Redness and swelling dissipates within two to three weeks of getting a tattoo. Placing an ice pack on the area helps reduce inflammation, but it should not make direct contact with skin, as this can cause tissue damage. Specific care instructions are generally given by the tattoo artist, and they should be closely followed.
If a bandage has been applied to the tattoo by the artist, it should be left in place for several hours. The bandage should be changed once a day. Allow the tattoo to be exposed to air between changes. Application of an antibiotic ointment to the bandage prior to placement onto the tattoo helps prevent infection. If the bandage sticks to the tattoo during removal, run it under warm water until it comes off easily. Avoid using abrasive materials while cleaning a new tattoo, as this could disturb the healing process and potentially cause blank areas if scabs have to be removed.
The tattooed area should be washed with mild antibacterial, soap. Soap with as few synthetic elements as possible and a low alcohol content should be used. Avoid sun exposure to maintain skin health until the tattoo is healed. Complete healing of the tattoo can take up to two months, depending on skin health and the location of the tattoo.