This is aftercare for Tattoos. For Piercing after care, click on the heart to your left. MOST tattoos usually take about one week to ten days to heal. There really isn't much that one has to do to the tattoo while it's healing except a little common sense. With a little care during this time your tattoo will heal bright and attractive. Different artists recommend different ways of healing the tattoo. Some artists recommend that you leave the bandage on for a couple of hours, others recommend longer. Personally, I recommend leaving the bandage on for about two hours... The reason for this is the fresh tattoo will bleed for a few minutes to an hour or so after the tattoo is complete. Then it will leak a bit of clear fluid called plasma. This is the way the body takes care of itself. If you leave the bandage on while this fluid leaks from the tattoo, it will be absorbed into the bandage and lessen any crust that will form on the skin. With clean hands, remove the bandage; wash the tattoo well with a mild soap and water. DO NOT RE-BANDAGE!!!!! KEEP THE NEW TATTOO CLEAN. You should apply a lotion to the tattoo several times a day while the tattoo is healing. Here too different artists recommend different lotions. I recommend a light creamy type of hand lotion. Lotions that dose not have a lot of grease in it. Oil tends to block the pores of the skin and prolongs the healing. The tattoo should be able to breathe. DO NOT APPLY A LOT OF LOTION TO THE TATTOO. This is a common mistake that a lot of people make. You should only put a minimal amount on to the tattoo. You should be able to gently rub the lotion in until it disappears. You do not want to see it linger on the skin. This excess lotion will also clog the pores and attract dirt and lint. You may even break out in a rash from excessive use. This doesn't mean that you should limit the amount of times you apply the lotion, just the amount you put on. If you do have a reaction to the lotion (it will usually come in the form of tiny little red bumps in and around the tattoo) quit using any thing on the tattoo and see how it reacts for the next couple of days. If the rash goes away, then the healing process will probably be just about over and you probably need do nothing more to the tattoo except applying a good sun block to it whenever you go out in the sun. This will help prolong the colors. The sun is what fades a tattoo quickest. If after a few days of putting nothing on the tattoo and the rash gets worse, you should return to the tattoo studio and have them take a look at it and advise you what to do next. There is always someone who is allergic to something. Some people, as I said, have reactions with the lotion, others have reactions with the ink. This is a very rare occurrence and really should not cause you to not get a tattoo because of it. There is no way to tell if you would be allergic to the color. It just happens. Usually if you have a reaction to the ink it is brought on by several things. The sun can stimulate the ink and cause the pigment to itch slightly. Or, you could be going through some stressful times. I have known reactions to occur from citric acid (consuming orange or pineapple juice). The human body has some strange reactions to different stimulants. If you have a reaction to the pigment like this, see the artist before you go see a doctor. You might need only change your diet slightly or take an antihistamine (an over the counter medication).Usually if you put a high number sun block on it or reduce your intake of juices, the symptoms will recede. As I said and I didn't mean to scare you, this is very rare. You should also not pick at any light crust that does form on the tattoo. You could scar the tattoo. The healing process is fairly simple and if you did nothing to the tattoo at all while it was healing, it would still probably heal up just fine in a longer period of time. Remember, the time you take to heal a tattoo is nothing compared to the rest of your life. The tattoo is going to be with you forever so making the effort to heal it properly. But! It's not open-heart surgery either; you don't have to kill it with kindness. You can still do all the things you normally could do before the tattoo. You can have sex, work, and work out a gym, take a steam, etc. Make sure what ever comes in contact with a fresh tattoo is clean. Make sure your clothes and bed linen is clean. Make sure that when you are in a public area like a gym, you limit the contact of a fresh tattoo and the benches or towels. There are a lot of germs out there. Just be careful not to be too abrasive to the area. Shower, not bathe if you can. You do not want to soak the tattoo. When you shower, don't let the force of the shower spray directly on the tattoo. You can get it wet and wash it with a mild soap, but do not use a wash cloth. When you are through showering, pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel. Do not swim for about two weeks after you've received the tattoo. I hope this answers some of your questions regarding the healing process of a tattoo. Should you have any other questions, you can e-mail me, dale @chicagotattoo.com, or click on 'contact' on the home page. Thanks for stopping by.