A tattoo normally takes 7 - 10 days to heal.
A tattoo is an "open wound" and is subject to the possibility of infection. With good hygiene, there is no danger of a serious infection.
Your tattoo artist may wrap the area in plastic wrap. A gauze bandage could stick to your tattoo. The bandage is placed there while your tattoo oozes. It is also there to keep air-borne bacteria and other contaminants from invading your wound.
Do not leave your bandage on for more than 6 hours. Your tattoo needs to be exposed to air for it to heal properly.
When showering, do not let the full force of the water hit your new tattoo. Instead, let the water run gently over the area to wash it. Do not take hot showers. Hot water opens our skin's pores and draw out impurities, and tattoo ink.
Wear loose fitting clothing that will not rub against your tattoo while it is healing. Anything that rubs or irritates your new tattoo will cause scarring. Do not wear anything tight on your new tattood area. It could stick to your tattoo or cause loss of color by perspiring.
Moisturize your new tattoo lightly with a light, water-based cream or lotion. Do not use an oily, petroleum-based product or too much product on the area. This will slow down the healing process by clogging your skin's pores and preventing your skin from "breathing". It will also lead to heavy scabbing and loss of color. Do not use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on your tattoo.
After a few days your tattoo will start to itch and form an onion-like layer of skin. Do not scratch, rub or pick as this can cause light spots in your tattoo. It is normal for flakes of skin to slough-off while washing and applying lotion. This will continue for about a week. These flakes may look white or be the colors of your tattoo.
Keep your new tattoo clean. Remember, it is an open wound until a skin barrier is formed. Don't touch your tattoo with unclean hands. Be careful that your new tattoo does not touch anything that could lead to infection.
Your tattoo will "bleed" ink during the first few days of healing. When sleeping, you may want to protect your sheets from any draining fluid.
Too much exposure to UV lighting, such as sunlight or tanning beds, can slowly fade a healed tattoo. Your healed tattoo should be protected with a water-resistant sunscreen of 30 SPF or higher and protects against UVA and UVB rays.