Professional tattoo artists in Milwaukee, or at one of the many shops in the surrounding area, often will give useful advice on how to properly care for a new tattoo. Many times though I get calls asking to repeat what I said, or people telling me they didn’t take care of one in the past and they regret it. I thought sharing some useful tips on this website would be a good idea, so here is the first, how you should take care of your new tattoo.
As you probably know, once leaving the tattoo shop, you will have a temporary bandage covering the tattoo. This should stay on for at least 2-3 hours. It allows your skin to calm down from the irritation and to suppress any bleeding.
At this point you will remove the bandage after thoroughly washing your hands. If the tattoo is in a location that is difficult to reach, have someone help you with this. Wash the tattoo and surrounding area gently but thoroughly with warm water and antibacterial hand soap (such as Dial soft soap). Be sure to remove any and all remaining ink and residue from Vaseline or whatever product your tattoo artist in Milwaukee has used. After cleaning the area, gently pat dry with a clean towel or paper towel.
For the first 48 hours repeat this process about two or three times per day. Be sure to wear comfortable loose clothing on and around the area of the new tattoo to prevent irritation and rubbing. It is also a good idea to wear older clothes that are not as important to you since your tattoo could seep some ink onto your clothing and possibly stain it. Having clean bedding is also recommended for these first few days.
After two days of cleaning, you will now begin using a fragrance and color free lotion (such as Lubriderm or Currel, some aftercare products can also be used like H2Ocean or whatever your artist recommends). Apply lotion two to three times per day to keep tattoo and area moisturized and prevent drying out. Continue moisturizing the tattoo for at least three to four weeks.
Your tattoo should peal within about a week of getting it done. This is normal and should not be rushed. Allow your skin to heal on its own by simply moisturizing it to keep it from drying out. Some scabbing may occur and will eventually heal smoothly—just be patient and keep the area moisturized. A tattoo typically takes around two to four weeks to fully heal; everyone is a bit different and the weather In Milwaukee will probably help determine how long for healing as well.
Another little bit of advice: getting your new tattoo wet is not a problem; you just want to avoid soaking it. Also be sure to completely avoid swimming and hot tubs—especially anything with chlorine. Showering is fine as long as you wash around the tattoo area with your regular soaps and avoid too long an exposure to water. Also avoid direct sunlight and tanning for the first few weeks. Doing so will result in fading and loss of vibrancy in pigments. Once the tattoo is fully healed apply heavy sunblock generously to the tattoo area to prevent any damage from the sun. Do not scratch or pick at the tattoo. Doing so will result in prematurely removing dead skin that still contains pigment and therefore could remove some color. The tattoo will peal on its own and should not be rushed. If it is itchy just gently pat or apply some lotion. Finally if you have any questions please contact your artist, do not ask your friends for advice as we are the professionals and that is why we are here! We want your tattoo to heal smoothly and quickly for the best possible resulting final product. Hopefully this guide will help you out next time you get a tattoo, but once again, contact your artists if you have any problems or further questions.