TATTOOS - AFTERCARE

To ensure proper healing of your new tattoo, I would like you to:

   

After 3 hours remove bandage under warm running water and gently wash your new tattoo with Ivory or any mild white soap.

Wash your new tattoo every day while bathing.

Use no ointments first 3 or 4 days.

Use as little ointment as possible, or none at all.

A thin crust or scab will form within a few days. It will peel away on its own within 10 days. Do NOT pick it off or allow damage to the scab.

   

SOAPS, OINTMENTS, & TANNING BEDS

Before I begin each client's tattoo I ask a few questions:

SOAP

First I determine if my customer already has a tattoo. I ask about previous aftercare instructions. Then I ask what kind of soap is used at home. You need to keep your tattoo clean with soap and water. I will write on each customer's instruction card what time to remove the bandage. Always remove the bandage under running water and gently wash remaining dried blood from new tattoo with white bar soap.

Body washes, liquid soaps, like Aquarium soft soap, Spectro Gel, and coloured bar soaps such as Irish Spring, Coast, or Zest, and even Lever 2000, will clean so thoroughly that they actually dissolve pigment from the new tattoo. Avoid these products just for the first two weeks.

If the client has told me they usually use coloured or liquid soap, I will make a note on their aftercare card specifically recommending a brand of white bar soap we both agree on. You may use Dove, Ivory, Jergens, or any plain white bar soap. If one of these soaps produces a rash, switch to another kind. Gently wash the new tattoo with lathered hands, not a cloth. Pat dry with a brand new or very clean towel, no rubbing. After bathing, the tattoo is vulnerable to damage. The scab will be soft and easily rubbed away, by your towel, or by bumping into things. If the scab gets damaged, the underlying ink will come off, creating a spot of missing colour.

OINTMENTS

Ointments are applied to the new tattoo to stop itching and to add moisture to the area.

During the tattoo session I will ask my client what kind of ointment they usually use, either for their last tattoo, or for scrapes, burns, small injuries, etc. Together we will agree on what ointment they shall be applying over their new tattoo during the healing process.

"Ointment" can be Polysporin, Polytopic, Mecca, Tattoo Goo, etc. Tattoo Goo is mostly olive oil and beeswax, just read the label. "Ointment" may also include moisturizers and lotions, they work just fine as well. Some people like lotion like Lubiderm, Jergens, aloe vera, vitamin E lotion, I have even heard of people applying Chap Stick. The same moisturizers that are in hand lotion are also found in Chap Stick, and it is easier to apply a lotion.

You do not absolutely have to use "Polysporin"...a few people are either allergic or sensitive to it, producing a bumpy rash. You do not absolutely have to use anything at all.

Whatever ointment, moisturizer, or lotion you decide upon, discontinue using it if you get a rash. Read the label of the product chosen.

It is best to wait three, four, or even five days before any ointment is used. If it is used too soon it will cause burning irritation and pain. Allowing a couple of days to pass by before applying ointment is best. Let the scab begin to form first. As the scab begins to shrink away from the tattoo's edges it will become itchy. This is the time to apply a little ointment. Only a small amount is necessary, too much will not allow oxygen in. Just once or twice per day is enough.

I usually apply a little no-name hand lotion on the fourth day, then maybe a bit of Polysporin on the fifth day, followed by more plain lotion the day after. I may skip a day in between, or may not use anything at all. I am speaking from 20 years of experience, and I am recommending the same aftercare that I follow myself. I have done all of the tattoos on both of my legs, and my left arm myself.

The above aftercare advice is just common sense. If someone skinned a knee or got a minor burn, this same aftercare would be fine. Tattoos are similar, the same depth of skin being affected.

In a week to ten days the client's scab will shed away on its own. If any damage has occurred before this happens there may be areas with some colour missing. It will not be apparent for some weeks until the skin returns to its previous state.

The work I do on every tattoo is perfect, unless I tell the client it was not, for some reason, such as an old scar, bad placement, such as hands or elbows, etc.

Any colour missing happened after the client left the shop. I do not touch up any missing colour for free, simply because it happened after the client left. Most times it is simply from harsh soaps such as Irish Spring, as discussed above.

Customers may receive a discount on the touch up, as long as another tattoo is being done at the same time. It might be done at no charge. The client must make it known to the receptionist while they are paying. This shall be done in advance of the tattoo session, or we cannot allow time for the touch up and the regular tattoo.

If a client has done a foolish thing to their new tattoo, for example, using too much ointment too soon, starting on the first day, or using harsh soap, I will charge the amount of money it would cost for that amount of work. I need to see it to give a price.

If I believe a tattoo will not turn out perfectly successfully, I will not do it. Follow the instructions provided and your tattoo will turn out perfect.

TANNING BEDS & SUN BATHING

I can tell if the client goes tanning by looking at their skin. It is best not to go tanning at least one week before you come in for a tattoo or a piercing. Please do not get a tattoo if you are peeling or sunburnt.

This advice is not against tanning salons - I go and have gone tanning myself.

New tattoos are especially susceptible to damage from sun or tanning bed exposure.

Cover the new tattoo with a towel, or an item of clothing for the first month while tanning. The next three months use sunblock SPF 30, then sunblock with SPF 10 from then on. If you do not want the tattoo to ever fade you must use sunblock on the tattoo from then on.

Those are my general aftercare instructions. I give each client a business card with these directions printed on the reverse side on completion of your tattoo.