1. Leave your bandage or tattoo covering on for one to three hours after your tattoo is finished. Your artist will instruct you on exactly how long to keep the bandage there. This process is collecting a lot of the goop, blood, and even ink from the fresh tattoo, so keep it on! You don’t want to ruin any new clothes or overly expose it at first.
2. Make sure to wash your new tattoo several times a day with a soft, non-scented, antibacterial soap (Dial Soap Gold is a great brand to use) to keep it clean and avoid potential infection. Make sure to do this for two to three weeks or until the tattoo is more or less healed. Remember, never touch your tattoo unless you have just washed your hands!
3. For the first few days (we suggest three days) after washing the tattoo make sure to apply an ointment to keep it hydrated. Great ointments to use that can be picked up at a drug store are A+D or Aquaphor. Use this sparingly! A thin layer is better than drowning the tattoo in goo and will help it heal faster.
4. After the first few days of using ointment switch to a non-scented lotion after you wash your tattoo. Aveeno is a great brand available at drug stores and comes in both large bottles as well as convenient travel sizes, which are perfectly sized to fit in your pocket or purse.
5. For the first two weeks, avoid wearing tight clothing. Otherwise you run the risk of scabbing and ink loss when clothes rub up against your tattoo. If possible, avoid sleeping on your tattoo so you don’t agitate the healing process.
6. While the tattoo is healing avoid going into large bodies of water (pool, ocean, hot tubs, etc.), the gym or activities that lead to excessive amounts of sweating, and exposure to the sun for the first two weeks. This could damage the tattoo in the healing process. Showers are fine as long as they are quick and not overly hot. You don’t want to burn your new ink!
7. Continue this process until the tattoo is healed. And remember, don’t pick, peal or scratch any scabbing or hard layers. These hard layers are normal and picking them off could damage or remove color.
Body Piercing Aftercare
Congratulations on getting your new piercing and we hope you enjoy it for years. The time required for your piercing to heal completely varies, in most cases jewelry must be left in for at least the first 3 months.Your piercing might look healed before this time but it’s important to be patient and wait the entire healing period before changing your jewelry out or ceasing your aftercare routine. If your piercing must come out sooner for medical reasons, often we can help you with this process so that you don’t lose your piercing.If proper cleaning is done your risk of infection is greatly reduced. The most common problems are:
· Not having the piercing done in a sterile environment.· Dirty hands or saliva touching it before it is healed.· Using a cleaning agent that can damage your piercing.· Wearing inferior quality jewelry or metals.· Proper cleaning not being performed daily.· “Playing” with jewelry before piercing is healed.If you have any problem with healing we will be happy to help. We understand that since opening up in Kailua in 1990, people see us as the experts. So we will help with piercings that we didn’t perform,however, understand we can only make suggestions, we are not physicians. A physician must be contacted as soon as possible if a problem persists.
Sea Salt Water Soaks
Sea salt soaks are strongly suggested at least once a day to accelerate healing and increase your comfort.
This may also help to reduce irritation in the area. Dissolve a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) of sea salt into one cup(8 oz.) of warm or hot water in a clean cup. Distilled water is optimal. A stronger solution is not better as you can burn your piercing with too much salt. Invert it over the area to form a vacuum and soak directly for a few minutes. For certain placements it is easier to use a clean cotton ball or gauze pad soaked in the salt water and applied to the pierced area. Follow with a clear water rinse or splash then pat dry with paper products.
Salt water soaks help to stimulate air and blood circulation which facilitates healing. You can do a brief salt water soak before your daily cleaning(s) as well as several additional times a day. It is particularly advisable to soak before you do anything active, as it will prevent crust from being pulled inside the piercing as you move around. Salt water is the only additional product (other than the cleanser and water)we suggest you use to care for your piercing.
One soak per day should be for at least 10 minutes. Additional soaks can be brief (1 minute or so) and still be effective for soothing the area and removing matter.
Body piercings need to be cleaned once daily, every day, for the entire initial healing time. Most people clean morning and/or night, in the shower. Do not clean more often as this can irritate your piercing, and possibly delay your healing. For once-a-day cleanings, do it at the end of your day. Optimal frequency will depend on your skin sensitivity, activity level, and environmental factors.
Before cleanings wash hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial soap and hot water. If you wish, you may wear disposable latex or vinyl gloves and/or also use a hand sanitizing gel. Never, never touch healing piercings with dirty hands. This is vital for avoiding infections.
Prepare the area for the cleansing by rinsing or soaking with warm water and be sure to remove any stubborn crust using a cotton swab and warm water. Never pick with fingernails! This step is important for your comfort.
Apply a small handful of cleaning solution to the area with your clean hands. Cleanse the area and the jewelry. (You do not need to rotate your jewelry during cleaning).
