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So, went out and got a tattoo.
Now what?
You're achy, uncomfortable, perhaps a bit light-headed. These first few hours are very important to the livelyhood of your new, beautiful work of art.

First and foremost; no matter how much the temptation - DO NOT DRINK!. Alcohol and bleeding wounds do not go together all that well. Drinking in your state is risky to your life; due to the fact that you have lost blood, and therefore have less to dilute the tasty beverages.

Your new tattoo should have some gauze covering it. Make sure that gauze stays on for at least 2 hours after it has been put on. Right now it's a nasty mess, and it won't be much fun to look at; it's all red and swollen, and won't look like the finished product.

Once the 2 hours have elapsed carefully remove the gauze. Let the tattoo breathe for just a little while. Get some warm water and a clean cotton towel. Lightly wash the tattoo; take care not to scrape it; you just want to get a bit of the gunk off of it. Some people use a bit of non-acidic soap to help wash it off.

Let your tattoo air dry for about fifteen minutes, and get some saran wrap. Wrap your tattoo securely (around your entire arm, waist, or where ever your tattoo is). If it's still early in the day, leave it on until you go to bed. Before you go to bed, take it off, and swap it for a new layer of saran wrap.

When you wake up in the morning, don't expect to tear off your saran wrap and see something wonderful. Most likely you'll be a little shocked. What looked like something close to your tattoo is now a big blur. This is the natural healing process in effect; your tattoo is scabbing over. Replace the saran wrap and take a shower.

For the next few days, try to keep your tattoo dry and clean. This will allow the ink to set under your skin. It is imperative that you DO NOT do the following things:

  • swim: chlorine will hurt the ink as it tries to set. Not only that, but it'll hurt like a bitch.
  • sunbath: In fact, keep your tattoo out of the sun as much as possible - the less it sees, the brighter it stays.
  • pick: DO NOT PICK YOUR SCABS! Your mother's advice holds especially true here. If you pick the scabs over your tattoo, there is a high likelyhood that you'll develop holidays, little white spots where the ink that was just beginning to congeal, was pulled out by your prying fingernails.

Your tattoo will itch like crazy as it heals. Your body treats it exactly the same as a scrape; it needs to scab over, and the scab will come off when it's good and ready.

You can alleviate some of the itching by buying a bottle of non-allergenic skin lotion. My personal favorite is Lubriderm. You may as well buy a large bottle of it, because chances are that you'll get another! (Especially if you care for this one well... All the compliments will go to your head).

After about three weeks, your tattoo should be in pristine showroom condition.


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