It is imperative that you follow aftercare instructions to help prevent infection (which can be serious in rare cases), scaring, fading, or improper healing of the tattoo.
For the first 2 weeks your tattoo is an open wound and should be treated with diligent care.
Leave your Tegaderm bandage on for 2-4 days. You can shower with the bandage. Keep direct water pressure away from the tattoo. It is normal for the edges of the bandage to curl up, if this happens you can carefully snip off the extra with clean scissors. If your tattoo becomes exposed or if you have irritation from the tegaderm, remove the bandage and follow step 2 instructions.
WHAT TO AVOID:
While wearing the tegaderm avoid activities that will cause excessive sweating (hot yoga, gyms, long hikes, etc). Avoid repetitive movements as this may cause the bandage to come loose prematurely. DO NOT soak it in any liquid (bath, swimming, hot tub, etc). Avoid ALL sun exposure by having clothes/fabric cover the area if outside.
WHAT IS NORMAL?
Seeing liquid accumulate under your Tegaderm bandage is normal and expected. This is your own plasma and extra ink seeping out, your body is working hard to heal.
WHAT IS TEGADERM?
A thin, clear dressing that keeps out water, dirt and germs, yet lets the skin breathe. It is designed to be applied directly over clean skin or wounds and should be kept on for 2-4 days. If irritation occurs take the Tegaderm off immediately. It is not saran wrap.
REMOVAL OF BANDAGE:
In the shower with clean hands, face the tattoo away from all water pressure and peel the bandage with the hair grain, peel back close along the skin. See picture at bottom. DO NOT pull it off fast like you would a band-aid. This is painful and may damage your new tattoo. Instead, peel the bandage low and slow.
Once removed, wash gently with unscented mild soap, like Cerave, or unscented Dr Bronners. Make sure soap is diluted with water. When you’re done washing, splash the soap off avoiding direct water pressure.
After washing, let air dry or pat with a clean paper towel. DO NOT use a bath towel as they harbor bacteria.
After drying, apply a thin layer of unscented mild moisturizer to the tattoo, such as Aquaphor, shea butter, or Cetaphil.
Wash and moisturize your tattoo once a day for 2 weeks after the bandage is removed. ALWAYS wash your hands before washing or moisturizing your tattoo. When applying moisturizer make sure it's in a thin layer so the skin can still breathe.
WHAT TO EXPECT:
Scabbing is a normal part of wound healing and scratching or peeling a scab off will permanently damage your tattoo or cause infection. DO NOT scratch or pick your tattoo.
FOR THE FIRST TWO WEEKS:
DO NOT soak your tattoo in any water, or scratch/pick at your tattoo.
AVOID direct water pressure on the tattoo, ALL sun exposure, gyms (they harbor bacteria), excessive sweating, and long hikes/backpacking/camping.
After two weeks use sunscreen on your tattoo daily.
Not doing so will cause tattoo ink to break down. White blood cells then carry the ink away as if it were an infection or other foreign particle. The leftover ink is usually spread out and splotchy, blurring the lines of the tattoo.
REMOVAL OF TEGADERM - from 3M: