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Tattoos and Piercings This forum is to ask questions and discuss tattoos, piercings and other aesthetic body modifications.

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Tattoo and Piercing Care. - January 17th 2009, 08:40 AM

Tattoo Care
How you care for your new artwork depends on the type and extent of work done. Your tattoo artist should provide you with detailed instructions on how to care for the tattoo such as cleaning the tattoo with soap and water, applying moisturiser regularly and avoiding sun exposure for at least the first few weeks.

Tattoos may take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to heal. Do not pick at scabs; this can increase the risk of infection, damage the design and cause scarring.

Your artist took the care to cover up your new tattoo to keep airborne bacteria from invading your wound. Yes, as pretty as your new tattoo is, it is still a wound. Open flesh is a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. Leave the bandage on for a minimum of two hours with no exceptions.

After you remove the bandage, you should wash your tattoo.
*Use lukewarm water and mild, fragrance free soap to gently wash away any ointment, blood and/or plasma and to completely clean the area. Do not use a washcloth or anything abrasive. Your hand is your best tool in this case.
*Because moisture stays in the skin even after drying, air dry your tattoo for 10-15 minutes.
*Apply a very thin layer of desired ointment and blot any excess with clean tissue. You don't want it soggy!
*Pat the area firmly with a CLEAN towel or paper towel until it is completely dry.
*Apply your choice of ointment lightly.
*Repeat 3 times a day until the wound has healed.

Tattoo Care Guidance.
Do not use Neosporin. This is a wonderful product for cuts and scrapes, but not for tattoos. Some people can have an allergic reaction to the Neosporin, which can cause little red bumps. When the bumps go away, so does the ink, and you end up with a blotted tattoo.

Speciality Products and Lotions
If you prefer, you can also use a specialty product such as Tattoo Goo or H2Ocean. It's not necessary, as many over the counter products work just fine, but it's your choice. Use the products as directed for 3-5 days. A lot of artists recommend Bebanthen nappy rash cream; it is fragrance and colour free, and doesn't bleach the tattoo.
After that, continue to keep it clean, but you should use dye and fragrance free lotion instead of ointment.

Bathing, Showering, Hot Tubs, and Swimming
It's OK to get your tattoo wet - just don't soak it. Submerging your tattoo in a bath or hot tub can cause serious damage, so you'll want to avoid both for 2-3 weeks, but showering is perfectly fine as long as you don't saturate your tattoo. If you get soap or shampoo on your tattoo, remove it quickly with water. Swimming - whether it be a pool, fresh water or salt water - should be avoided for at least 2 weeks.

Scabbing and Peeling
After a few days, you will notice some peeling and possibly a little scabbing. Excessive scabbing could indicate a poorly-done tattoo, but a little is sometimes normal and there is no need to panic. Apply warm moist compresses to the scabs for about 5 minutes 2-3 times a day to soften them and they will eventually come off on their own. (Do not apply ointment or lotion to a softened scab - wait for it to dry)

You will also start to itch, just like a sunburn when it begins to heal.Do not pick and scratch! If the skin itches, slap it. If it is peels, put lotion on it. And if it scabs, just leave it alone. Your tattoo is almost healed, and now is not the time to ruin it!

Protection from the sun
After your tattoo is healed, you will always want to protect it from the sun's ultraviolet rays. These can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very fast. Before spending a lot of time in excessive heat, protect your tattoo with a minimum 30 SPF sunblock. This will keep your tattoo vibrant for many years.

Piercing care
The number one reason for infection is touching or playing with a piercing. Only touch the piercing when you are cleaning it!
A new piercing site may be slightly swollen, red or tender, but it typically improves over the next several days. You may notice some slight bleeding. While the piercing heals, white or yellow fluid may drain and form a slight crust on the jewelery.
Do not remove a piercing or attempt to change the jewelery before it has healed. This causes bacteria to enter the wound, increasing the risk of infection, migration and even rejection. Just leave it alone.
If you have any complications during and after the healing process you should go straight back to your piercer for them to have a look.

How to clean a piercing
* Oral piercing (tongue, lip, cheek). Use an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouth rinse for 30 to 60 seconds after meals and at bedtime while your piercing heals. Brush your teeth with a new, soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid introducing bacteria into your mouth. For oral piercings with an exterior, such as lip and cheek piercings, clean exterior with sea salt soaks.
* Skin piercing (nose, ears, eyebrow, navel). Rinse the site with warm water and sea salt soaks (see below). Use a cotton swab to gently remove any crusting. Avoid alcohol and peroxide, which can dry the skin. Also avoid ointments, which keep oxygen from reaching the piercing and can leave a sticky residue.

Piercing Care Guidance
* Don't touch the piercing or twist the jewelery unless you're cleaning it.
* Always wash your hands with soap and water before cleaning the piercing.
* Keep clothing away from the piercing. Excessive rubbing or friction can cause irritation and delay healing.
* Oral piercings, especially in the tongue, can cause substantial swelling. Depending on the amount of swelling, you may need a prescription anti-inflammatory medication from your doctor. Melting ice chips in your mouth may help any pain and swelling.
* Lavender oil promotes healing and lubricates the wound reducing tenderness. Apply a small amount with a cotton-wool bud after cleaning then move the jewelery so it gets into the wound, if you have a ring rotate it gently. Remove any excess with a tissue as leaving it on can cause the skin to become irritated.
*With oral piercings, avoid eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods or beverages for a few days.
* DO NOT use alcohol, Tea Tree Oil or methylated spirits to clean the piercing as they are all harmful to the delicate tissues forming the scar, and can cause lumps to form.

Most piercings take six to eight weeks to heal, but some types may take several months or a year to heal. During this time, you must leave the jewelery in place to prevent the hole from closing. Once scar tissue has created a "tunnel," you can change the jewelery or remove the jewelery for a short time.

Sea Salt Soaks
1. Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap.
2. Place a pinch of sea salt, about 1/8 teaspoon, in the bottom of a small disposable cup.
3. Add about 3 ounces hot boiled water - as hot as you can stand - to the salt. Leave to cool down a little. Make sure that it's not hot enough to burn the skin, but hot enough to penetrate the wound.
4. If possible, invert the cup right over the piercing and allow it to stay there for 5 minutes. This usually works well for nipple and navel piercings. If you can't create a sufficient seal against the skin with the cup, soak a cotton ball in the salt water solution and apply the cotton ball to the piercing. When it cools down, throw it away and place a newly saturated cotton ball on the piercing. Do this for 5 minutes.
5. Rinse the piercing with warm water and dry with a clean paper towel.

Soaking Tips
* Only pure sea salt is to be used. Table salt, kosher salt, epsom salts, and iodized sea salts are not acceptable. Sea salt can be found in many grocery stores and almost all health food stores.
* If you are not sure about the solution strength, put a dab on your finger and taste it with the tip of your tongue. It should be no saltier than a potato chip.
* To aid in healing a new piercing, sea salt soaks once a day should be sufficient. If your piercing is irritated, increase sea salt soaks to 2-3 times per day until the irritation subsides.
* If your piercing becomes irritated as a result of sea salt soaks, you are probably using either the wrong kind of salt or have made your solution too strong.

Last edited by Katrina; May 10th 2009 at 08:37 PM.
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