How to Care for New Tattoos

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To care for a new tattoo, keep it bandaged for one to three hours after leaving the tattoo shop, wash the tattoo gently with soap, and apply a lightweight hand lotion. Continue to lotion the tattoo for several weeks or until it heals with instructions from an experienced tattoo artist in this free video on tattoo care.

Part of the Video Series: Tattoo Artists & Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Lenny from Addicted 2 Tattoos, in Tampa, Florida. I'm going to talk to you today about taking care of a brand new tattoo. First, when you get a tattoo your artist should bandage this. Not with Glad Wrap or Saran Wrap. That's a bad idea. What you should have on there is like a paper towel, or another type of bandage that allows the skin to breathe some. Generally, your artist is going to tell you to leave that covering on that tattoo for an hour to three hours. When you get ready to take it off it's a good idea to wet the bandage down first. That helps you keep from pulling out fresh ink when you remove the bandage. The next step is wash your hands thoroughly, rinse your hands, then soap again and wash the tattoo gently using just your hand. Rinse it well, and pat dry with a clean paper towel or napkin. Don't use cloth towels because they harbor germs. Once you've got the tattoo washed and dried then you need to put something on it to help it heal. A lot of people will tell you that we like to use A&D lotion. We are kind of moving away from that though because A&D lotion contains petroleum. Petroleum, we find, does tend to cause the ink to come out of the skin. It causes the skin temperature to raise, it causes the ink to leach up to the surface of the skin and then leak out. So nowadays, most artists are going to tell you to use a lightweight hand lotion. If there's a type of hand lotion that you prefer because you've already used it continue using that on your fresh tattoo. If you put that hand lotion on the tattoo though and it burns, chances are you shouldn't use that particular brand. Some of the brands that we like here at my studio include Udderly Smooth which is a a hand lotion you can get at most drugstores and discount stores. We also sell products like Ink Fixx and Tat Wax. These are made with beeswax bases, and they're usually good for the first two or three days of the tattoo healing, but generally, not good to use for the entire two to three weeks that it takes to heal a tattoo. So, chances are, if you start out with a lightweight hand lotion that's really all you'd need to heal that tattoo all the way from the day you got the tattoo till' the day it's totally healed. In the process of healing you may see that tattoo scab a little bit. You do not want to pick at those scabs. You could pull the ink out of your tattoo if you do that. After the scabbing is fallen off you may see that tattoo flake like a sunburn a couple of times. Generally, it will flake in the color of the tattoo. That's normal. Don't get upset or worried; that is normal. After the flaking stop then you may see it have a shiny surface on it. That generally indicates that you're two to three days away from being totally healed. You should continue to use a lightweight hand lotion on that tattoo until you see the shininess of the tattoo go away entirely. I'm Lenny Welch. This is Addicted 2 Tattoos. Thank you.

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