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After receiving a new tattoo, your artist will apply an ointment, usually A&D, and wrap your tattoo in saran wrap or a medical bandage. This is to keep any foreign materials out of the tattoo. A new tattoo is a wound, an abrasion on the skin, and can be prone to infection proper tattoo care is not followed. So covering it for the first few hours is a normal procedure in most tattooing studios.
Remove the bandage from your new tattoo after at least 4 hours (but no more than 12). You should wait to remove the bandage until you can clean it with mild soap and warm water to remove any dried blood or ink that was left after that tattoo was finished. Do not soak the tattoo. Rinse it well, and pat it dry, then allow it to air-dry for 5-10 minutes before applying ointment. You should continue to wash your new tattoo at least 4 or 5 times a day for the first week.
Bacitracin regularly throughout the day, massaging a very small amount into the skin to keep the tattoo slightly moist, but not smothered blot off any excess. The healing tattoo should never stay submerged in water. This means that short showers are fine, but any kind of baths or swimming is not recommended. Do not re-bandage your tattoo after taking the original bandage off, the skin will need to breathe. Do not use any petroleum based products such as Vaseline - these will suck the ink out of your tattoo and cause it to fade. If you notice small itchy liquid filled bumps appearing after using a certain product, immediately discontinue use, wash the tattoo and let it dry out.
Proper tattoo care requires that you do not wear anything that will rub against your new tattoo. After receiving a foot tattoo make sure you do not wear socks, shoes, or nylons that will rub against it until it is fully healed. You need to plan ahead if your going to receive a foot tattoo on the sole because you should not walk on it until its healed. A foot tattoo may require a touch up, due to the rubbing abuse from walking and wearing shoes prematurely.
You should only apply ointment until your tattoo starts to peel (like a sunburn), which will be anywhere from 3 days to 1 week. When the peeling begins do not pick at it. When the tattoo has fully entered the peeling phase you should stop applying the ointment. The area will become dry and itchy, and a good lotion should help with this. Avoid creams and lotions that contain fragrances, artificial colors and other unnecessary ingredients that can irritate a healing tattoo. If you have applied proper tattoo care you should not develop scabs. If scabs develop, they can remove the color beneath them. It is very important that they are allowed to dry out completely. The scab will eventually fall off on its own. Never pick or pull the scab.
Your new tattoo is an open wound so refrain from actions such as swimming, tanning, removing the bandage early. Be sure to follow these proper tattoo care guidelines to ensure your foot tattoo heals properly. Your foot tattoo will be with you for a lifetime, and it only takes a week or two of your attention to keep it looking good forever.
Redness and sometimes bruising surrounding a new foot tattoo is normal for the first day or two, but if you notice any bumps or increasing redness please contact your local tattoo studio for more information.