Your new tattoo will have a light coating of petroleum jelly on it and may be temporarily bandaged to keep it from bleeding or oozing onto you, your clothes, your car, or people. It will also help to seal the tattoo and keep it clean until you can remove the bandage. You can remove the bandage at any time, as long as you have access to clean water and tissues or paper towels or a shower or some other way to wash it, as it will be messy when the bandage is removed. The bandage should immediately be disposed of in an appropriate way, as it is contaminated with your blood. It is recommended that ice be put on a fresh large tattoo to keep the swelling down.
You can wash the tattoo with soap and water as often as you want. You do not have to treat the tattoo with ointment. It will heal. Ointment does not make a difference in the long term color or quality of a tattoo. People like to use ointment so that the tattoo heals softly and smoothly instead of like a scab, which can be crunchy and unsightly for a week or two. People also want to use ointment to make them feel more comfortable during the healing process. The only ointment that we have found to be fairly safe to use is Ink Fixx, and even some people will get a problematic "classic ointment reaction" to it, but it is extrememly rare. We usually carry the Ink Fixx. Hand or skin lotions are ok to use after the skin has sealed over. They are not good to use while the skin is still open because they sting and cause trauma.
Ointments often cause problems. We strongly recommend that you DO NOT use greasy ointments that contain Petroleum Jelly, or preparations such as A&D ointment, Aquaphor, Triple Antibiotic ointment, Neosporin, other kinds of antibiotic ointments or Tattoo Goo. If you use these ointments and develop a rash or a problem with your tattoo-- you do it at your own risk and against our recommendation.
Antibiotics and antibiotic ointments are used to treat an active infection. Tattoos that become infected are very rare, but do happen occasionally. The infections are not from our needles, they tend to come from bacteria that is picked up on the skin after the tattoo is applied. NJ law requires us to describe the signs and symptoms of an infection, therefore: The signs or symptoms of an infection may include excessive soreness, abnormal swelling, redness or heat, accompanied by pus or a foul smelling odor coming from a wound. A red line under the skin that appears to travel from the tattoo needs immediate medical treatment.
You can go swimming in a pool or in the ocean. Swimming or bathing does not hurt the tattoo. Sunburn or contaminated water , or super bleached water (like in a public hot tub) may hurt the tattoo. Tanning will not be good on the site of the tattoo during the healing phase, and we suggest suntan lotion over bright tattoos to preserve their color. Going to the gym is OK, but protect your tattoo from the gym equipment and germs.
Problem areas of the body (for healing) are where it creases or bends or rubs on itself or on clothes ( like a bra-strap or belt). The inside top of the lower fore-arm can be aggravated by pressing against the biceps while sleeping. The backs of the forearms can pick up a lot of germs by clients that work or spend a lot of time leaning across a counter. Efforts should be made to prevent the tattoo from being aggravated.
If you think you are having a problem, feel free to call us or come in to show us. If it is a serious problem, we recommend that you see a doctor. If you do not have a doctor and would like to be referred to a doctor that will see you, please let us know and we will try to make arrangements for you to see a doctor at your own expense.