When you leave the shop your tattoo will be bandaged. Leave the bandage on for about an hour. This is just to stop the initial bleeding and prevent contamination.
When you get home, remove the bandage and immediately wash your hands with an unscented, antibacterial soap like liquid gold dial or its generic equivalent. Using clean hands (no washcloths) gently wash the tattoo with the same unscented antibacterial soap and rinse with warm water. The warmer the water, the easier it will be to remove the dried blood and plasma.
After cleaning your tattoo, gently pat it dry with clean paper towels, do NOT wipe it. When it’s dry you can use a small amount of antibiotic ointment, such as Aquaphor or A+D. Using too much ointment will interfere with the healing process, so if your tattoo is still shiny after five minutes, you have used too much. Wash it off and reapply using a smaller amount.
You will need to repeat this process three to four times a day for the first few days. After that, you can switch to an unscented white hand lotion. Brands like Lubriderm, Aveeno, Cetaphil, Eucerin are all great; even Palmer’s Cocoa Butter works well. Lotion should be applied using clean hands whenever your tattoo feels dry.
For the first three to four weeks you will have to avoid the sun, the beach and pools. Submerging your tattoo in water or exposing it to the sun will destroy it. That being said, you can still take showers, just no baths. During the healing process, it may itch from time to time, do NOT scratch or pick at it. You can try patting your tattoo with your hand to alleviate the itching. Allow any scabs to fall off on their own; you don’t need to help things along by picking or pulling at them.
A tattoo heals much like a sunburn, so try to wear loose fitting clothing while it’s healing. Anything rubbing against it will irritate it resulting in longer healing time. If you have pets, their hair has a tendency to get stuck in fresh tattoos while lying in bed so covering it with a non stick pad/bandage while you sleep will help.