Everyone wants their new tattoo or piercing to look fantastic, which means that there are certain steps that you should take to ensure that the healing process is completely trouble free. Once you leave the studio, the aftercare of your new tattoo or piercing is your responsibility, so it’s really important to treat your new addition with respect as it is going to be with you a long time!
This page will cover the dos and don’ts for tattoo, piercing and laser removal aftercare.
When you get a tattoo, you need to remember that you have caused trauma to your skin, this means that it can take a couple of weeks to completely heal. During this time you should be really careful, as this is basically like a graze on the skin, and can be open to infection or ‘ink bleed’. Following these steps will help you to get your tattoo looking fantastic.
- When your tattoo has been completed, you will be wrapped up in cling wrap. Leave the cling wrap on for at least 3 hours to stop air and bacteria getting to your new ink.
- When you are ready, remove the cling wrap carefully. You will probably see some liquid coming out of your tattoo, don’t worry, this is totally normal. This is your body starting the healing process.
- Wash your tattoo in lukewarm water and a mild antibacterial soap gently. Do not rub the tattoo too hard. When you have finished washing it pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel, again do not rub it.
- Put a thin layer of lotion over the tattoo. We recommend A tattoo balm , this is a good natural product which will assist in the healing process and will keep your skin supple. Make sure it is a thin layer of whatever lotion you are using as a thick layer will stop air getting to the tattoo and will impact the healing process.
- Over the next 5-7 days repeat the washing process 3-4 times a day and continue to add your chosen lotion after washing.
- Your tattoo will scab – do not pick the scabs. This will lead to a patchy tattoo, and can remove ink from your freshly healing skin, and may lead to the need for touch ups.
- By day 8-9 your tattoo will probably be flaky and look a little dry around the edges. You can use a gentle scrub . Just gently rub the scrub over your tattoo, don’t apply too much pressure as you might find the tattoo sight tender. This will assist with removing dead skin and bringing your tattoo to its full glory.
- Continue using your chosen lotion to keep the newly tattooed skin flexible.
Things to avoid – Tips to keep your tattoo looking its best
- Don’t soak in a bath for at least 2 weeks after having a tattoo – water carries bacteria and can lead to infections. Just wash your tattoo in the sink or while you have a shower, avoiding prolonged soaking.
- Don’t go swimming for at least 2 weeks after having a tattoo, for the same reasons above and chlorine can irritate the skin.
- Now you have a tattoo you will need to be careful in the sun. Remember your tattoo is like a scar, and will be more sensitive to the suns rays. Ensure that you use a good, high factor sun cream on your tattoo and this will assist in keeping your tattoo looking fresh and help with keeping the colours vibrant.
- While your tattoo is healing try to avoid touching, scratching or picking at it. Also don’t let anyone else touch it, you don’t know where their hands have been!
- Wear loose clothing as your tattoo heals, as this will allow air movement to the area, and stop the clothes sticking to the tattoo site.
- Finally – don’t drink for the first 48 hours after having a tattoo. This can be detrimental to the healing process as your body is still “leaking” from the tattoo site and alcohol thins the blood and can prolong this process.
You need to remember with piercings that you have just punched a hole in your body, so while it heals, you need to be really careful as you don’t want to rip or tear this new hole.
- Wash your hands really well before attempting to clean your piercing.
- Only touch your new piercing when cleaning for at least the first 2 weeks.
- Clean with a sterile saline solution, this can be purchased from any pharmacy, or you can make one yourself:- 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
solution can irritate your piercing, so don’t put in too much salt. You can use a sterile piece of gauze or cloth to clear around the site if you find it easier.
- Once or twice a day you can clean with a small amount of antibacterial soap – this will assist with keeping the hole and the jewellry clean.
- Rinse well to ensure that all soap and/salt is removed.
- Dry carefully with a disposable paper towel. Normal towels can snag, and nobody wants that!
Tips For Your New Piercing
- If you have had a facial piercing, use the T-shirt technique. Put a clean old T-shirt over your pillow, this will stop any blood which comes from your piercing getting on your pillow.
- Don’t soak in the bath, water and bathtubs harbour germs – showers are an easy way to avoid infection during the healing process.
- Swelling, bruising and some bleeding is normal after having a piercing, but if it starts to ooze pus or starts to smell, its best to get it checked out.
- During the healing process (about 2 weeks) avoid rough play, and excess of alcohol as this can be detrimental to the healing process.
- For navel piercings, you can purchase a hard eye patch from a pharmacy, which can be placed over the navel while the site heals, this will help to stop snagging on clothing and pulling at the jewelry you have had installed.
- Be patient. You might feel the healing process is over after about a week, but don’t change the jewellry for 2-4 weeks. Holes can close and shrink even if you have had them years, to to make the best of the new piercing just let your body do its thing, keep it clean and soon you will be able to put all kinds of weird and wonderful jewellry about your person.
Aftercare For Laser Removal
So, you have decided that your tattoo wasn’t for you. People decide to get laser removal for a number of reasons, and it is important to ensure that you care for the skin carefully during this process.
- Keep the treated area clean and dry while it is healing.
- You can clean the site gently with a mild antibacterial soap and then pat dry about 3 times a day for at least the first 3 days.
- You should keep the site bandaged with clean bandaging for the first 3 days, changing when you clean the site.
- You can apply a thin layer of antibiotic cream to the site after washing and before rebandaging.
- Blistering is common and will likely occur around 8 hours after the treatment. Don’t be alarmed, this is part of the healing process. The blisters may burst, this is normal and also part of the healing process. Don’t pop them and don’t scratch or rub the site.
- You can apply a cool compress to the site after the treatment for the first 24 hours to assist with inflammation and irritation.
- After your treatment you can shower 2 hours afterwards, but try to avoid high pressure water from hitting the site, this can be uncomfortable and agitate the treated skin.
- If you are in pain, you can take 2 plain paracetamol every 4 hours. Please do not exceed 8 in a day.
- Avoid shaving the site throughout the healing processes. Remember the healing process is approx. 2-4 weeks.
Tips For After Your Treatment
- Itching can be common after this treatment, you can use Widow Cranky’s tattoo wax or any lotion which is high in vitamin E to assist with this…just use a thin layer.
- If the site of your removal turns yellowish, gets an excessive redness or looks infected, contact your doctor as soon as possible ( it is unusual but everyone’s skin reacts differently).
- Once scabbing has subsided, the skin beneath may look pink or slightly yellow, don’t worry this is normal.
- Remember to use clean towels, and to change your bedding at least once a week to avoid unnecessary bacteria getting to the site.