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Piercing Aftercare Guide

When you get your first tattoo, it's an exciting experience. But what happens once you get home? What are you supposed to do about aftercare?

The good news is that most tattoo artists will provide you with a printout of what proper after care looks like, but many clients are so excited about their new art, they lose the printout AND completely forget what their artist has told them. This guide exists to help you take care of your tattoo, and to fill in any memory gaps you might have about taking care of your fresh ink.


What You'll Need:

Bullet Point Non-Iodized Sea Salt
Bullet Point Mild Antibacterial Soap (ex. Provon)
Bullet Point Cotton Balls
Bullet Point Cotton Swabs

Piercing Care

1 - Salt Water Is Best Water

Mix yourself a saline solution.

Saline solution is a must-have for healing piercings. Using non-iodized sea salt and warm distilled or pre-boiled water, dissolve 4 teaspoons salt into one gallon of water. The goal is to create a 0.9% saline solution; this is the same level of salinity found in the body and will prevent irritation during cleaning. Do not mix a stronger solution. More salt increases the salinity, which can cause irritation to your piercing and result in complications.

2 - Cleanse Thyself

Wash your hands.

Your piercing is an open wound and needs to be handled as such. Wash your hands with an antibacterial soap prior to cleaning your piercing. This will prevent accidentally spreading bacteria to the site.

3 - Super Soaker

Soak the piercing for 5-10 minutes.

Soak your piercing in the saline solution. For ears, this is generally easier, because they can be dipped into a cup or bowl of solution. Belly button piercings can be soaked using an upside-down cup, which will create suction to the body. If you absolutely cannot soak your piercing, or it is impossible to do so easily, you can use either a pressurized can of saline solution (ex. Blairex) or you can dip a clean piece of gauze into the solution and hold it to the piercing.

ORAL PIERCINGS: If you have an oral piercing (such as a lip or tongue piercing), you'll use the same saline solution as mouthwash. You need to rinse for 1 minutes after every meal and snack for the first two weeks.

4 - Patience, Grasshopper

Be patient.

The length of the healing period varies from piercing to piercing and person to person. Even when you are taking care of your piercing properly, be aware that some piercings take up to 9 months to heal completely. Consult your piercer regarding you expected healing time.


Things to Avoid

You know how to clean your piercing, but what about the extra things you've been told to do? Haven't you heard that doing something else will speed up the healing process? Let's dispel some of those myths right now. This is a list of things you will definitely want to AVOID while your piercing is healing:

DO NOT

Use any "For External Use Only" products. That means stay away from Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, lidocaine, Betadine, rubbing alcohol and Hibiclens.

DO NOT

Over-clean your piercing. While cleaning is good and necessary to keep your piercing from infection, you'll only irritate your piercing if you clean it excessively. Stick with two cleanings a day unless instructed otherwise by your piercer.

DO NOT

Swim in a chlorinated pool or the ocean for the first six weeks. Both places are home to hundred of thousands of bacteria that normally can't get past your skin barrier, but can most definitely infect a fresh piercing.

DO NOT

Rotate your piercing. While many old school piercers will tell you to rotate your jewelry, the reality is that this will only irritate your piercing and expose you to the bacteria picked up on your hands.

If you follow these guidelines, you should be all set for a quick and easy healing process. Remember, if at any point you think your piercing may be infected, contact your piercer immediately. They will be the best resource for addressing any issues, including lingering pain, cysts or piercing sites that are warm to the touch.