When you first get a new tattoo, it will feel like a sunburn for the first 24-48 hours. Redness, puffiness, swelling, and overall discomfort is normal for the first 24-78 hours.
If you are not allergic to adhesives, I would have wrapped your tattoo with a clear see-through adhesive called tegaderm. If you were given a simple dry lock bandage, remove within an hour and follow directions that follow.
If you were wrapped with tegaderm, it is a water proof adhesive you can wear for 24 hours to up to about 5 days on average.In that time frame, there will be weeping underneath the bandage that is a mixture of ink, blood, and plasma. The longer you leave it on, the more weeping there is underneath. This is completely normal. When the bandage is ready to come off (once it’s peeling up, edges are dirty, and the weeping is done) it is best to hop in the shower to remove the bandage. Find a loose corner, peel the bandage back with your thumbs, and slowly stretch horizontally underneath running water to slowly remove. Once the bandage is removed, wash thoroughly with warm water and plain unscented soap, like dove, dial, or cetaphil. Once out of the shower, gently pat dry, and use an aftercare lotion in small amounts 3-5 times a day. Plain, unscented lotion like lubriderm, ucerin, or aveeno can be used. Tattoo aftercare brands like redemption, hustle butter, happy guru, and after inked also work great.
Within a few days, the tattoo will begin to dry out, and begin to peel and flake. This is completely normal. Do not pick or scratch at your tattoo, and avoid unnecessary touching by you and others. Larger tattoos will have more swelling, redness, and overall soreness for a longer period of time. Repeat your aftercare of plain unscented soap and lotion routine for two weeks.
Avoid all direct sun exposure and submerging in water for the two week healing period. Normal showers is fine.
After two weeks, your tattoo is healed! While healing, you may work out and resume normal daily activity.