The Care + Feeding of your new Tattoo
Here are some things to do before you come in for your tattoo:
Keep your consumption of alcohol the night before to a minimum and get a good, full night's sleep. Stop drinking coffee/caffeine six hours before your session--because it is a stimulant and can make you bleed more-- this also includes energy drinks. Make sure you have eaten something substantial one to two hours ahead-- seriously, please eat. Starving yourself will make getting inked harder for you. Drink water and feel free to bring some snacks with you if you know that you're going to have a long session. Bring a liquid electrolyte replacement-- a lot of people don't like Gatorade but there are many others on the market now. You may also bring your own pillow, blanket, or device, to keep you comfortable. It's fine to listen to your own music, podcasts, etc. during your sessions. Sometimes it's nice to have a friend with you; but my studio is pretty small, so please bring only one person with you.
Do NOT exercise beforehand the day you get your tattoo, or even the day before, if your workout is a strenuous one. Plan on not exercising after you get your tat for the rest of that day/evening; you need all of your endorphin reserves to receive a tattoo and will probably be pretty tapped out after receiving it. (You may go workout/ride your bike/play basketball, etc. the next day but be careful not to get dirt or sweat in your new tattoo.) Wear loose and comfortable clothing to your sessions because we may have to move it around to reach the area where you want to be tattooed. If you're female and you have very difficult, painful periods, don't schedule a session for the first day of your period-- a week afterwards is usually better. Your endorphin and hormone levels will be more even then and the tattooing process will not be as painful.
If you have or are coming down with or are just getting over a cold or flu, PLEASE RESCHEDULE-- never come in when you are sick or injured! Your immune system is already fighting to get rid of your illness or heal your injury and you may not have enough endorphins to get through your tattooing session. Also, the other people who might be in the studio don't want to be exposed to whatever it is that you have if you're sick.
Please be ON TIME for your all of your appointments; this includes your consultation. (I can't believe I have to say this, but apparently I do!) If you're late, it may affect the other appointments I have scheduled after yours. My hours are by appointment, so I come into the shop FOR YOU. If you can't make it to your appointment, please call me at 503 807-7863 and let me know ASAP. When you cancel at the last minute, not only is it irresponsible, inconsiderate and wastes my time, but it also means that I can't get another client in to take your appointment, which affects my other clients, as well. If you make an appointment and then don't even show up, not only is it super rude, but then I wonder where you are and what happened to you.
Please give me at least 24 HOURS NOTICE if you have to cancel your appointment!
I repeat: Please give me at least 24 HOURS NOTICE if you have to cancel your appointment!
Do these things after you receive your tattoo:
After you're done with your session, please just take it easy-- go have some food, drink some liquids and relax, chill put on the couch. Do nothing strenuous for the rest of the day/evening, to help your body replenish itself. Don't work out or get your brand new tattoo sweaty or dirty; certainly I do not want you to mow the yard or work in the garden or go "shoot some hoops" or go hiking! This goes for the next few days.
Right after your inking sessions, keep your bandage on for at least 3 hours. Then take it off; you won't need to put another bandage on your new tat. Wash your hands and wash your tattoo thoroughly with lukewarm water and mild soap-- something without perfumes or dyes. Liquid soap is best; bar soaps tend to sit in sinks collecting germs. Dr. Bronner's unscented liquid soap (not the Peppermint!) is good. If you can't find that, Dial's Antibacterial liquid soap is OK. DO NOT use a wash cloth on your new tattoo or scrub it in any way!
Gently pat your tattoo dry with a clean towel, then apply a thin layer of A & D ointment to your new tattoo. Do this process of lightly washing, toweling dry and then applying ointment at least three times a day. If your skin is generally dry, you should apply A&D more often. Continue this process for 4-10 days, depending on how fast you heal. For those of you who are allergic to or don't want to use petroleum products, you can use coconut oil for your healing, but be aware that you'll have to use much more of it and apply WAY more often, than if you were using ointment, which protects the skin better.
After about 4-10 days, apply unscented, non-perfumed skin lotion, instead of the A & D ointment, as needed. I recommend Curel or Cetaphil-- a lotion without too much alcohol is best, because alcohol will dry the skin out too fast. (Do NOT use regular Lubriderm lotion.) You want to keep your new tattoo clean, moist and protected, so use a lotion with lots of moisture. If you have to use perfumes or body sprays, don't put them on your new tattoo-- wait for two months before you use them on your new tat.
Always make sure your hands are clean before touching your new tattoo. Don't let anyone else touch it unless their hands are clean, ESPECIALLY children or pets. Your tattoo may itch and peel; if this happens, take some ointment/oil and rub it in with the flat of your fingers. Never scratch or pick at your tattoo!
Do not soak your new tattoo (in lakes, rivers, oceans, hot tubs, pools, baths-- NO CHLORINE) for 3 weeks. Brief showers are fine.
Keep your tattoo out of direct sunlight and the tanning booth for 1 month. Direct sunlight and tanning will fade any tattoo over time, so use sunscreen on your healed tattoo every time you're in the sun or keep your tattoo covered.
If your tattoo somehow gets infected, you can use a tiny bit of Neosporin on it to remove infection. But I do not recommend it for general healing, as it is for wounds, not abrasions like tattoos and may cause you to scar. (If you disregard my instructions, get your new ink infected and wind up in the hospital, that is on you.)
Remember, your tattoo has been applied for you in a clean and professional manner. But for it to heal down correctly and look good, proper aftercare is crucial.