GENERAL TATTOO AFTERCARE AND TIPS
BEFORE YOUR TATTOO
Be Clean - Have a nice shower or bath before you come. :)
Drinking - Don't drink alcohol 48 hours prior to getting tattooed. This will thin out your blood, weakening your system. Caffeine,
Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), and Anti-Coagulants (Aspirin) will also have the same effect on your blood.
Eating - A good meal before you get tattooed is always a good idea.
Rest - Make sure you get a good night's sleep the night before your appointment.
Bring with you...water, snacks, anything to help keep your blood sugar levels up while getting tattooed.
Dress Comfortably - Wear appropriate clothing for the tattoo you are getting. You will be tender afterwards.
Keep bandage on overnight. Remove right before you shower, the next morning.
With clean hands, gently splash warm water on the area. Keep fresh tattoos out of the direct spray of the shower head for the first couple days as it will only hurt and irritate the tattoo. Lather, rinse, repeat for about 5 minutes with unscented, un-medicated soap to bring all the lymphatic fluid to the surface. Rinse thoroughly.
Allow tattoo to air dry or pat dry with paper towel. Please do not use face cloths or towels as they can harbor bacteria. Use clean sheets on your beds for your first sleep without the bandage.
Continue cleaning routine until the top layer of your tattoo is healed (2 weeks). It will take an additional 4 weeks for the underlying layers to heal. You have an open wound, please treat it as such.
Do not over wash your tattoo. It can cause excess irritation and scabbing, resulting in loss of ink in the tattoo.
Take care of your body so your body can take care of your tattoo. The only thing that heals your tattoo is your immune system, not what you put on it. Clean and dry make for a happy tattoo!
Do not moisturize for 3-4 days.
When it's lotion time, use a minimal amount and work it all the way into your skin, with clean hands! The best time is after your cleaning routine. Do not over saturate. Your tattoo needs to dry out and develop a new layer of skin.
In 4-5 days your tattoo will go through a period of flaking, it will be itchy. The only reasons to use moisturizer are to keep itching to a minimum and to prevent any potential cracking in scabs.
Moisturizing prematurely may cause loss of ink and scabbing from irritation. Lotion and balms just add an excess of oil, which can hinder healing.
Make sure lotion is unscented and un-medicated. We also recommend Hustle Butter as it is an excellent tattoo aftercare product.
If the lotion you use feels like it's burning or irritating your tattoo. rinse thoroughly and discontinue use.
- Keep pets away from healing tattoos. They are drawn to lymphatic fluid and may want to "clean your wound".
- No picking or scratching! Itching during healing is normal and expected. Do not rub or scratch. A gentle slap goes a long way.
- Less is more! (Touching it excessively, over washing/moisturizing) can cause irritation, scabbing, loss of ink and possibly infection.
- Watch out for clothing irritation. Wear loose, clean clothing over the tattooed area as much as possible. Keep it exposed to clean air in the first couple days.
- Swelling. If you are experiencing a lot of swelling, you can take Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) and/or use and ice pack. Make sure that you wrap the ice pack in something clean (kitchen plastic wrap, Ziploc bag). Handle with clean hands. Keep area elevated if possible. Swelling should start to come down within 2-4 days.
- Expect tenderness. You can expect your tattoo to feel tender or like you have minor sunburn for 2-4 days depending on the area of your tattoo.
- Absolutely no soaking your tattoo! This includes baths, hot tubs, steam rooms, swimming etc. Until your tattoo is healed. Tattoos need to stay dry as much as possible.
- No spray tans or self-tanners! Wait until your tattoo is completely healed (4-6 weeks).
- No Sunlight! Excessive exposure to the sun while your tattoo is healing can cause a serious sun burn that can result in scarring that is difficult to fix later. A fresh tattoo will get a sun burn much faster that the rest of your body. After your tattoo is healed (4-6 weeks) use a high SPF sunblock consistently when being exposed to UV rays, to keep colors from yellowing or fading. Make sure to follow the directions on your sunblock for it to work properly. Tanning beds will age tattoos and dull colors.
