How do I care for my tattoo while it heals?
How do I care for my body piercing while it heals?
- Leave the bandage on your tattoo for 3 - 4 hours.
- Wash your hands prior to removing bandage. Gently hand wash your tattoo with warm soap and water. Keep washing until your tattoo is no longer slimy or glazed.
- Pat or dab or tattoo with a wash cloth until it is dry. Do not rub your tattoo with a wash cloth or towel until it is completely healed.
- Let your tattoo air dry for at least 10 minutes.
- Apply a very light film of A&D ointment on your tattoo.
- Repeat the cleaning process 3 times a day. Remember to wash your hands prior to cleaning and applying ointment.
- Stop applying ointment after 3 days. Afterwards, apply a fragrance-free lotion or cream to your tattoo at least 3 times a day until it is healed, generally in 7 - 14 days.
Do not expose your tattoo to sunlight for at least 2 weeks or until healed. Do not soak in water (including bathing and swimming) for at least 2 weeks or until healed. Be careful to avoid getting the tattoo too sweaty during the 2 weeks as well. Wear loose clothing that allows the tattoo to breathe. Do not pick or scratch your tattoo. Itching can be relieved by slapping the area around the tattoo or applying more lotion.
Infection of a healing tattoo is rare, but begins with a small area looking puffy and grayish. If anything similar to this occurs, visit us or a doctor immediately. A reaction to A&D ointment is also rare, but looks like small pimples. If this occurs, contact us for instructions on what you should do.
Use one or both of the following solutions for healing piercings:
How do I care for my facial/tongue piercing while it heals?
Cleaning Instruction for Body Piercings
- Packaged sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label), or a non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 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 the piercing.
- A mild, fragrance-free liquid soap - preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.
What is Normal?
- WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- SALINE soak for five to ten minutes once or more per day. Invert a cup of warm saline solution over the area to form a vacuum. For certain piercings it may be easier to apply using clean gauze or paper towels saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
- SOAP no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds.
- RINSE thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing.
- DRY by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.
A Few Other Tips & Tricks
- Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
- During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.
- Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing, it is not necessary to rotate your jewelry.
- Avoid cleaning with Betadine®, Hibiciens®, alcohol, hyrdrogen peroxide, Dial® or other harsh soaps, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation. Click here to download information on triclosan dangers.
- Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). These can be irritating and are not intednded for long term wound care.
Cleaning Solutions - Use either one or both of the following solutions for inside the mouth:
I need help choosing a tattoo design
Cleaning Instructions for Inside the Mouth
- Antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse
- Packaged sterile saline solution* with no additives (read the label!) or non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 1/8 to 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! Saline solution that is too strong can irritate the piercing. (If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, please check with your doctor before using a saline product inside the mouth as your primary cleaning solution.)
Rinse mouth 4-5 times daily with cleaning solution for 30-60 seconds after meals and at bedtime during the entire healing period. If you over clean, it may cause discoloration or irritation of tongue.
Cleaning Instructions for the Exterior of Labret (Cheek and Lip)
What is Normal?
- WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning, or touching on or near your piercing for any reason.
- SALINE soak at least two to three times daily. Simply soak directly in a cup of warm saline solution for a few minutes. The longer you soak, the better. For certain placements it may be easier to apply using fresh gauze or a cotton ball saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse will remove any residue
- SOAP no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds, then rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing.
- DRY with disposable paper products such as gauze or tissues, because cloth towels can harbor bacteria and catch on new piercings causing injury. Pat gently to avoid trauma.
What to do to Help Reduce Swelling
- For the first three to five days: significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and/or tenderness.
- After that: Some swelling, light secretion of a whitish yellow fluid (not pus).
- A piercing may seem healed before healing is complete. This is because piercings heal from the outside in, and although it feels healed the tissue remains fragile on the inside. BE PATIENT, and Keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
- Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, leave the jewelry in place.
- Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve in the mouth.
- Sleep with your head elevated above your heart during the first few nights.
- Once the swelling has subsided, it is vital to replace the original, longer jewelry with a shorter post.
For more information, please visit The Association of Professional Piercers website for information on body piercing aftercare
and oral piercing aftercare
- Find a design that fits you. Take time and think about things that you enjoy and things that have personal meaning to you. If your tattoo is in honor of someone else, think about the things they enjoy and have meaning to them.
- Look for ideas in books, magazines, online, etc. If you have an idea in mind, ask one of our artists to custom design your tattoo to ensure that you have a unique piece.
- Think about whether you want your tattoo in black and grey or in full color.
- Keep in mind that bigger is better! The most common thing we hear (besides I'll never get a name again) is that I wish I would have gone bigger. Larger tattoos are easier to see, look better longer, and are just cooler! Don't skimp because you don't have the cash. Ask your artist for options, such as getting it done in multiple sessions to help fit your budget.