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Aftercare

TATTOO AFTERCARE

In order to allow your tattoo to heal well please follow my recommended aftercare.

  1. Leave the patch that I put over your new tattoo on for 24 hours. After that you can remove it gently (this is best done in the bath or shower).
  2. Wash your tattoo daily with warm water and use only a mild soap. Use Palmers Cocoa Butter daily for the first week after your tattoo, every other day for the second week.
  3. Don’t be tempted to scratch or pick at your tattoo! Your new ink will form a light scab after a few days and will probably itch like mad. If you scratch or pick at the scabs the fresh ink will be pulled out of the skin and your new tattoo will look faded and blotchy. As part of my service I offer one free touch up after six weeks – if you have picked/scratched the ink out of your tattoo I will be able to tell and you will not be entitled to a touch up.
  4. Everyone’s skin heals at different rates. As a rule of thumb expect your tattoo to have healed within one to two weeks. After this time you will experience light skin peeling (known as silver skin) which looks similar to sunburn. After this has gone your tattoo will be brighter with the vibrancy of the day it was freshly done.
  5. Until your tattoo has healed, please avoid the following: swimming, sunbathing, saunas, dirt, oil, grease, paint, industrial cleaners, caustic substances, raw meats and creams or ointments (other than Palmers Cocoa Butter or Bepanthen).
  6. Once your tattoo has healed ensure you keep it moisturised. If you go out in the sun or use sunbeds, be sure to use a high SPF sunblock, 30+ is preferable. The sun can really kill your ink and make it look old before its time.

 

PIERCING AFTERCARE

Listen to your body and care for your piercing! Not for the next two days, for the next two months minimum!

– Never touch your piercing without washing your hands with soap before and after.
– If your jewellery is threaded, check that the balls are tightened every now and then.
– Never remove the jewellery to clean a new piercing!
– Keep jewellery changing to a strict minimum, and never leave jewellery out for long.
– Don’t buy the cheapest jewellery you can find, the price reflects the quality.
– Drinking enough water means you’ll stay hydrated, healthier, and with better odds of healing faster.
– Cut down on smoking, alcohol, and other toxins.
– Eat a healthy and balanced diet. A healthy body heals faster. A multivitamin and mineral supplement may be helpful too.
– Your piercing will secrete pus. It’s a natural part of healing so don’t worry.
– Most piercing-infections are very treatable, and antibiotics should be the last option.
– Adapt to accommodate the needs of your piercing. More on this later.
– Don’t over-clean. Two times per day is enough for most healthy, healing piercings.
– Live in a clean environment (i.e. clean bed-sheets, duvets, clothes, etc.).
– Avoid sleeping on, and putting pressure on a healing piercing.
– Stick to one aftercare solution. If this doesn’t work it’s best that you consult your piercer.

Oral piercings (tongue, labret, etc.)

Rinse for 60 seconds with saline solution 2 – 3 times a day. It’s wise to do this after brushing your teeth morning and night.
We also recommend carrying a bottle of water around to rinse your mouth with after meals or drinks (coffee/tea/etc.). Rinses are beneficial even if you only do them for 10 seconds.

Surface piercings (nape, madison, etc.)

Surface piercings are generally the hardest to heal. Successful healing depends on factors like: jewellery choice, depth, area, lifestyle, and length. For example, the longer the bar the harder for pus to drain. Wearing shirts every day might annoy a nape piercing, whereas a gardener has a bad outset for a wrist piercing. It’s very beneficial to do salt-water soaks with surface piercings, preferably two times a day or more.

RISKS

– Piercing through nerves is generally a lot less dramatic than people imagine. After all, nerves are touched and damaged with virtually every piercing (explaining the slight pain). Many people have heard the urban legend where a “friend-of-a-friend’s face was paralyzed after having an eyebrow piercing”. This is an exaggeration of the truth. There have been cases where pierces have lost some sensation, have had mild twitches, or have had the feeling that the skin has gone cold or numb after a piercing. Even with these risks, the nerves normally regenerate and repair themselves after a period of time.

– Infections are a lot more common in terms of risks. Infections are most typically caused by bacteria spread from hands, so the best way to avoid one is to leave the piercing alone. Most infections can be easily treated if treated early on. Normally it’s as simple as doing the aftercare that has been lacking, although sometimes, a slightly more radical approach may be necessary. In rare cases antibiotics may be required.

– Migration/rejection is another risk. It’s impossible to say for sure if a piercing will stay or not, because the jewellery worn is a foreign object, and your body’s natural response to such objects is to reject them. Some piercings are more prone to reject, such as eyebrow piercings, but with any piercing keep in mind it may not stay there forever, and it may leave scarring to a lesser or greater degree.

– Interference with your daily life may occur, particularly during healing. For example; some piercings require that you be less active than you normally would. Some sports can put extra strain on a healing piercing. For swimmers, we highly recommend wearing a waterproof plaster over the piercing during the healing period. This protects from bacteria and chlorine salts.

– Discrimination is a fact of life, and certain companies and schools will have an issue with visible piercings. Sometimes this discrimination is based on perfectly reasonable concerns, but in any case it may be a wise idea to check what you company or school’s policy is, particularly if you work with food on any level.

