Aftercare is just as important as the tattoo application itself. It is there forever, take care of it.
Over the years, I've narrowed my aftercare down to what works best for how I tattoo. Any failure to follow my directions will result in consequences that could impact the longevity of your tattoo.
Wash 2 times a day with as warm of water as you can stand. No more, no less. Use a mild, unscented soap, and massage under warm water until it doesn't feel slimy anymore.
as a general rule of thumb, if the water temperature isn't burning the rest of your body, it will be okay.
Pat dry with a clean paper towel, and let air dry for 10-15 minutes.
Apply a small dab of Aquaphor, and gently massage into your skin. Dab off excess for the first few days. It should appear as though there is nothing on your tattoo after massaging it into your skin, and dabbing off. Using TOO MUCH for the first few days will create issues with healing.
After a few days, your tattoo should start to dry out a little, and will want to start flaking/peeling like a sunburn. At this time, you can start using a little more Aquaphor, and don't need to dab it off. Use your brain, don't get crazy with it.
Once your tattoo has completely peeled, feel free to switch to an unscented lotion and lotion as often as necessary. Any time your tattoo feels itchy, looks dry, or has a shine, slap some lotion on there. The quicker we get your tattooed skin to go back to normal consistency, the better.
AVOID PICKING AND SCRATCHING YOUR TATTOO! You will damage the skin, and create scar tissue, and potentially remove pigment from your tattoo.
Some people have sensitive skin, and we will address those issues in person, and manipulate aftercare as necessary.
DONT USE A&D or Neosporin.
Aquaphor is the only recommended aftercare product. A&D contains no helpful agents for tattoos and can only encourage bacterial infection when combined with the heat of the skin. It is great for other purposes, but not tattoo aftercare. Neosporin contains an agent that is actually meant to extract foreign particles, aka tattoo pigment, from the skin, resulting in faded looking tattoos. Most other tattoo specific healing products usually are combinations of beeswax, fragrance, snake oil elixir, and random vitamins that truly do nothing but take your money and possibly cause problems for your tattoo.
No direct sunlight.
Not hot tubs, bath tubs, swimming pools, oceans, or ponds. Bodies of water can harbor bacteria and cause skin infections in open wounds such as a tattoo.
I guarantee everything I do, assuming you take care of your tattoo as directed. If you do not, I will know, and your touch up will be at your expense.
After your tattoo is completely healed, use a sunblock of an SPF 40 or higher to insure the brightness of the tattoo. Like any pigment, tattoo or otherwise, sun can drastically damage and change the appearance of your tattoo.