If you go to a reputable, experienced tattoo artist, you can eliminate a lot of hassle. The reason that tattoos require healing time is that getting a tattoo is a trauma to the skin, believe it or not. The best tattoo artists will be able to get you inked with the least amount of trauma so your skin will heal faster with fewer complications.
Leave the bandage on for at least 45 minutes after getting your tattoo. A new tattoo is essentially a wound that permits bacteria to get through the first line of defense that your body has, your skin. This makes new tattoos susceptible to becoming infected, causing patchiness in a healing tattoo. Keeping your bandages on for up to one hour will allow time for your skin to begin to heal and reduce your risk of infection. It'll be worth the wait.
Soak the bandage with warm water when removing it. This will eliminate pulling off skin that might have stuck to the bandage while wet. Never just yank off the bandage. This is not the time to prove how tough you are. This step can be skipped if your tattoo was bandaged with cellophane wrap. Cellophane traps in bacteria, and seals the tattoo off from air. A regular bandage or a plastic/gauze pad is better for your tattoo.
Clean off the gunk from the new tattoo after the bandage is removed. Wash it lightly with warm water and antimicrobial soap or soap made especially for tattoo healing. Never use bar soap, it will dry out the area. Lather up some soap on your hands and gently wash the tattoo and then rinse off. Pat dry with a clean (yes it needs to be clean, do laundry if you must) towel.
Apply a thin layer of moisturizing lotion, or products made for tattoo healing on your tattoo. Most lotions are acceptable so long as they are non-fragrance and non-colored, as fragrance and color can irritate the tattoo. Use whatever your artist recommends, because they can refuse touchups if you don't follow their aftercare.
Continue to apply the lotion or salve in thin layers every two hours or so until your tattoo has completely healed. Enlist the help of a friend if it gets boring to do yourself. Tattoo healing normally takes about six days to two weeks. A tattoo will generally go through two peels before it is completely healed.
Clean piercing with a saline solution for five to ten minutes a day. We will provide you with a bottle of saline solution at the time of your visit.
Wash with fragrance-free liquid soap no more than one to two times a day. Rinse thoroughly. Dry with a clean, disposable cloth, preferably paper. Cotton cloths can get caught on jewelry and carry bacteria.
Wash hands thoroughly before touching or cleaning the piercing.