The first morning after your tattoo, you will want to remove the bandage and wash the tattoo thoroughly. You do not want to use any scented soap. Use a simple antibacterial soap and make sure you really rub it in. Rinse the tattoo completely and leave the tattoo uncovered. This will let air in and the healing process will happen more quickly. You will want to wash your tattoo out every morning and every night to keep it clean. If you can manage to wash it in the middle of the day, that’s even better. You want to keep it as clean as possible in order to avoid infection.
Apply, apply, apply. Using lotion on your tattoo cannot be stressed enough. You want to apply a liberal amount of lotion to your tattoo after each wash and every time you can during the day. Tattoos dry out fast and they will peel no matter how much lotion you use. The more lotion you use, the less likely your tattoo will form scabs. With proper lotion use, your tattoo will simply peel a light layer of skin and that is it. After it peels, your tattoo cleaning is complete. You will still want to wash it in the shower or bath, but you don’t need to wash it as much. Still apply lotion as often as you can to keep your skin continuously moisturized. You don’t want to be showing off your tattoo with dry, chapped skin.
After your tattoo has completely healed, you will need to apply a good sunscreen to the tattoo every day. UV rays tend to make colors in your tattoo to darken after lengthy sun exposure. If you go tanning at a salon, you should cover your tattoo up completely with a towel if you can. You paid a lot of money for your tattoo, you don’t want it to fade or change color during an afternoon in the sun or with a few minutes in the tanning bed.
After your tattoo has healed, you may notice that some lines aren’t as dark or some colors have faded. This is completely normal. It simply means that during the tattoo process, the artist couldn’t see through the blood to make some portions of the tattoo as dark as others. Call and make an appointment with your artist to have your tattoo touched up. Touch ups are usually free, but double-check with your tattoo artist before going in.