Tattoo Aftercare Instructions
First days after your new tattoo
Remove the bandage after one to two hours. All wounds need to breathe if they are to heal properly.
- Wash the tattoo using a mild antibacterial soap (Dial or Provon) and warm water. Take care to remove all traces of blood and plasma as this will cause scabbing. Do not scrub the tattoo with a washcloth during the two week healing period. Pat it dry with a clean, soft cloth or paper towel and leave it alone for about 20 minutes, basically until it starts to feel like the skin is a little tight and dry. This allows for excess moisture from the swelling under the skin as well as moisture introduced by washing the tattoo to evaporate out. It’s very important to let your tattoo breathe like this anytime you get it wet before it gets into the peeling stage.
- Once dry, apply a very thin coat of ointment to the tattoo. We recommend using Vitamin A&D or Aquaphor as ointment, or other such tattoo aftercare products. Only use enough to make it shine, a little goes a long way. Too much ointment traps germs into your new tattoo which can potentially lead to infection. Just a dab will do. Work it in well. Dab off all the excess with a paper towel. There should be just enough to keep the tattoo moist and keep it from scabbing. Do not re-bandage the tattoo.
- Repeat the cycle of washing, drying and applying ointment to the tattoo about 3-4 times per day for the first 3 days (while the tattoo feels tender).
- Ointment can be applied whenever the tattoo is feeling stiff or dry but beware of over-moisturizing. Your body will absorb what it needs where it needs it. Apply ointment twice a day for two to three days then switch to a regular ‘unscented’ moisturizer like Tattoo Goo Lotions, Out to Sea Lotions or something over the counter such as Eucerin, Lubriderm, Curel or Jergens. Apply moisturizer twice a day for the remainder of two weeks. Do not use lotions that contain color or fragrance at all until the healing is complete. (Usually anywhere from ten days to two weeks; Possibly longer for the slower healers.)
You must keep your tattoo moisturized!
- When the tattoo is kept moist it doesn’t have a chance to form a scab but does form a thin membrane to protect the tattoo while it heals. This layer peels off very similar to a sunburn (do not peel your tattoo, you will pull the ink out!) and its perfectly normal to see small flakes of colored skin falling off during this stage of healing.
You must keep your tattoo clean!
- However, long showers or baths must be avoided for two weeks. Prolonged soaking can and will loosen scabs if any have formed, or will soak through the soft tissue turning it into a soggy mess and causing your ink to flow down the drain. This includes swimming in the Ocean or a Pool, Hot tub and Saunas. Short showers are best, under ten minutes if possible.
Please refrain from scratching or picking at the tattoo.
Scrubbing with a wash cloth can be very harsh on a tattoo and will cause your colors to fade. Disrupting the tattoo while its healing can also cause scar tissue. It is normal for the tattoo to become very itchy during the healing time. Just remember not to pick or scratch no matter what!
Remember, the sun is bad for your tattoo!
Whether the tattoo is new or old. If you want it to look nice and heal properly, keep it out of the sun. A sunburn on a tattoo can cause a lot of problems. It will dry out your tattoo and could cause it to form a horrendous scab resulting in fading before it’s even healed. It will also take much longer to heal completely and promotes scarring in a new tattoo. Wait until it is fully healed to go back in the sun or a tanning bed and make sure you put on a high quality sunblock. Never put sunblock on a tattoo that is still healing. Wait until it is fully healed before going into the sun.
Following all of these simple steps will ensure that you end up with the best result with minimal complications and your tattoo will stay looking bright and beautiful for many years to come.
Piercing Aftercare Instructions
Packaged sterile saline (with no additives, read the label) is a gentle choice for piercing aftercare. We recommend using Neilmed Wound Wash with a Fine Mist nozzle, this can be purchased from the shop.
Cleaning Instructions for Body Piercings
Always wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Gently spray the saline directly onto your piercing, front and back if necessary.
- Rinse the area with clean water to remove any saline and crusty buildup, having a shower is an easy way to do this.
- Air dry the area or if needed gently pat dry with a piece of paper towel.
Cleaning Instructions for Oral Piercings
Rinse out your mouth with clean bottled water after you eat, drink, or smoke.
If you use mouthwash during your daily routine be sure to avoid the alcoholic ones as they can irritate your new piercing, and use the mouthwash no more than twice a day.
Oral piercings that are also on the outside of the mouth should be cleaned by using the “Cleaning Instructions for Body Piercings” detailed above.
What Is Normal?
Initially: Redness, bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, and bruising are normal for the first few days.
During healing: Some discolouration, 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.
Once healed: The jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. 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, keep jewelry in—do not leave it empty.
What to Do
Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing, it is not necessary to rotate or remove your jewelry.
Stay healthy; the healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet. Exercise during healing is fine; listen to your body.
Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.
Showers tend to be safer than taking baths, as bathtubs can harbor bacteria. If you bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.
What to Avoid
Avoid touching and moving jewelry in an unhealed piercing, or picking away dried discharge with your fingers. Bacteria from your hands can transfer to your new piercing, increasing the risk of infection.
Avoid harsh cleaners like Bactine®, tea tree oil, pierced ear care solutions, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other antibacterial soaps containing triclosan, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation. Use only saline.
Changing your jewelry before the recommend date can irritate your piercing. Low quality metals can also cause irritation.
Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, listening with earbuds or using ear plugs, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.
Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.
Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Swimming during the first six weeks increases the rick of infection. After six weeks be sure to rinse your piercings thoroughly after submerging them into water.
Avoid all beauty and personal care productson or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and hairsprays, etc.
Our bodies are all unique so healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact your piercer.