- Signs of Infection include inflammation accompanied by pain, excessive redness, discharge (yellow or green), odor and a heat difference. The site of an infection will be much warmer opposed to the skin next to it. Signs of an allergic reaction to tattoo ink will be redness, rash or bumps and purple or red nodules around the tattoo. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call the studio as soon as possible. We will be able to
GENERAL PIERCING AFTERCARE
It is normal for your piercing to be tender or itchy for a few weeks and it is also possible that your piercing may bleed for a few days. Initially, the piercing site may be swollen and red as well as have a slight bit of bruising.
For a period of time, you will notice some discharge around your piercing. It should be clear to whitish color. It is your body’s lymphatic fluid and it will continue to come to the surface for the entire healing period.
With the discharge, you may notice a red ring appear around the opening of your piercing. Although it doesn’t look the way you want it to, it is very normal and part of the healing process.
Jewelry should not be removed or changed out during the initial healing period. So called “body jewelry” sold in malls or retail stores are more often than not low quality and an inappropriate size for your piercing. Remember, you are not buying a T-shirt rather a piece of jewelry you are going to be putting inside your body. When you wish to have a “new look” or want different jewelry for your piercing, ask your piercer, it is their job to help you and it can save your piercing as well as money and disappointment.
Your piercer is also able to help you with removing your jewelry temporarily. Retainers can be made for just about any type of piercing and is much safer and healthier alternative than forcing your jewelry back in. It is also no problem to permanently remove your piercing.
Touching your piercing with unwashed hands is the fasted way to get an infection as well as irritate your piercing which also increases your chances of developing scar tissue. SO NO TOUCHY TOUCHY!
Any clothing, pillow cases, hats etc. should be frequently washed or changed to reduce your chances of infection. If your piercing is constantly under stress from hats, belts, clothing etc. or is constantly being played with, it will drastically slow down the healing time.
Remember, cleaning your piercing doesn’t heal it, your body does, so eating well, getting enough sleep and taking appropriate vitamins will help.
We will provide you with saline to clean your piercing. Saline solution is a mixture of non-iodized sea salt and water (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt per 1 liter of water). Saline is free from any additives and is so mild you can put it in your eye.
DO NOT USE: Rubbing alcohol, peroxide, iodine, hibitane, ear care solution (bioseptic), witch hazel, tea tree oil, Epsom/table salt or polysporin. The use of these products can lead to chemical irritations, dry flaky skin and infection-like symptoms.
In the event that you want/need to use something else to clean your piercing with, please call first or come by, and a piercer will provide you with some safe alternatives. Getting stuck in a situation where you have nothing to clean your piercing, which does sometimes happen, contact lens solution can be used as long as the solution doesn’t have any additives. If you don’t have contact lens solution, water is your next best option.
Your cleaning should be done twice a day, everyday for the entire healing time. To clean your piercing:
- Make sure your hands are freshly washed before touching your piercing.
- Heat water in a plastic disposable cup to a hot but tolerable temperature.
- Place your piercing directly into the hot water and soak your piercing for at least 5 minutes but the longer the better. Dry with gauze or paper towel. Face cloths or towels trap bacteria.
- Feel free to use paper towels or Q-tips on any crusties left behind after you finish soaking (except on cartilage).
- Follow with Saline (which we provide)
To make/use the saline:
- Fill the red cap up with non-iodized sea salt and pour the salt into the bottle.(we supply these)
- Fill the bottle up with water and give it a shake (the warmer the water is, the better it will dissolve)
- Holding the bottle away, squeeze the saline onto your piercing while gently moving your piercing (about 4-5 times)
- Use one half bottle per cleaning (1 full bottle per day)
- Once a week clean out your saline bottle with rubbing alcohol or peroxide, rinse and allow to dry
In the first few days of healing your piercing, your jewelry might not want to move. That’s okay! DON’T FORCE IT. Either continue hot soaking or just leave it until your next cleaning. Cleaning your piercing should always be done after your regular routine of showering, shaving, doing hair/cosmetics as these hot soaks have many purposes and benefits such as removing product that accidentally gets on your piercing, it also increases blood flow to the area to aid with healing and it loosens crusties making the jewelry easier to move.
