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Aftercare for Tattoos

 

Bandaging/Washing

Your tattoo will be wrapped when it is finished.  Keep it covered for approximately 2 hours.  The bandage is preventing surface and air-borne bacteria from infiltrating the wound. Yes, it is a wound. This is a friendly reminder that tattoos can radiate heat for a period of time and these are the crucial days to make sure it stays clean. This is when you are most susceptible to picking up germs/bacteria. 
At the 2 hour mark, remove the bandage and gently use your hands to wash it with a mild liquid antibacterial/antimicrobial soap (store brand, Dial, Softsoap).  Wash away the ointment, blood, and/or plasma (clear serous fluid excreted when clotting).  DO NOT use a washcloth or anything abrasive.  DO NOT re-wrap, let the area “breathe”.  It may feel warm to the touch and tender.  This is to be expected.  
*The healing process is similar to that of a severe sunburn. Tender, radiating heat for the first day or two, followed by irritating and itchy as it peels, then shiny and taunt once it has shed completely.  
Pat it dry with a paper towel or a clean towel to dry completely.


Moisturizing
 You have options for moisturizers: A&D, coconut oil, fragrance-free lotion, cocoa butter.  All should be used to keep the area soft, not as a layer that will suffocate. If it’s shiny, there’s too much. Always wash before reapplying. Do not reapply new moisturizer without washing and drying first. Layering new on old can cause irritation. Expect your tattoo to peel. Don’t be alarmed. This is normal. Wash, moisturize, repeat. Don’t pick, scratch, or neglect it. We know you don’t want to pay for pain twice. 


Scabbing and Peeling
Your tattoo will start to peel after a few days, this is normal!  
DO NOT scratch or pick at it!  If it’s itchy, pat it with your hand-gently of course, and apply lotion.  
Every person is different, as are different areas of the body.  Joints (elbows, knees, and wrists) as well as hands, fingers, feet, and necks are areas that tend to take longer to heal.  Majority of the body will heal completely in 1 ½ - 2 weeks, aforementioned locations may be as long as 4 weeks.  This is acceptable due to the difference in skin and heightened use on a daily basis. A healed tattoo will no longer be shiny and the skin will be completely intact.  


Bathing, Showering, Swimming, Hot tubs
Please shower.  You, hopefully, wouldn’t avoid washing a cut on your arm or hand.  That being said, you will want to wash your tattoo in the shower.  Most of the time, that is the most convenient time to cleanse the area.  Do so at the end of your shower with the recommended soap so it rinses away any other shower products used.  Try to keep the shower quick.  When you do have a cut, it is common for the scab to get soft and nearly wash away when exposed to moisture, heat, and steam.  This is true for a tattoo as well, only when the scab goes, the pigment does also.  Therefore, submerging in bodies of water is highly frowned upon.  That means, stay out of pools (freshwater or chlorinated), oceans, lakes, hot tubs, and bathtubs for at least 2 weeks.  When it has healed completely you may take part in water activities and the use of sunscreen. 
Your Tattoo should heal in 10 to 14 Days.

 

Aftercare for Piercings 

you've just received a body piercing by a trained body piercing licensee. Now it is up to you to take appropriate care of your piercing during the critical healing period. 

 

DO NOT use ANY product marked “For External Use Only” including, but not limited to, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, lidocaine (e.g. Bactine), triple antibiotic ointment (e.g. Neosporin), antiseptic.

 

Use products that will not irritate the piercing and will facilitate fast healing, such as:

 1. A mild, fragrance-free liquid soap-preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.  

 

        2. Packaged sterile saline solution with NO additives (H2Ocean), or a non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better; a saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing. 


CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS
 Wash your hands before cleaning your piercing! Use the cleaning solution(s) recommended for your piercing for the *entire* healing time. Do this even if the piercing looks or feels healed sooner. 

 

  • Do not move the piercing jewelry when the site is crusty; it does more harm to the piercing site than good.

  • Do not play with the new piercing, physical irritation is the worst! 

  • When clothing is in contact with the piercing, make sure it is clean, loose and breathable.

  • Swimming in chlorinated pools may dry out the piercing and cause irritation. Wait 6-8 weeks before swimming in a pool.

  • Wash well with liquid soap immediately after swimming.  Avoid hot tubs for 6 months.  Oceans and fresh water contain dirt and germs, wash well immediately after exiting water. Chlorine can over dry a new piercing. It is best to avoid soaking in pools and hot tubs.  Stay away from rivers and lakes while healing; they are full of bacteria. In cases of accidental exposure, clean your piercing immediately afterward


Keloids/Scars/Cysts

Some piercings are prone to developing keloids or scars, or cysts. A cyst is a fluid-filled bump very close to the piercing. Usually, they are tender; do not attempt to pop a suspected cyst. Regular sea salt soaks encourages drainage. Should a cyst occur and sea salts soaks offer no relief, contact your physician.  
 

Healing Time Estimations


EARLOBES: Usually heals in 4 – 8 weeks; use saline twice daily, sea salt soaks as desired for comfort. 


EAR CARTILAGE: Usually heals in 6 months; use saline twice daily, as cartilage is prone to developing cysts. Be sure to rinse jewelry and ear after shampooing to remove residue. Clean ear after using styling products. Cartilage piercings are tender to sleep on, avoid sleeping on your new piercing as irritation will extend the healing time. 


NOSTRIL: Usually heals in 10 – 12 weeks (septum, 4 weeks); use saline twice-daily inside and out with a saline saturated q-tip.  


EYEBROW: Usually heals in 8 – 10 weeks; use saline twice daily. 


TONGUE: Usually heals in about 4 weeks; use alcohol-free antiseptic mouthwash 2 – 4 times daily. Substitute saline as needed; saline can be used as often as desired. You will have swelling for about a week. Rest your tongue. Do not stick it out past your teeth for the first week. Eat small frequent meals and frozen fruit bars. Advil, Aleve, and Motrin will help swelling but may also cause bleeding so don’t overdo it. Drinking alcohol in any quantity will significantly increase swelling during the first week or two. Drink plenty of water. Brush teeth gently at first; do not brush the tongue during healing. Expect to see some lymph drainage coming from the piercing site. No kissing (or any oral contact) until healed. Check to be sure the barbell balls are screwed on tight and be sure to ‘downsize’ after healing. 


LABRETS-LIPS-BEAUTY MARKS: Usually heals in 8+ weeks; use saline twice daily, inside and out. Remember that intra-oral healing appears white. If a stud was used, expect the disc to embed slightly into the lip over time, but do not allow new skin to form over the disc. If this begins, see your piercer immediately for a jewelry change. Downsize post length onstud (if used) after two weeks. 


NAVEL: Usually heals in 6 – 9 months; use saline twice daily. Expect some redness at the edges for up to a couple of months. A hard, vented eye patch can be applied under tight clothing or secured by using aneslastic bandage around the body. This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports. Pants or skirt lines should be worn below your navel or it can be irritated so badly that it will not heal. 


NIPPLES:Usually heals in 4 – 6 months; use saline twice daily. No oral contact until fully healed. This piercing can produce “crusties” for a year or more. During the first few days, many women report that wearing a bra helps with soreness. A sports bra is helpful at night. Men usually find a tighter fitting cotton tank top is helpful as well.

 

*There is no guarantee that any piercing will last, getting a piercing is a risk.  Remember, we are trying to get your body to heal around a foreign object. 
*Please consult a physician should an infection occur