Allow the solution to cleanse there for a minute. You may bathe normally, just don’t purposely work anything other than the cleanser onto the inside of the piercing.
Rinse the area thoroughly under running water to completely remove the cleanser from the piercing.
Gently pat dry with disposable paper products such as gauze or tissues, as cloth towels can harbor bacteria.
Please try to be patient. Each body is unique, and healing times can vary considerably. If your piercing is tender or secreting you should continue the care regimen, even if it is past the stated average healing time range.
What To Do
Wash your hands prior to contact on or near the area of your healing piercing!Leave the piercing alone except for when you are cleaning it. It is not necessary or advisable to rotate the ring while healing. Leave the starter jewelry in during the entire minimum initial healing time! (Assuming your initial jewelry is appropriate in terms of metal content, style, and size. Inappropriate jewelry should be changed out by a professional.) Those with captive-style rings or barbells (straight, bent, or circular) can change the bead/ball portion of the jewelry at any time.Check daily with clean hands to make sure the balls are screwed on tight on threaded jewelry such as barbells. Both balls tighten to the right.If you like your piercing leave jewelry in at all times. Even old, well-healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person, and even if your ear lobe piercings stay open without jewelry your body piercing may not! Contact your piercer if your jewelry must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure). Mono filament nylon or another inert non-metallic substance may be able to be inserted to maintain the piercing until jewelry can be reinserted.Make sure your bedding is clean and changed frequently while you are healing, especially if pets get into your bed.Wear clean, comfortable, breathable fabric clothing in the area of a body piercing.A multi-vitamin mineral supplement containing zinc and vitamin C may help boost your body’s healing abilities.Take it with your morning meal according to package instructions.Get enough sleep, eat a nutritious diet, avoid undue stress, recreational drugs, and alcohol consumption. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.Showering is safer than taking a bath, as bath tubs tend to harbor bacteria. To bathe safely, clean your tub with a bleach product before each bath, and rinse the tub before you fill it. Also, be sure to do a running water rinse on your piercing when you are done in the tub.In the event that the piercing drains a thick pus discharge instead of the normal liquid secretion, you may wish to see a physician for evaluation and possible antibiotic treatment. If you do have an infection, the jewelry should be left in the piercing to allow for drainage of pus. If the jewelry is removed, the holes can close up, resulting in an abscess. LEAVE YOUR JEWELRY IN !
What Is Normal?
Bleeding, bruising, discoloration and/or swelling is not uncommon. These are not indications of any complication. Reduce intake of aspirin, alcohol, and caffeine. For above-the-neck piercings try sleeping with your head elevated above your heart (prop up on some pillows) to limit overnight swelling. Studies show non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) can help minimize swelling.
Some tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. You may feel stinging,burning, or aching off and on for several days or longer. During healing there may be some itching.
Secretion of a fluid which contains blood plasma, lymph and dead cells is perfectly normal. It is fairly liquid, whitish-yellow in color and forms a crust on the jewelry at the openings of the piercing. This is not pus, but indicates a healing piercing.
Once healed your piercing may secrete a semi-solid white malodorous substance from the oil glands called sebum. This is not pus, but indicates a healed piercing
Piercings may have a tendency to have a series of “ups and downs” during healing by seeming healed and then regressing. Try to be patient, and do keep cleaning during the entire initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner.
Tightness is normal. Do not expect jewelry to swing freely in most body piercings, even after they are thoroughly healed.
Oral Body Piercing Aftercare
f proper cleaning is done your risk of infection is greatly reduced. The most common problems are:
· Not having the piercing done in a sterile environment.· Dirty hands or saliva touching it before it is healed.
· Using a cleaning agent that can damage your piercing.· Wearing inferior quality jewelry or metals.· Proper cleaning not being performed daily.· “Playing” with jewelry before piercing is healed.
If you have any problem with healing we will be happy to help. We understand that since opening up in Columbus in 1994, people see us as the experts. So we will help with piercings that we didn’t perform,however, understand we can only make suggestions, we are not physicians. A physician must be contacted as soon as possible if a problem persists.
An alcohol-free antimicrobial or antibacterial mouth rinse should be used according to package instructions. Two examples are Alcohol-Free Listerine and Biotene. These may be available in the oral medications section of your local drugstores.Also: Mild sea salt water rinses. Dissolve a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt to one cup (8 oz.) warm to hot distilled or bottled water. (Avoid hot water for the first few days.) If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you will need to eliminate the sea salt, and use only plain warm water rinses.Rinse mouth for 30-60 seconds with solution (see Cleaning Solutions above) after meals during the entire minimum initial healing time. Do not use more than 4-5 times daily and use it over intervals spaced throughout the entire day. Rinse mouth briefly (10-15 seconds) with the mild sea salt mixture (see recipe above) no more than twice a day. If you are cleaning too often, the top of your tongue will start to turn a white to yellowish color. Continue to clean your piercing, but reduce the number of times you are cleaning it per day.
