The average initial healing time can take between four and six weeks depending on proper aftercare. During the healing process, it is normal to have some discomfort, flaking and itchiness. Please do not pick! You will know your tattoo is healed when it has lost its glossy sheen. Avoid exposure to sun, open bodies of water, and bathtubs while healing.
While your tattoo is healing, it is very important that your practice proper hygiene in order to avoid potential infection. Don’t touch your tattoo if you can avoid it, and definitely don’t let anyone else. Doing so can cause infection and poor healing and/or color retention.
It’s normal for your newly tattooed skin to have a deep red color around the tattoo, to feel warm, or even feverish for the first day or so. Gently wash your tattoo by hand with unscented soap and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Do not rub the paper towel across the surface of the tattoo and be sure to thoroughly wash your hands beforehand. Avoid soaking your tattoo in a hot bath during the healing period, as it will leave you susceptible to potential bacterial infection and poor color retention.
Your new tattoo will be very sensitive for several days, which is completely normal. Try to refrain from exercise and other activities that cause excessive sweating while it is healing. You’ll need to moisturize regularly, keeping the skin moist and preventing excessive flaking and allowing the skin to heal with minimal friction.
Avoid scratching or picking at the dry, flaky skin that forms on your tattoo. This will cause a loss of color in some areas. Continue to moisturize the tattoo until this flaky skin falls off naturally. If your tattoo itches during the healing period, gently slap the surface of your skin. The slap will aid in relieving the itching without scratching and potentially damaging your new tattoo.
You should avoid exposing your tattoo directly to the sun, tanning beds, saunas, and public swimming facilities. Prolonged exposure to the sun (even after healing) will drastically damage your tattoo. If you must be in the sun, cover your tattoo completely or apply liberal amounts of waterproof sun block consistently though out the day. Your tattoo will look only as good as you care for it. Continue to use a good quality skin moisturizer on your tattooed skin and the colors will remain vibrant and beautiful.