Leave your bandage on overnight unless told otherwise. Once you remove the bandage, wash your tattoo gently with warm water and mild antibacterial soap. Use only your hands! No wash cloths, paper towels, etc. Do not rebandage your tattoo.
Use Aquaphor for the first 3-5 days of healing. Use a thin layer, only enough to make it shiny. Do not apply more than twice a day. After 3-5 days, you can switch to a lighter lotion like Curel, Lubriderm, etc. Make sure it is fragrance-free.
Only wash your tattoo when it's absolutely necessary. Let it stay as dry as possible. Keep it away from the water when you shower. As tattoos heal, they develop small scabs and if the scabs get too wet, they will re-form and pull ink out of your tattoo.
Avoid swimming, hot tubs, and baths while it is healing.
During healing, wear loose, breathable clothing. You do not want to wear tight, constricting clothing as it may rub against your tattoo and cause it to heal poorly.
Do not tan while your tattoo is healing! Sunlight, natural or artificial, is very damaging to a tattoo. Once it is healed (2-3 weeks), use a high SPF sunblock to protect it. Reapply often. Avoid self-tanner while healing.
During the healing process, your tattoo will go through many stages. Usually it will begin to peel and flake after 3-5 days. You may notice light scabbing. Your tattoo may not look very attractive at this stage. It is totally normal for it to look like bits and pieces of your tattoo are flaking off. It will be itchy! Do not pick or scratch at it! If you pick, you can prematurely remove scabs and pull ink out of your tattoo, as well as potentially scar your skin. Secondary healing will occur after the peeling stage - the skin will look tight and shiny, while the colors may look somewhat milky. This will go away after a week or two.
If you have pets, be careful they do not come in contact with the tattoo!
If you notice any signs and symptoms of infecting, including (but not limited to) redness, swelling, tenderness, red streaks going from the procedure site toward the heart, elevated temperature, purulent drainage from the procedure site, or any other signs and symptoms that indicate the need for medical care, contact your physician and tattooer immediately!
When in doubt, ask! Feel free to call the shop or email if you have any questions about your tattoo or the healing process.
Touch-ups are free for the first 3 months or so. If you feel you need a touch-up, contact the shop for scheduling.