What To Do
Check twice daily with clean hands to be sure the threaded ends on your jewelry are on tight. To clean hands, wash them carefully with liquid antibacterial soap. If your hands aren’t freshly washed, don’t touch yourself above the neck during the initial healing time.Replace your toothbrush and make sure to keep it clean so that everything that goes into your mouth is hygienic while you are healing. A sensitive type of toothpaste may be less irritating to your mouth during healing than a usual, stronger variety.Try to go slowly when you eat and to take small bites when your piercing is new. Cold foods and beverages feel great and can help diminish swelling. Drink plenty of liquids, especially bottled water.Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.
What To Avoid
No oral sexual contact including French (wet) kissing or oral sex during the entire initial healing period,even if you are in a monogamous relationship. (If you had a large cut you would not allow anyone to spit into it! This is essentially the same thing.)Avoid chewing on gum, tobacco, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, etc., during healing. Don’t share plates,cups or eating utensils. Reducing smoking or quitting is highly advisable when healing an oral piercing.Smoking increases risks and can lengthen the healing time. Avoid undue stress and recreational drug usage.Stay away from aspirin, large amounts of caffeine, and alcoholic beverages for the first several days. Alcoholic beverages include all beer, wine and hard liquor. These can cause additional swelling, bleeding and discomfort. Refrain from eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods and beverages for a few days.
Do not play with the piercing for the initial healing time beyond the necessary movement for speaking and eating. The mouth withstands a lot of trauma from normal speaking and eating. Try to avoid other disturbances such as excessive talking, actively playing with the jewelry, or clicking the jewelry against your teeth. Undue stress on the piercing can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue,migration and other complications.Even after healing, excessive play with oral jewelry can result in permanent damage to teeth,gums, and oral structures. Metal is harder than the human body; be gentle.
Rinse mouth for 30-60 seconds with solution, after meals during the entire minimum initial healing time.Do not use more than 4-5 times daily and use it over intervals spaced throughout the entire day. Rinse mouth briefly (10-15 seconds) with the mild sea salt mixture, no more than twice a day. If you are cleaning too often, the top of your tongue will start to turn a white to yellowish color. Continue to clean your piercing, but reduce the number of times you are cleaning it per day.
A new soft bristled toothbrush should be purchased, to help reduce the bacteria.
Tips For Oral Piercings
Some piercees will carry a spare ball in their wallet or purse. This is particularly advisable if you wear non-metallic balls such as acrylic, which is more fragile.Try to focus on keeping your tongue level in your mouth to avoid biting on the jewelry as you eat. Your mouth is likely to feel uncoordinated at first.Try eating small bites of solid foods by placing food directly onto the molars with clean fingers or a fork.Food that is already in the back of the mouth doesn’t have to get moved there by your tongue.Be cautious about opening your mouth wide when you eat, as this can result in the backing of the jewelry catching on your teeth. Take small bites and go slowly at first.The outside of the piercing may become somewhat red or pink during healing and this is normal.Refer to the Aftercare Guidelines for Body and Facial Piercings sheet for instructions on how to care for the exterior surface of such a piercing.
What To Expect?
Swelling of the area is perfectly normal during the first part of healing an oral piercing. It can be greatly reduced by gently sucking (rather than chewing) on clean ice. Chipped ice, or small cubes are best. The majority of the swelling usually lasts for only 3-5 days.Any new piercing can bleed for a few days. There can also be some bleeding under the surface resulting in temporary bruising or discoloration. This is perfectly normal and not indicative of any complication.Some tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. You may feel aching,pinching, tightness or other unpleasant sensations off and on for several days or longer.Don’t be alarmed if you see a fairly liquid, yellowish secretion coming from the piercing. This is blood plasma, lymph and dead cells which is perfectly normal. All healing piercings secrete, it just looks different inside the mouth as it doesn’t have a chance to dry and form a crust as it does on ear or body piercings.This is not pus, but indicates a healing piercing.Plaque may form on tongue jewelry, commonly on the bottom ball and/or post. Scrub your barbell with a soft bristled toothbrush.Piercings may have a tendency to have a series of ups and downs during healing by seeming healed and then regressing. Try to be patient, and do keep cleaning during the entire initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner.Once initial swelling is down, having your piercer replace the post portion of bar style jewelry with a shorter post may be wise. Jewelry which fits more closely is less likely to irritate your mouth or get between your teeth and be bitten.If you like your piercing, leave jewelry in at all times. Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person, and even if your ear lobe piercings stay open without jewelry your oral piercing may not!
Keep following the care procedures during the entire minimum initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner.