There are a number of things you should do to take care of your tattoo, both right after it was created and in the long term to protect both your skin and your new art.
Right After Creation
I will put ointment and plastic wrap or a bandage on your tattoo before you leave. I know you want to show it off as soon as possible but please keep the covering in place for at least two to three hours to protect it from immediate infection by airborne bacteria,
After you take the bandage off, wash it gently with warm water and gentle anti-bacterial soap. Take a quick shower if you want Pat it dry, DO NOT RUB IT OR SOAK IT!
It will take 2-3 weeks before your tattoo is completely healed, possibly slightly longer for hands and feet.. You may see some minor scabbing, peeling skin and some redness for a day or two. This is normal. But if you see signs of infection like extreme redness. blisters, substantial pain, seek immediate medical care.
During the healing period, it is okay to get your tattoo wet in the shower but avoid baths, swimming, hot tubs or anything that will soak the skin. This could seriously damage the tattoo.
Frequently apply a gentle healing ointment like Aquaphor or A & D. Do not use Neosporin or similar harsher anti-bacterials. Keep the area clean and dry while it is healing.
Do not rub, pick at or scratch the tattoo while it is healing.
Long Term Care
Direct sunlight can fade your tattoo. If you’re going to be outside, use a high-SPF sunscreen to protect your tattoo.
Friction will also damage or destroy your tattoo over time. Avoid anything that might rub the skin constantly. This is particularly a problem with foot and hand tattoos.