It’s a common question and, as you guessed it, the answer is DON’T SCRATCH. But is that really helpful? No, of course not. Not to worry, there are several things that can be done about itching but first it’s best to determine the cause.
In most cases, itching is directly related to a histamine response that happens during the healing of the dermis, the level of the skin where the tattoo ink resides. In which case, an oral or topical antihistamine will help considerably with the itching.
If the skin is blistered or scabbing, a topical antihistamine should be avoided and the issue may be more than just a histamine response. At this point, the area should be washed thoroughly with an antibacterial soap, dried with a paper towel (cloth towels often have bacteria on them), a triple antibiotic ointment applied to the area and the wound dressed with a new bandage. This should dramatically decrease the itching and eliminate most of the bacteria on the wound.
In the final stages of healing the skin is often dry and flakey. Yes, an antihistamine would still help. However, the itching is most likely caused by the dry skin. Applying a perfume free lotion will dramatically reduce the sensation and help from tearing the skin.