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Tattoo Aftercare

Tattoo Aftercare  |  Piercing Aftercare Here

Please keep in mind that healing time and degrees of trauma recovery vary greatly depending on many factors. Examples are an individual person’s skin type and immune system, the tattoo applied, the artist applying the tattoo, equipment and inks used, and of course degree of aftercare. Remember, what works for someone else, may not work for you. Use common sense and good hygiene and you’ll be OK.

Remove bandage after 3 hours and wash blood, ointment, plasma thoroughly. You may have to soap up your tattoo twice the first time you wash after removing bandage.

Wash your tattoo 2/3 times a day for 7/9 days. Gently wash your tattoo with a non-scented antibacterial hand soap(“Dial” “Softsoap”). Always make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial hand soap first before handling your tattoo.

DO NOT use a wash cloth, loafa or scrubber.  Gently lather antibacterial hand soap over your tattoo with clean fingertips. Rinse thoroughly. Pat dry with a clean lint free towel or quality paper towel. I like Bounties. Don’t skimp on the paper towels, it’s worth the extra few bucks. Much better than the cheap paper that will fall apart and leave paper fibers on your tattoo. Don’t be cheap! Allow a minimum of 30 minutes to air dry.

And keep your grubby hands off your tattoo. Unless you are washing your tattoo or applying ointment. There is no other reason for your hands to come in contact with your tattoo while it heals. Wash tattoo 3 times per day(morning, afternoon, night) for 7 to 8 days or until scabs fall off.  After which you may return to washing your tattoo once a day, but still be gentle.

Washing your tattoo will kill bacteria collected throughout the day and lightly moisturize your scabs. It is the most important part of your aftercare, more important than ointment. You can skip on ointment, but you can’t skip on washing!

Remember, tattooing causes trauma to the skin(needles poking). You are healing an injury, treat it as such. Allow your tattoo to air dry  for 30 minutes to an hour or longer if it appears to be oozing(sweating) or moist. Plasma oozing is normal, it is your body’s natural defense against infection. Oozing usually occurs within the first 24 hours of initial tattooing. Make sure your tattoo is dry before dressing or going to bed. If you find your clothing or linens have dried“stuck” to your tattoo, DO NOT PULL IT OFF. Wet the cloth to loosen dried plasma and gently remove clothing from tattoo. Be aware that during the first few days of healing the tattoo may seep ink, blood or lymph(plasma) which may stain clothing, sheets or other fabrics.

Also, it is good practice to make sure your sheets and bedding are clean the first week of aftercare. You don’t want to get an infection because your tattoo has been in contact with dirty sheets all night. Same goes for clothing. Don’t be a slob!

Ointment. Apply a very small amount of ointment once a day for the first 2 to 4 days. Spread a very small amount of ointment with clean fingertips over tattoo. Spread ointment very thin, just a moist shimmer is all that’s needed. Switch to fragrance and dye free skin lotion after 3 to 4 days of ointment. Continue with skin lotion for remainder of aftercare regimen.

Make sure to not apply ointment too thick and greasy. Too much ointment is not good. Pores will suffocate and may cause skin to breakout. Too much grease will attract and trap dust and bacteria which may cause a skin infection.

Your tattoo will heal itself if you don’t apply any ointment. Ointment is not a necessary factor. Ointment is used to help the scabs not become over dry and crack open. Apply very thin layer of ointment when you feel extra dry, tight, and/or itchy. It is best to allow the scabs to form and stay dry. Scabs are there to protect your injury while the skin cells regenerate.

Some people prefer lotions instead of ointments, these can be applied more than once a day since they do absorb into the skin.

Once your scabs have flaked off, your ink is “locked in”. Your skin has not finished healing though. You will notice a lot of dry and flaky skin pushing out of your tattoo. Your skin will appear opaque and shiny at first, making your tattoo seem dull. This is due to the skins cells still recovering to their normal condition. Liberal amounts of fragrance and dye free skin lotion should be applied  for the next month or so. DO NOT continue using greasy ointments after 3 to 4 days.

Always wash your hands before  washing, handling or applying ointment or lotion to your tattoo!

