattoo 3 to 5 times a day
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 which is more exposed to germs.
What to EXPECT ?
- The initial healing of the tattoo will take up to two weeks. During this time, you can expect the tattoo to start peeling or flaking, in a similar way to sunburn. Some colored skin may come away as the tattoo peels, but this is completely normal.
- After the skin peels, your tattoo will look glassy and feel tight. It may also have cloudy or white patches of skin that you will be tempted to peel off, but try to resist. This is referred to as “onion skin” and will fall off by itself within a couple of weeks.
- If you have taken proper care of your new tattoo, you can expect your tattoo to be healed and your skin to have fully regenerated in about 4 to 6 weeks.