Your bandage is covering your tattoo in order to keep airborne bacteria from infecting your tattoo, which should be treated as an open wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection so leave your bandage on until you are somewhere clean and it is safe to wash your new tattoo.
WASH & TREAT
Once you remove your bandage in a clean location, wash your tattoo with antibacterial soap in your hand (don’t use a washcloth or anything abrasive) and warm water. If the bandage is stuck to your tattoo DO NOT rip it off, put it under warm water and let the water gently peel it off. Warm water will open up the pores of your skin and allow for a cleaner tattoo. Wash the tattoo until all the ointment and plasma are removed, don’t be afraid to rub it with your finger tips which will reduce the risk of scabbing and therefore a faster healing process. After washing the tattoo, run cool water over the tattoo (which will close your pores) and pat it dry with a clean paper towel and air dry. Wash tattoo 2-3 times daily followed by a VERY thin coat of Aquaphor. It is suggested that a cold press is used the following day after tattoo is completed.
After air drying for 2-3 minutes, apply a very small amount of Aquaphor to the tattoo and massage into skin until there is no shine. For the first three days always wash your tattoo before applying Aquaphor (you want a clean surface to apply Aquaphor instead of applying over old ointment). After three full days you may switch to a fragrance-free lotion such as Aveeno as needed.
SHOWERING & BATHING
Do not soak the tattoo in any body of water (i.e. bath, pool, hot tub, sauna, Jacuzzi, etc.). It is very important not to go swimming in any body of water for two to three weeks. Showering is fine as long as the tattoo is not directly in the water stream.
SCABBING & PEELING
After a few days you may notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. Excessive scabbing indicates a poorly cared for tattoo, but a little can be normal and is no need to panic. You may also start to itch (just like a sunburn when it begins to heal, DO NOT SCRATCH or PICK at it!), instead, lightly slap it and apply lotion.
PROTECTION FROM THE SUN
Even after your tattoo is fully healed, you will always want to protect it from the sun’s ultraviolet rays, which can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very quickly. Before spending a lot of time in the sun, protect your tattoo with a minimum of SPF 30 sunblock. Sunblock as well as a daily application of lotion will keep your blacks darker and the colors brighter protecting your tattoo for many years.
SIGNS OF INFECTIONS
If you have excessive redness or swelling, excessive heat radiating from the skin, rash, or pus from the area consult a physician immediately.