The customer should remove the bandage in about two hours and rinse it in cold water to remove whatever blood there is and gently blot it dry. Two hours is about the average time it takes for blood to start clotting and scabbing. If it has not clotted by that time, the cold water will close up the pores in the skin and hold the rest of the ink in. It is the cleaning process while it is healing that makes a tattoo look nice and sharp. Tell them to rinse it off with their hands. A washcloth or towel could really feel rough and it might start it to bleed, which you do not want to happen. It should then be blotted dry with a clean paper towel. No wiping or scrubbing, just blotting. The towel should be a white one, unscented and have no designs on it. Some people are allergic to the scent and dye in the towels. They should use the smooth side of the paper towel to keep from irritating it as little as possible. Fresh tattoos are very sensitive. When it is rinsed off, apply a little Bacitracin to keep it from drying out too much. (If it is a black tattoo, a little rub of alcohol on it first, before the ointment, will keep it clean and sharp. Black tattoos heal faster than colored ones.) The ointment should then be blotted dry after a fifteen minute wait. Again, use the smooth side of a white unscented paper towel. The tattoo will absorb as much ointment as it needs in that amount of time. If they don’t blot it dry, the excess ointment will collect unwanted bacteria. Blotting up a tattoo means blotting it dry to the touch. If you feel your hand over it and it slides across, there is too much ointment on it. If it is rough or crusty, the ointment was not on long enough.
Don’t keep it covered with a bandage. A tattoo is on the skin and it must be exposed to air to breathe, which speeds up healing. The only exception is when straps or certain articles of clothing rub against it. Tight clothing should be avoided and clean loose fitting clothes should be worn until the tattoo heals.
The ointment and blotting treatments are to be applied four times a day. Make sure that this is understood. As a tattoo heals, it feels smooth and velvety. A tattoo has healed when a scab falls off by itself. A black tattoo heals in about four days and a colored one takes about a full week.
Water is the worst thing for a healing tattoo to be exposed to. When in the shower, the customer should cover it up with a good layer of ointment. This will act as a protective barrier. Don’t get water on it until the scab falls off. Try not to put it directly under the water and work around it. When a scab gets too soaked with water, it swells up and peels off too early, messing things up. Drill these procedures into the customer. It only takes a few days of good care and they will get a great looking tattoo, if done right. When not done right, it will look faded, weak and not very bright. It will be worth it to them to take good care of it, because they are going to have the tattoo for the rest of their life.