Select shampoo, conditioner, body soap and lotion to use for the entire healing time. This will allow your body to get used to the additives that will be coming into contact with your piercing. Staying consistent with your products can make it easier to detect the cause of a problem if one should arise.
The products you use should be pH balanced and be low in alcohol, moisturizers and dyes. Do not allow you’re piercing to come into contact with cosmetics, lotions, perfumes, oils or bubble baths as they are capable of causing extreme irritation. When using hairspray, cover your piercing with a paper towel and remember to always follow your normal hygiene regime with a hot soak and use of the saline.
Some piercings are not permanent. Your body can slowly push the jewelry closer and closer to the surface of the skin. If you think this may be happening to your piercing, ask a piercer for their opinion. Allowing your body to push the jewelry out all the way will result in a larger scar than if you just take it out.
Infections are caused by contact with bacteria, fungi or other living pathogens. Piercing infections can usually be traced to one of the following activities:
- Touching the piercing with unwashed hands, or letting someone else touch your piercing.
- Oral/sexual contact with your piercing.
- Consistent stress on your piercing (hats, clothes, belts etc)
- Allowing other peoples bodily fluids to contact the piercing.
- Contact with hair, cosmetics, oils, infrequently washed clothing or bedding or other agents.
- Submerging it in a pool, hot tub, ocean or other body of water.
- Inappropriate jewelry.
- Excessive cleaning or harsh cleaning agents on your piercing.
- Low immune system.
It is quite easy to tell if you have an infection. The most obvious sign of infection is an excessive yellowish/greenish discharge coming out from the piercing. Other signs include:
- Increased swelling or redness.
- A sensation of heat at the piercing site.
- Pain (throbbing or spreading).
A mid infection can usually be cleared up easily. If you suspect a mild infection, DO NOT remove the jewelry as it shuts down the area where the infection can drain from. Trapping it inside your body can lead to an abscess or excessive scar tissue.
First increase your hot soaks up to three times a day, then contact your piercer and they will be able to tell how to get rid of any problems. The longer the problems are left, the harder they are to fix. We recommend that you come in or call before going to any doctors or medi-centres as we will help you rid the problem more quickly; doctors often recommend jewelry removal and prescriptions for antibiotics when both are usually not necessary.
People who work in the body piercing industry should always be happy to help you out with any problems or give any advice. You should always be comfortable asking ANY question you wish, and never made to feel dumb by doing so.
The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask. Knowledge is powerful!!!
SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR CARTILAGE PIERCINGS (Nose & Ear)
- No Q-tips or Kleenex on piercing. The cotton fibers and dust can get caught up inside of your piercing.
- Pillow cases must be changed at least twice a week.
- Hair is a major source of dirt and produces oils that can lead to problems in your piercing. Please keep your hair off your piercing.
- Make-up must be kept off and away from your piercing, as it will irritate it.
- Hairspray....your piercing must be covered with a paper towel, spray your hair and leave the room. Do your best to schedule your cleaning after you do your hair.
- Cartilage piercings are prone to scar tissue called a hypertrophic scar. It is a fluid pocket that may look like a small blister or pimple around or to one side of the piercing. It is caused by stress or trauma, it is not permanent. Common causes are the use of Q-tips, harsh cleansers, over cleaning, hitting or sleeping on your piercing. Should you suspect your piercing is developing this scar tissue, please leave your jewelry in and contact your piercer as soon as possible.
