Forum: Arts / Body Art

Body Art
The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints (karma: 4)
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 25878, member since Tue Jul 16, 2002
On Tue Nov 07, 2006 12:27 PM
Made sticky by Theresa (28613) on 2006-11-07 18:09:41

I know aftercare is covered in both Muffin and PoT's posts, but there have been a lot of questions about aftercare for both piercings and tattoos, so I thought I'd have a post with all of it in one place for everyone's convenient reference.

Piercings

Listen to your Piercer
Take the aftercare sheet and listen closely to what s/he says. I've found that piercers talk really, really fast. I dunno why this is, but they do. So you might catch some of what they say, but not all. Any reptuable piercing parlor will have a sheet they give you to fill in the holes. Read it carefully and if you have any questions, never hesistate to call your piercer. Most are very happy to answer questions for you, especially first timers.

Do your salt soaks
I know of very few piercers who recommend against a salt soak. Mine is one of the few, I think. It's been a while since I've done one, but the ideal salt soak is non-iodized salt in distilled water. Tap is okay in a pinch, but you might have a harder time dissolving the salt. My recepticle of choice is a shot glass, but that can be difficult with certain ear piercings. Do this twice or three times a day at least for the first 3 weeks, more if your piercer recommends.

Never use Neosporin or Hydrogen Peroxide on a Piercing
This is a common misconception. Neosporin is specifically not labeled for use on a puncture wound. It even says so on their packaging. It is to be used for surface wounds only and will be covered a bit more in the tattoo section. As for HP, it can be used on puncture wounds. The problem is, it kills the good bacteria as well as the bad. That can lead to reinfection and nobody wants that. I used HP once on my nose under the supervision of a doctor and only for 2 days to help clear up an infection in my nose. After that, I was on oral antibiotics. On that note...

If your piercing gets infected
See a doctor. Do not remove the jewelry. If you do, it could heal over and cause an abcess which is horribly painful and often requires medical help. Do not touch it anymore with your hands unless they are impeccably clean or you have gloves on. Dirty hands are the #1 cause of infection in new piercings. Most people just unconciously touch them and the bacteria from your hands gets into the piercing. Taking antibiotics is fine and may actually help your piercing heal faster.

Try to avoid sleeping on it
This can be easier said than done. I had a bad habit of sleeping on my helix. Pressure is not good for new piercings. When getting an ear piercing, take this into account. The first month is crucial and if you spend it sleeping on it, that's no good. It can irritate the piercing and cause more dreaded "crusties".

Keep up with Heat and Cold Compresses
The first few days, you want to ice it to keep the swelling down. This is especially true for tongue piercings. Ice it up to 4 times a day in the first week. After that, ice as necessary. As for heat, this can help get blood into low blood flow piercings to speed up the healing. This is ideal for traguses and rooks, so take note those of you with them. Take a warm washcloth and put in a plastic baggie. Also do this up to 4 times a day, especially before bed. This will help promote healing, reduce swelling, and encourage the "crusties" to fall off on their own.

Don't be afraid to take pain medication
A piercing is going to hurt, that's obvious. You just poked a hole in your body. It's okay to take some OTC pain meds for it. However, if you're still experiencing the same level of pain after about a week or so, call your piercer or a doctor. That is not normal and should be seen to immediately.

Tattoos

Listen to your artist
Same as under piercings, only replace "piercer" with "artist" ;)

Keep it covered
Don't remove the bandage until your piercer says so. It could be between 2-4 hours. We still have the open wound issue and it's most likely to bleed immediately after the tattooing is complete. If you have trouble removing the bandage, run a little warm water on it and then gently peel it off.

Keep it moisturized
This is very important. I was supposed to moisturize mine 3 times a day for the first 2 weeks and then "when necessary" after that. You can use all manner of things and listen to what your artist recommends. I went the cocoa butter route. If it gets dry, it can affect how the final tattoo will look and not in a good way.

Keep it clean
Wash it once a day with unscented and/or antibacterial soap and a washcloth. The antibacterial insn't necessary, though some artists will insist on it for the first two weeks. Mine didn't and everything was still fine. Should there be scabbing or peeling, scrub it gently, don't force it off.

Scabbing, Peeling, and Itching
Your tattoo will go through all three steps, probably in the first 2 weeks. It's an open wound, so scabbing is natural. It might be worse in some places than others, but have faith it will come off. After that, it will peel like a sunburn. It may be itching off and on during the entire process, but that's a good sign. It means it's healing. If it itches too much, scratch around the tattoo. I've found that fools my body into thinking I'm actually scratching the tattoo.

If your tattoo gets infected
I was told to use a thin layer of Bactine, not Neosporin, should it show signs of infection. Bactine doesn't promote scarring the way Neosporin does. My dermatologist gave me Bactine to use on a surgical scar, to give you an idea. I know some artists don't believe in this. The best thing to do is call a doctor at the first sign of infection. They may give you an oral antibiotic rather than a topical, but it's still best to see a doctor and consult them.

In Conclusion...
I hope this was helpful to everyone to have a one stop shop for all their aftercare needs and advice. As you already know, piercing and tattoos are a big responsibility. Proper aftercare is a must to ensure the long life of your piercing or tattoo. If you take good care of them, they will last you a lifetime of enjoyment and prettiness.

7 Replies to The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints

re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By Yvonnemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 3624, member since Sat Dec 04, 2004
On Tue Nov 28, 2006 11:18 AM
Great Post!!!!
my Aunt is giving me a seconed hole in my ear soon and now i know what to do!!!! Thankyou! I got my first hole ten years age so i don't really rember how to take care of it but because of this post i do!


~E
re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By MssDD Comments: 7, member since Thu Dec 21, 2006
On Thu Dec 21, 2006 12:21 PM
WOW! That is so cool! Thanks a lot!
re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By K_kirsty Comments: 27, member since Sat Mar 07, 2009
On Sat Mar 28, 2009 07:43 AM
thanks ive got my hips pierced and im scared incase they get infected but im more reassured now :)
xx
re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 25878, member since Tue Jul 16, 2002
On Sat Mar 28, 2009 09:17 PM
^They'll probably reject within 6 months. Just FYI.
re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By moomintrudemember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 2579, member since Mon Mar 10, 2003
On Tue Mar 31, 2009 04:09 AM
good timing on this post! Just had my first wrist tattoo done, and wow does it itch! I'm awful as I always used to pick my scabs when I was little (yeah yeah gross I know!) It is killing me to not pick my wirst. But I tired the scratching around and it seems to work, so yay!!

also my artist advised using sudocrem or nappy rash cream. As i have Sudocrem (my mom has really bad psoriasis) I've been using that. Is that ok or should I maybe try some cocoa butter?

MOOM
re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By PinUpGirlmember has saluted, click to view salute photosPremium member Comments: 25878, member since Tue Jul 16, 2002
On Wed Apr 01, 2009 11:11 AM
If it's healed past a certain point, puting some kind of anti-itch cream should be fine. It may sting or burn a little, but it'll also stop the itch.

I usually alternate my unscented lotion with anti-itch cream after about a week of healing.
re: The Guide To Healthy, Happy Body Art: Aftercare Reminders and Hints
By alanbstardmp Comments: 22, member since Sun Mar 15, 2009
On Fri Jul 31, 2009 06:26 AM
is there such a thing as body art that's healthy?

ReplySendWatch