SALT WATER SOLUTION (SALINE)

Start of with freshly boiled water (or better yet distilled if you have it). Fill a normal sized, clean cup with 250 ml of water and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, allowing it to dissolve. If using boiled water, leave to cool down before progressing. To use this as a soak, place the cup over the piercing, or use a clean egg-cup/shot-glass if this suits the area of the piercing better. Make sure you seal the edge off the cup to the area around the piercing, and leave it there for 5-10 minutes before removing the cup and water in a way that doesn’t leave you soaked. Any pus around the piercing should be completely softened up, and easy to remove with a clean tissue. What’s more is that the warm salt water will aid in blood-circulation, bringing oxygen to the piercing, facilitating healing.
For some piercings, this method is not possible, and a better alternative will be to use clean tissue as a compress around/over the piercing. Make up a solution as before, but this time, dip a few tissues in the solution (obviously with clean hands), and apply them to them piercing. Leave this compress on for 5 minutes, soaking it in the cup as required. Clean off any pus with a tissue.

A GENERAL GUIDELINE FOR APPROXIMATE HEALING TIMES IS AS FOLLOWS:

  • Earlobes: 1 – 2 months
  • Cartilage: 6 months – 2 years
  • Lip/Labret: 1 – 2 months
  • Cheek: 2 – 3 months
  • Nostril: 3 months – 1 year
  • Eyebrow: 2 – 3 months
  • Tongue: 1 – 2 months
  • Septum: 1 – 2 months
  • Navel: 6 months – 1 year
  • Nipple: 3 – 6 months

HOW LONG BEFORE I CAN CHANGE THE STARTER JEWELRY?
It is not recommended to change initial piercing jewelry until your piercing is fully healed, unless the new piece of jewelry is sterile. Many piercings will require a change of jewelry during the healing period as the swelling of your piercing is reduced; however, this is a procedure to be carried out by your piercer at your piercing studio with full-sterilized jewelry.

HOW IS MY PIERCING PERFORMED?
All piercings are performed with single use, sterilized, surgical needles. They are extremely sharp which makes the whole process as painless as possible. We do not use ‘piercing guns’ whatsoever as these use blunt jewelry to pierce with causing extreme trauma to the body and increases healing times and in some cases results in a piercing not to heal.

CAN I GO SWIMMING AFTER HAVING A PIERCING?
We would advise that you avoid swimming for at least 4 weeks, however if you are still not healed then check back with us for guidance.

WILL MY PIERCING GET INFECTED?
Infections are most commonly the result of improper aftercare.  By sticking to the aftercare guidance provided, infections are extremely rare.  Some people take longer to heal and therefore continuing the aftercare past the suggested time frame might be required; however over cleaning and under cleaning is to be avoided. Follow the aftercare instructions given to you after your piercing.

I THINK MY PIERCING IS INFECTED, WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Infection will usually occur during the healing phase of the piercing, not necessarily as a result of the piercing process itself. Any type of surgical procedure, whether it is a tongue piercing or a kidney transplant, carries a risk of infection even if sterile technique is followed carefully. Good hand washing is essential for the prevention of infection.
Common symptoms of infection include:

  • Pain and tenderness
  • Excessive redness around the piercing
  • Prolonged bleeding
  • Discharge of yellow or green pus
  • A change in your skin colour around the piercing area
  • Area will feel hot to the touch

The basic steps in treating a wound infection include cleaning the wound, draining infected material and applying heat to promote circulation and stimulate the body’s immune response. Antibiotics are sometimes used depending on the location and severity of the infection. Cleaning and drainage generally involve soaking the wound with a saline solution and removing debris; dead tissue, pus, dirt or other foreign material. In the case of an infected piercing, doctors will often request for the jewelry to be removed and the piercing to be left to heal. It is very important for the piercer to discuss with the physician that the jewelry should remain in place to act as a drain. If the jewelry is removed, the openings of the piercing will close up and the infection will not be able to drain, which can result in an abscess. An abscess is an infection that is trapped under the skin and is indicated by a darkening and hardening of the surrounding tissue, swelling and pain. In very rare cases of severe infection, where there is a lot of destruction of tissue in the area, the jewelry may need to be permanently removed and dead tissue and debris cut away for healing to occur. This should be clearly explained to the piercer if it appears to be necessary.
Moist heat is best for promoting healing of an infected piercing, so a warm, wet salt-water hot-compress applied to the area would be appropriate. Even more care must be taken with hand washing and avoiding manipulation of the jewelry. Sheets and clothing in contact with the area should be changed at least daily. Promote circulation and a healthy immune system with good nutrition, avoiding alcohol, and quitting smoking. This is extremely important, if not essential to the healing process.
Antibiotics are typically necessary if the infection has spread beyond the immediate area of the wound. This as known as cellulitis and occurs when the body can no longer wall-off the infection. Redness, warmth to the touch and extreme tenderness extending more than a half-inch from the piercing itself would be suspicious for cellulitis. In most cases, early treatment with antibiotics manages infection before it becomes severe.
Infected cartilage piercings such as the nose and upper ear will take longer to heal, as cartilage does not have its own blood supply; it depends on the surrounding tissues to provide oxygen and nutrients by diffusion. This also makes it more susceptible to infection and harder to treat. Destruction of cartilage by an infection can also lead to deformity of the ear or nasal contours. While most of these infections still clear well with early use of antibiotics, it is a risk that you should know about.