If you have a clear bandage, your tattoo has been covered with a medical grade adhesive film used to protect against dirt, friction and bacteria. Leave the bandage/film on for 48 hours.
Fluid accumulation under the film is NORMAL and should be expected. There may be a little or a lot. There is no need for concern if you see fluid, this is your own blood plasma and a bit of tattoo pigment.
If you experience a lot of fluid or if your bandage/film is leaking, GENTLY wipe away the excess by pushing it out to an edge to release it. Use a paper towel to absorb the fluid and dispose of the paper towel afterwards. Your bandage should seal up again and continue to protect your tattoo for the duration of the 48 hours.
If the film does not stay secured or fails to stay in place to a point that your tattoo is exposed, the film must be removed at once. Do not remove the film until you can wash your tattoo in a clean place!
Avoid excessive water exposure during the 48 hour period.
WASH YOUR HANDS THOROUGHLY BEFORE DOING ANY AFTERCARE!
TO REMOVE THE FILM, the easiest way is to do it in the shower. Find an edge of the bandage/film and pull back over itself (or roll it). Pulling upward on the bandage may cause undue discomfort.
Immediately after removing the film, while in the shower, wash the tattoo thoroughly with mild, UNSCENTED soap and very warm water. Use only your fingertips with gentle pressure. The trick to getting your tattoo clean is to wash it not just once but as many times as needed to get it clean. Your tattoo isn't clean until it no longer has any areas that feel 'slippery' to the touch.
DO NOT USE A CLOTH, LOOFAH or SPONGE. Do not use an exfoliating soap. A mild liquid or foam soap (unscented dish-soap works well) are best. If you use bar soap, it should be a brand new bar. Bacteria sits on bar soap in between uses. Once your tattoo is clean, rinse it one last time with cold water to help close the pores of your skin.
PAT dry the tattoo using a FRESH, CLEAN towel. Avoid using a bath towel that you've been using for several days as it likely contains bacteria.
MOISTURIZING YOUR TATTOO
Your tattoo likely won't need moisturizing for a day or two after the film has been removed. Allow the tattoo to become dry until it feels tight, itchy or flaky. Moisturize with any UNSCENTED lotion a couple times a day as needed. DO NOT OVER MOISTURIZE!! And do not use any heavy, thick creams. A small amount of a light, unscented lotion is all you need.
You can wash/shower daily but it’s important to keep showers short and always PAT DRY, do not rub your tattoo afterwards. Allow the tattoo to dry out COMPLETELY (normally several hours) after showering before applying any moisturizer.
Avoid clothing or activities that may irritate your new tattoo for several days. This may include clothing that is tight or has a coarse texture. It is also advisable you avoid wearing your favourite light coloured clothing or sleeping on your best sheets for the first 3 days, in case of leakage.
If you experience any swelling around your new tattoo, treat the body part as you would a sprained ankle. Ice, elevation and Advil/Ibuprofen. Lower extremities are particularly vulnerable to swelling. It's usually nothing to be concerned about, but it can be uncomfortable. Just rest and put your feet up for a while.
ABSOLUTELY NO HOT TUBS, SWIMMING POOLS or TANNING for the first 2-3 weeks.
Do not go on vacation with a new tattoo and do not submerge your healing tattoo in water.
NEVER PICK OR SCRATCH ANY SCABS!
Scabbing can’t always be avoided, in fact, it's considered a natural process. When you get a tattoo you’re essentially causing trauma to a specific area of the skin.
Depending on the size and nature of the tattoo, and to some degree on your body’s chemistry, you may experience a number of scabs. You can't really predict whether or not you're going to experience scabbing or how severe it might be. When scabbing does occur, it's important to allow the scabs to dry out and fall off naturally.
Keep in mind, if you have any dense, thick scabs that have formed over your tattoo, the general rule of thumb is, the thicker the scab, the longer it is going to take to heal. So be patient if this is the case with your specific tattoo.
There are some rules everyone should follow when it comes to aftercare if scabbing occurs during the healing process.
- NEVER PICK at your scabs. This is the number one rule. No matter how big, how small, how dark or how ugly your scabs are- if you begin to pick them off, you greatly increase your chances of pulling ink out of your tattoo along with the scab. It can also lead to pitting or scarring and potentially permanently damage the area.
- If you experience some thick, heavy scabbing, DO NOT APPLY LOTION DIRECTLY TO THESE AREAS. Make sure to use lotion around the scabs to keep them dry as possible. When you smother a tattoo with a thick layer of lotion, moisture gets trapped and it will get soaked up by your scabs, making them soggy and gooey.
- DON'T SUBMERGE YOUR SCABS IN WATER or keep them wet for extended periods of time. Same as above - the scabs will soak up the water turning them sticky and gooey. When you have a shower, try as best as possible to keep the scabbed area from water contact. The more water that lands on the tattoo, the more water the scab is going to soak up.
- BE VERY CAREFUL WHEN CLEANING AND DRYING THE TATTOO, especially when going over the scabbed area. When drying, very gently pat the area dry and continue to check that the scab doesn't stick to the towel as you pat.
The bigger the scab, the easier it will be to catch on clothing and other objects, so you're going to have to be extra cautious when putting on/removing clothing and doing general day-to-day tasks, etc.
Another thing to look out for is your scabs sticking to your bed sheets or pajamas at night. Most of the time this cannot be helped, but if you happen to wake up one morning stuck to the sheets, DO NOT just pull at the sheets. Try to soak the stuck area with lukewarm water until the bedding or clothing is damp enough to pull free with no effort.
Overall, the healing stages of tattoos stretch out over a 2-6 week period depending on the individual. Age, lifestyle and the size and location of your tattoo are all factors in the healing process.
Always use a good sunscreen (SPF 30+) on your tattoo after it has healed.
Should you have any additional questions or experience any symptoms beyond those mentioned here, please don't hesitate to contact us.
See the doctor ASAP if you experience signs of infection like but not limited to the following:
- excessive itching: tattoo being itchy, especially at the peeling stage is normal, but it is not if itching persists at an uncomfortable level.
- oozing: a small amount of blood and plasma right after the tattoo is done is ok, however yellow, brown or green tinted discharge is not.
- tenderness and pain: Your new ink will be a tad sore, it’s a flesh wound after all. That’s quite normal. If you start to feel deep pain or intense sunburn like surface pain that stings beyond your comfort level, go to the doctor.
- red streaks: A minor redness for a short period is normal. However, red streaks can indicate an infection that’s spreading around.