Approved ointments and lotions

  • Aquaphor
  • Bacitracine
  • Lubriderm non-scented
  • Aveno
  • Curel

STAY AWAY FROM THE FOLLOWING!!

  •  Vaseline
  • A & D ointment
  • Neosporin or any triple antibiotic ointments
  • Fruit scented hand soaps
  • Lotions that contain “alcohol”
  • Your homies’ advice

Helpful tips

  • Beware of your Pets. Pets bring many potential dangers to tattoo aftercare. Hair, dander, drool, urine and feces all present very real dangers to your home environment while healing any injury. Things can go sour very fast, infections are real. Be aware of your surroundings. Clean and disinfect all potential areas you may come in contact with pet hair and waste. Minimize direct contact with your pet for at least 1 week after getting tattooed.
  • Ice down your poor injured skin while your tattoo is still bandaged. This will bring down swelling, soreness and over all discomfort. Your skin will thank you for it. You can also ice down the tattoo the following day/s when you have some down time. Just wrap your tattoo with clean saran wrap and ice over protective film. Wash tattoo afterward.
  • Taking a couple of Tylenol before bed the day of your tattoo will also help with swelling and soreness. You will sleep and rest better when your tattoo is not throbbing with every heartbeat.
  • Wear soft, comfortable clothing. There is nothing worse than having to go through your work day with a pair of jeans that’s constantly irritating your tattoo. This will cause unnecessary irritation, prolonging your healing time. And, may possibly cause permanent damage, resulting in need of a “touch up”.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. The rumors are true. Alcohol does thin your blood and raise your heart rate. It may be possible to start bleeding again days after being tattooed due to alcohol consumption. For best results, it is advised to abstain from alcohol days before, day of, and days after being tattooed to ensure your immune system is strong and your blood will be healthy to do it’s job of healing your skin.
  • A healthy diet and plenty of water. Your tattoo is now a part of your skin and a part of you. Health starts from within. Proper nutrition and hydration are key to recovering quickly and with less chances of something going wrong. If your immune system is weak, it’s generally an indication of your overall health.
  • Avoid working out for about a week. Sweating out of your pores is much different from sweating into your cuts. If you have ever felt the sting of sweat as it enters a cut on your skin, then you know what I’m talking about. If you have to workout. Try to wait at least a few days after. Do not workout a full routine till after 2 weeks of getting tattooed. I like to tell my athlete clients to do half their normal routine half the time. If you normally workout 4 times a week for an hour, then workout twice a week for half hour. Always wash your tattoo immediately before and immediately after working out.
  • Protect your tattoo from sun fading. Sunlight(UVA,UVB) is your tattoo pigment’s worst enemy. Excessive unprotected exposure to sunlight with fade your tattoo the fastest. Taking measures to protect your tattoo from too much sunlight throughout the life of your tattoo will ensure your tattoo looks as fresh and bright as possible, as long as possible. Wearing long sleeves and hats are one way of protecting your tattoo from the sun. When long sleeves are not an option(after all tattoos were meant to be seen), applying sun screen is one of the best ways to protect your work of art. I have seen different suggestions on what SPF sunscreen to use. Some say minimum of 15SPF, others say a minimum of 30SPF, even 45SPF. I say, no one knows your skin better than you. Apply your favorite sunscreen when you know your tattoo will be exposed to the sun. Do Not apply sunscreen during the first 2 weeks of healing after the initial tattoo is performed. Sunscreen is for the life of your tattoo, not for initial healing. This is for long term care.

And last but definitely not least….

…..the DON’TS!

  • DO NOT pick, scratch, or peel any loose skin or scabs! They will come off when ready. And don’t worry when your scabs start peeling, your tattoo is not coming off!
  • DO NOT soak your tattoo in pools, ocean, baths, hot tub, saunas etc. Short showers only until completely healed (approximately 2 weeks).
  • NO direct sunlight until completely healed.  Constant unprotected exposure to sunlight while tattoo is healing will fade your tattoo.
  • DO NOT shave over your tattoo until it has healed.
  • DO NOT listen to your friends, your relatives, or your significant other about tattoo aftercare….. Unless they are the artist who gave you the tattoo.

