If using a clear film style bandage (Saniderm, etc), leave the bandage on for 1-3 days. 3 days is optimal as this will help protect the tattoo while in its crucial healing stage.
Some build up of fluid (blood, plasma, and excess ink) may occur under the bandage. This is completely normal, your body will use this to help keep the tattoo from drying out.
After 3 days, gently remove the bandage in the shower. The heat of the water can sometimes help to loosen the bandage making it easier to remove.
Wash the tattoo with warm water and antibacterial soap. Only use your hands while cleaning the tattoo for the first two weeks (no washcloth or anything abrasive)
Rinse the tattoo well before leaving the shower. (The first shower with the bandage removed, I recommend rinsing the tattoo with a hot shower for about 20-30 seconds. This will help flush out any excess plasma, blood or excess ink that might still be in your pores)
For the first two weeks, gently dry the tattoo with a fresh/clean towel (paper towel, etc)
Go about your normal after shower routine, letting the tattoo air dry for a few minutes, before applying lotion.
Apply a thin layer of fragrance free lotion (Aveeno, Lubriderm, etc.) 3-4 times a day as needed. DO NOT let the tattoo dry out.
For the first two weeks, NO Swimming, No Soaking, No Pool, No Bath Tub, No Hot Tub, No Submerging it in water.
No Tanning. Keep your tattoo out of the sun!
After two weeks, you can start using a sunscreen of SPF 50 or higher.
DO NOT pick or scratch at your tattoo. This can cause permanent damage to the tattoo. Sometimes a tattoo will peel like a sunburn, this can be a normal part of the healing process. Most of the peeling will fall off in the shower, while being gently washed.
If your tattoo itches, it’s generally drying out. Apply some extra lotion. If this doesn’t curb the itching, you can also try taking an antihistamine (allergy medicine) orally only, not a topical.