ORAL PIERCING AFTERCARE
WHAT TO EXPECT
Your piercing will most likely swell. This swelling can last from a few days in a lip to a few weeks in a labret piercing. You can keep swelling to a minimum by using ice. An anti-inflammatory can also be used.
To keep you're piercing clean, rinse with an alcohol free mouthwash. Recommended mouthwashes: Biotene, Alcohol Free Oral B, or Dr. Tom's Natural. These can be found at most drug stores. You should be rinsing for 2-3 min. after anything other than water, but not more often than every couple of hours. This is of course is in addition to your soaks followed by saline twice a day.
KEEP IT COMFORTABLE
In the first few days or weeks when your piercing is swollen, things like smoking, playing with your jewelry and excessive alcohol consumption can irritate your piercing and prolong swelling as well as cause unwanted scar tissue. Spicy, citrus and salty foods will not only irritate your piercing but will sting quite a bit. No beer or wine for two weeks. Other people's bodily fluids, these include sweat, saliva, blood and sexual fluids. Another persons fluid can lead to an infection and disease transmission is also possible. A fresh piercing is an open line to your blood stream.
Infections inside your mouth are very rare. This is because we all have natural bacteria in our mouths to help keep them clean. If you do notice yellow or greenish discharges accompanied by pain and swelling, please call us. We will help you get rid of the problem quickly. Please note that in our experience, antibiotics and removal of jewelry are both not necessary. Removing your jewelry in the midst of a problem is generally the last thing you want to do, as we must allow for drainage to occur. It is our hope that you have the confidence in us that we are the first people you contact in the event you have any concerns.
TONGUE PIERCING AFTERCARE
WHAT TO EXPECT
Your piercing will most likely swell. This swelling can last from a few days to a couple of weeks. You can keep swelling to a minimum by using lots of ice. An anti-inflammatory can also be used. You may also use popsicles, slurpies and ice cream to help with the swelling. Since your tongue will be swollen, eating, drinking and even swallowing may be difficult. You may feel a stinging sensation and even find the glands along your neck to swell up a little. You may also notice some discharge on the piercing. It will look a bit creamy and be off-white in color. This is your bodies' lymphatic fluid, it is not and infection. You may remove it using a Q-tip or mouthwash.
To keep you're piercing clean, rinse with an alcohol free mouthwash. Recommended mouthwashes: Biotene, Alcohol Free Oral B, or Dr. Tom's Natural. These can be found at most drug stores. You should be rinsing for 2-3 min. after anything other than water, but not more often than every couple of hours.
KEEP IT COMFORTABLE
In the first few days or weeks when your piercing is swollen, things like smoking, playing with your jewelry and excessive alcohol consumption can irritate your piercing and prolong swelling. These should all be kept to a minimum. If you find that your jewelry is irritating your gums or that you are biting it, there are alternatives that we can offer that will help. Just ask your piercer as we are more than happy to help.
WHAT TO AVOID
Playing with your jewelry as it irritates the piercing, can prolong swelling and cause unwanted scar tissue. Spicy, citrus and salty foods will not only irritate your piercing but will sting quite a bit. Peas, rice, long noodles, and fruit with small seeds such as strawberries and raspberries.These foods are very confusing to eat with a new tongue piercing. Melted cheese, candies, caramel, and toffee will all stick to your jewelry. No beer or wine for two weeks. Excessive alcohol consumption can encourage swelling and prolong healing. Other peoples bodily fluids, these include sweat, saliva, blood and sexual fluids. Another persons fluid can lead to an infection and disease transmission is also possible. A fresh piercing is an open line to your blood stream.
Infections inside the mouth are very UNCOMMON. This is because we have natural bacteria in our mouths to keep them clean. If you notice a greenish type discharge accompanied by pain and swelling, please call us. If you do experience any problems we will help you get rid of the problem quickly. The removal of jewelry or the need for antibiotics are both generally NOT necessary.