Suggested Tattoo Aftercare Guidelines
Leave your bandage on for a minimum of four (4) hours, but no more than twelve (12) hours. This means you have to wait to show your friends—even pulling up the corner to sneak a peak can pull at your fresh tattoo causing irritation. When it's time to remove your bandage, get in the shower and get the bandage completely wet so that if your bandage is sticking to your tattoo, you won't damage it by pulling at it.
Once the bandage has been removed, clean the area using your fingertips and a mild soap such as Ivory, Dove, or Softsoap. If using a bar soap, soap your fingertips and not the tattoo. Avoid anything containing fragrance, aloe vera, or astringents such as witchhazel or anything containing rubbing alcohol. After your shower, gently pat the tattoo dry with a clean towel and let it air dry for one hour. Apply a small amount of salve to the tattoo with clean hands, making sure to dab away any excess with a paper towel. Apply it sparingly though... use thin coats. The first night, you need clean sheets on your bed.
Until your tattoo is completely healed, you will need to clean your tattoo at least once a day. Follow the regimen described above. You will also need to keep your tattoo moisturized until it is fully healed. There are a few products you can use to keep your tattoo moisturized. Your artist may prefer one above others. Whatever you use, you must always remember to wash your hands before you touch your tattoo, and this includes applying ointments or lotions.
Some moisturizers you may use include:
Black Cat · Palmer's Cocoa Butter · Shea Butter
Fragrance-free Curel / Lubriderm / Cetaphil / Jergens / Aveeno lotions
Aquaphor · Bag Balm
Ingredients to avoid in your moisturizers include fragrances, aloe vera, and heavy amounts of petroleum or alcohol. Some ingredients that may cause irritation in certain individuals include lanolin or vitamin E. It is possible for some people to have a reaction to any type of moisturizer. Usually a bad reaction includes small raised bumps that resemble pimples. If this happens to you, call your artist immediately so they can recommend something to switch to.
One of the most common misconception with healing a tattoo is that more is better when it comes to ointment and lotion. Remember, you want your tattoo to breathe just as much as you don't want it to dry out. Use the smallest amount you need to cover the surface of your tattoo. More can always be applied later. Listen to your body. If it feels dry, itchy, or tight, it's probably time to apply more. Most people need to apply lotion about four or five times a day, but this depends a lot on your skin type. If you have very dry skin, you will probably need to apply your moisturizer more often.
Between days three and five it is normal for the tattoo to peel like a sunburn. Do not pick at it or scratch it. Instead, let the dead skin slough off as it naturally will in the shower or while you apply moisturizer.
Here is a list of things you need to avoid while your tattoo is healing. Don't forget, you paid for this in money and pain. Consider this list as insurance that your tattoo will look the way it is intended.
Avoid the following for a month to be safe:
Restrictive clothing (consider waistbands, tight clothing, shoes, bra straps, etc)
Picking, scratching, scrubbing, or itching the tattoo ·Tanning · Public Gyms
Shaving over the tattoo · Swimming pools · Hot tubs · Baths
Touching your tattoo with dirty hands · And absolutely no direct sunlight!
Finally, understand that every tattoo heals differently. Many factors go into how your tattoo heals, including your skin type, its location on your body, climate, and the method of your artist. Many types of healing are considered normal. If at any point you are uneasy or unsure about how your tattoo is healing, never hesitate to call your artist. We would rather you call and it be nothing, than to have something going wrong that can easily be helped. Some people heal very quickly with little to no scabbing, while others take longer and seem to scan no matter what they do.
Almost everyone has small amounts of "seeping" in the first couple days, which is mostly plasma with small amounts of ink pushing out of the skin. Because of this, you may want to consider wearing clothing that you aren't so attached to, as the ink can leave stains. Some people have swelling, especially on and near hands and feet. Applying an ice pack for ten minutes or taking ibuprofen can relieve this. If your tattoo is below the knee, elevating it during the first three days or so is very helpful.
You will know your tattoo is completely healed when there is no dead skin (similar to a sunburn) on or around the tattoo. After your tattoo is completely healed, always keep sunblock on your tattoo to ensure a long life for your art.
Remember, the hard part is over. Just make sure that you follow these directions, and we'll see you soon for your next one!
Contact us if you have any questions
If you have any questions or concerns about the healing of your tattoo ask us first! While taking care of your new tattoo is your responsibility, we are still here to help if you need us. Call any time 970.472.1675. If you need to leave a message, please do so so we can call you back to assist you.
You can also contact your tattooer directly through email. Click on your artist's name below to email them:
When a tattoo isn't cared for properly, it can lead to heavy scabbing, loss of color, infections, or other adverse reactions. Caring for your tattoo requires attention, but after your physical and financial investments, it's important and worthwhile to take all of the proper steps.
Everyone heals differently, so it is important to be in touch with your artist if you have any questions or concerns. Always listen to your artist before you listen to your friends. Your artist will know how their work typically heals and will know what should or should not be done to ensure the best results.
Suggested Body Piercing Aftercare Guidelines
Use one of the following cleaning solutions for healing
- Sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label), or a non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve one quarter (1/4) teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8oz) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better—a saline solution that is too strong can irritate the piercing.
- A mild fragrance-free liquid soap—preferably antimicrobial or germicidal.
Do not ever use the following on a fresh piercing
Rubbing alcohol · Hydrogen peroxide · Witch hazel · Sea breeze
Antibiotic ointment · Any ointments, gels, or lotions
Cleaning instructions for body piercings
- Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Saline soak for five to ten minutes once or more per day. Invert a cup of warm saline solution over the area to form a vacuum. For certain piercings, it may be easier to apply using clean gauze or paper towels saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
- Soap no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl-sized drop of soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds, then rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing.
- Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.
What is normal?
- Initially there may be some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising may occur.
- During healing there may be some discoloration, 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 they heal from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the tissue remains fragile on the inside. Be patient and keep cleaning.
- 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 your jewelry.
- 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.
- Take showers instead of baths, as bathtubs can harbor bacteria.
What to avoid
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing.
- Avoid friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, and playing with the jewelry. These 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 new piercing.
- Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
- Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc.
- Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing, including cosmetics, lotions, sprays, etc.
- Don't hang charms or any other object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.
Piercing Guidelines for Specific Body Locations
- A hard, vented eye patch (sold at pharmacies) can be applied under tight clothing (such as nylon stockings) or secured using a length of Ace bandage around the body (to avoid irritation from adhesive). This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excessive irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports.
- Be aware while buckling your seatbelt.
Ear and Facial
- Use the t-shirt trick: Dress your pillow in a large, clean t-shirt and turn it nightly. One clean t-shirt provides four clean surfaces for sleeping.
- Maintain cleanliness of telephones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats, and anything that contacts the pierced area.
- Use caution when styling your hair. Advise your stylist of a new or healing piercing.
- The support of a tight cotton shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially while you are sleeping.
- Clean the outside of the lip or mouth as normal.
- Use an alcohol-free mouth rinse every time you eat or drink anything besides water and after you smoke for the first two weeks.
- Avoid alcohol for two weeks as it will make the area around the piercing swell.
- Avoid kissing and oral sex for six weeks.
- Genital piercings—especially Prince Alberts—can bleed freely for the first few days. Be prepared.
- Urinate after using soap to clean any piercing that is near the urethra.
- Wash your hands before touching your piercing.
- Avoid sexual activity for six weeks. Sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.
- Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, etc. to avoid contact with your partners' body fluids, even in monogamous relationships.
- Use clean, disposable barriers on sex toys.
- Use a new container of water-based lubricant. Do not use saliva.