You may remove your bandage after 2-4 hours unless instructed otherwise
Once the bandage comes off, you’ll probably notice fluid oozing from the tattoo. This is blood, plasma (the clear part of blood), and some extra ink. It’s normal. Your skin will also be red and sore. It might feel slightly warm to the touch.
With clean hands, wash the tattoo with warm water and a fragrance-free soap. Leave the bandage off so the tattoo can heal.
Wait at least 24/48 hours before you start using a fragrance- and alcohol-free moisturizer.
Days 2 to 3
Your tattoo will have a duller, cloudy appearance by now, this happens as your skin heals.
Flakey scabs will start to form.
Wash your tattoo once or twice a day and apply a thin layer of fragrance- and alcohol-free moisturizer.
When you wash, you might notice some ink running into the sink. This is just excess ink that’s come up through your skin.
Days 4 to 6
The redness should start to fade. You’ll probably notice some light scabbing over the tattoo.
Keep washing your tattoo once or twice a day. Apply a thin layer of moisturizer as needed.
Days 6 to 14
The scabs have hardened (if any have formed) and will begin to flake off (this step should shed/peel or flake off similar to snake skin). Don’t pick at them or try to pull them off, let them come off naturally. Otherwise, you could pull out the ink and leave scars.
At this point your skin may feel very itchy. Gently rub on a moisturizer as needed to relieve the itch.
If your tattoo is still red and swollen at this point, you might have an infection. Go back to your artist or see a doctor.
Days 15 to 30
In this last stage of healing, most of the big flakes and shine should be going away.
You might still see some dead skin, but it should eventually clear up too. The tattooed area might still look dry and dull.
Keep moisturizing until the skin looks hydrated again.
By the second or third week, the outer layers of skin should have healed.
It may take three to four months for the lower layers to completely heal. By the end of your third month, the tattoo should look as bright and vivid as the artist intended.
A person can also help the healing process by:
Avoiding soaps and moisturizers with any fragrances or harsh chemicals. Even if a product does not normally irritate the skin, it may irritate the tattooed area.
Not picking at scabs, as this can cause scar tissue to form.
Not scratching the tattoo even if it becomes itchy.
Avoiding non-cosmetic grade petroleum moisturizers, which will clog the pores.
Not using sunscreen on the tattoo until it has fully healed.
Not swimming and bathing until the tattoo has healed.