Tattoos are incredibly popular and many people enjoy having artwork created on their body. Getting a tattoo is an investment, so you are sure to want to keep it looking great for many years to come. In addition to aesthetics, caring for a new tattoo is essential to avoid infections or other skin issues. If you plan on getting your first tattoo in the near future, use the following tips to care for it after it is completed:

Always Follow Your Tattoo Artist's Instructions

An experienced tattoo artist will have a deep understanding of the steps to take after you get a tattoo. Most tattoo artists provide their customers with a printed sheet of instructions; make sure that you read the instructions before leaving the tattoo shop and ask questions if any of the directions seem confusing or are unclear. Hold on to the printed after care directions so you can consult them as needed.

Wash the Tattoo Several Hours Later

When your tattoo artist completes your tattoo, he or she will cover it with gauze or plastic film. It is very important to leave this covering on for several hours after you leave the shop. After several hours, you will need to remove the covering so you can very gently wash the area that was tattooed with lukewarm water and a very mild body soap.

Keep the Tattoo Moisturized

After you wash and dry your new tattoo, apply a thin layer of unscented moisturizer to the area and recover will a clean gauze pad or plastic film. Keeping your tattoo moisturized is important for helping the skin heal. For the first few days after getting a tattoo, you will need to wash the area and apply moisturizer several times a day.

Make Sure that the Tattoo Stays Dry

For the first few weeks after getting a tattoo, you should try to keep it as dry as possible. Avoid baths and swimming. It is fine for your tattoo to get wet during a shower, but you should carefully dry the area promptly as soon as you get out. 

Stay Out of the Sun

As your skin is healing after a tattoo, it is best to avoid exposing the area to direct sunlight. If you will be outside for an extended period of time, make sure that your tattoo is covered up. Even after your tattoo is healed, you will need to use a sunscreen with a very high SPF on your tattoo to prevent it from fading.