 

 

Piercing After Care

Basic everyday guidelines:

Stay healthy. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet.
Make sure bedding is kept clean and changed regularly.
Showers are preferred because bathtubs can harbor bacteria.
Keep your new piercing out of soaking water such as Lakes, Pools, Jacuzzis, etc. You may use a waterproof bandage to protect the piercing if necessary.
Avoid the use of alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Betadine, Hibiclens or ointment.
Do NOT over clean.
Avoid oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing.
Avoid stress and recreational drug use including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
Avoid ALL beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays.
DO NOT try and change jewelry too early. Wait at least 3 weeks or more (3 months on Navel) to change. If irritation appears with your change-out jewelry then remove and replace with the cleaned original piercing jewelry.

Cleaning:

Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning, or touching on or near your piercing for any reason.
Using the preferred liquid antimicrobial or liquid antibacterial soap, lather a small pearl size bead of soap in your hand, preferably while showering, and wash the jewelry and piercing for no more than 30 seconds and rinse well.
Let air dry or dry with disposable paper products such as paper towels. Do not use cotton type towels.
Apply Deep Sea Spray sea salt solution. Do NOT wipe off. Re-apply Deep Sea Spray up to six times daily. Remember to NEVER wipe off the spray.
Urinate after cleaning a genital piercing.

What is normal?

Initially, some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
While healing, some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry.
A piercing may seem healed before healing is complete. This is because the piercing heals from the outside in. Be patient and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing process.
Once healed the jewelry may not move freely; DON’T force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as a part of your daily hygiene routine; normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
Alternate Saline Recipe:

Use this recipe if you run out of the H2Ocean spray or mouthwash:

Dissolve 1/8-1/4 teaspoon on NON-Iodized sea salt into one cup (8oz) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is NOT better. Saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing.

Oral Piercings:

Basic everyday guidelines:

Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve in the mouth.
Take an over the counter, non-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen or Naproxyn Sodium according to package instructions.
Sleep with your head elevated above your heart during the first few nights.
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and keep it clean.
Floss daily and gently brush your teeth, tongue and jewelry. Once healed, brush the jewelry more thoroughly to avoid plaque build up.
Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Do NOT play with the jewelry. Permanent damage may result.
Avoid undue trauma, excessive talking or playing with the jewelry during the healing process can cause scar tissue, migration, or other complications.
Avoid any mouthwash containing alcohol.
Avoid oral sexual contact including French kissing or oral sex during the healing process.
Avoid chewing gum, tobacco, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, etc.
Avoid sharing plates, cups, and eating utensils.
Avoid smoking. Smoking increases risk and healing time.
Avoid stress and recreational drug use.
Avoid aspirin or alcohol, and large amounts of caffeine.
Avoid submerging in bodies of water such as lakes, pools, etc.
Cleaning Inside the mouth:

Rinse mouth 4-5 times daily with H2Ocean mouthwash 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 the tongue.
Cleaning Exterior:

Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning, or touching on or near your piercing for any reason.
Using the preferred liquid antimicrobial or liquid antibacterial soap, lather a small pearl size bead of soap in your hand, preferably while showering, and wash the jewelry and piercing for no more than 30 seconds and rinse well.
Let air dry or dry with disposable paper products such as paper towels. Do not use cotton type towels.
Apply H2Ocean sterilized sea salt solution. Do NOT wipe off the piercing. Re-apply H2Ocean up to six times daily. Remember to NEVER wipe off the spray.
What is normal?

Significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and/or tenderness for the first three to five days.
Beyond three to five days, some swelling, light secretion or a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus)
A piercing may seem healed before healing is complete. This is because the piercing heals from the outside in. Be patient and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing process.
Alternate Saline Recipe:

Use this recipe if you run out of the Deep Sea Spray or mouthwash:

Dissolve 1/8-1/4 teaspoon on NON-Iodized sea salt into one cup (8oz) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is NOT better. Saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing.

If all else fails and you still have questions. We are here to help. Please contact us directly with any concerns.

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