My tattoo is now all healed up. Actually, it's been healed up for a while now - it took about a week. Before I even got my tattoo, when telling people that I was going to get one, I got a lot of advice as to how to take care of it after getting it. I pretty much followed the advice that I was given by the tattoo shop, Supergenius Tattoo, as written below (with my comments).
1. Keep your bandage on for 2-3 hours (The indignity! After getting the tattoo, they cover it up!! But when you take it off, you see why. It's pretty much a wound and is prone to seeping. Ick!)
2. After removing the bandage, wash with hot water and regular bar soap. Leave the tattoo alone after the first wash, and then let it dry out. Wash the tattoo with just your fingertips, nothing rough like a washcloth. (I used unscented glycerin soap, since it seemed most gentle.)
3. After the first day, wash the tattoo 2 times a day; in the morning and at night. Do this for two weeks.
4. On the 2nd or 3rd day when your tattoo begins to dry out and become tight, moisturize it using a dye-free, scent-free lotion such as: Lubriderm, Curel, or Cetaphil. Make sure to wait 15 minutes after you wash it so it's dry before using lotion. (This is where I deviated slightly. I tried the Lubriderm, but I felt like it was drying out too quickly and I had to reapply often. So I used Aquaphor instead. I asked, and it was approved by the tattoo artist. Your clothes, however, will stick to it since it's more of an ointment and it may leave an oily stain.)
The "DO NOT'S"
DO NOT touch your tattoo, or allow others to, except during washings and moisturizer applications.
DO NOT soak your new tattoo. Showering is fine, but no extended baths, Jacuzzis, or swimming pools for at least two weeks.
DO NOT us anything else to heal your tattoo! Regardless of other people's recommendations, avoid rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Neosporin, bacitractin, Preparation H, etc. (Trying to heal it is counterintuitive, the point is to allow it to heal slowly to preserve the tattoo. Quick healing can affect the way it turns out.)
DO NOT re-bandage your tattoo.
DO NOT wear constrictive clothing that may chafe your tattoo. (Mine was on my ankle, and it felt uncomfortable just wearing regular pants. I couldn't imagine wearing anything tight over it.)
DO NOT shave over the tattoo for at least 2 weeks.
DO NOT pick, peel, scratch, or scrub your tattoo. Let it shed naturally. (This was the hardest to follow. Once it starts healing, it itches so bad! Using the Aquaphor helped it itch less.)
DO NOT subject your new tattoo to prolonged sun-exposure for 2 - 3 weeks. (Even after it's healed, use sunscreen to help prevent it from fading.)
So for anyone looking to get a tattoo, this is what you should expect. I hear it's best to get a tattoo in the wintertime, so you can avoid sun and swimming pools fairly easily, and if you got one on your leg, the lack of shaving may not be noticed. But at any rate, the basic principles are keep it clean and keep it moisturized and your tat will come out fine.
16 hours ago