How to care for your new ink or piercing

So, you've visited us at Bohemian Ink. How should you look after your new tattoo or piercing?

Tattoo Aftercare

Short-Term Aftercare:

1. Leave your bandage or tattoo covering on for one to three hours after your tattoo is finished. Your artist will instruct you on exactly how long to keep the bandage there.  This process is collecting a lot of the goop, blood, and even ink from the fresh tattoo, so keep it on! You don’t want to ruin any new clothes or overly expose it at first.

2. Make sure to wash your new tattoo several times a day with a soft, non-scented, antibacterial soap to keep it clean and avoid potential infection. Make sure to do this for two to three weeks or until the tattoo is more or less healed.  Remember, never touch your tattoo unless you have just washed your hands!

3. For the first few days (we suggest three days) after washing the tattoo make sure to apply an ointment to keep it hydrated. Use this sparingly! A thin layer is better than drowning the tattoo in goo and will help it heal faster.

4. After the first few days of using ointment switch to a non-scented lotion after you wash your tattoo.

5. For the first two weeks, avoid wearing tight clothing. Otherwise you run the risk of scabbing and ink loss when clothes rub up against your tattoo. If possible, avoid sleeping on your tattoo so you don’t disturb the healing process.

6. While the tattoo is healing avoid going into large bodies of water (pool, ocean, hot tubs, etc.), the gym or activities that lead to excessive amounts of sweating, and exposure to the sun for the first two weeks. This could damage the tattoo in the healing process.  Showers are fine as long as they are quick and not overly hot. You don’t want to burn your new ink!

7. Continue this process until the tattoo is healed. And remember, don’t pick, peal or scratch any scabbing or hard layers. These hard layers are normal and picking them off could damage or remove color.

Long-Term Aftercare:

Long-term aftercare is just as important as short-term.  The more you care about how you treat your skin, the longer your tattoo will uphold it’s sheen.

1. Your tattoos will lighten up after they have fully healed. That’s normal as the layers of skin are growing back over the ink and accepting it within your skin.  But to keep a solid coloring, always make sure to put on sunscreen when going outside, especially in the summer. SPF 45 or higher and sunscreen for children are always great at protecting your skin and several tattoo aftercare brands make sun blocks designed for tattoos.

2. Always keep your tattoos moisturized, especially in areas prone to fading like hands, feet, elbows, etc.  This will help keep the tattoo in tact longer and less prone to fading over the years.

Treat your tattoo like the fine piece of art that it is and make it last!

Piercing Aftercare

Cleaning Instructions:

1. Body piercings need to be cleaned once daily, every day, for the entire initial healing time. Most people clean morning and/or night, in the shower. Do not clean more than twice a day as this can irritate your piercing and possibly delay your healing. For once-a-day cleanings, do it at the end of your day. Optimal frequency will depend on your skin sensitivity, activity level and environmental factors.

2. Before cleanings wash hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial soap and hot water. If you wish, you may wear disposable latex or vinyl gloves and/or also use a hand sanitizing gel. Never, never touch healing piercings with dirty hands. This is vital for avoiding infections.

3. Prepare the area for the cleansing by rinsing or soaking with warm water and be sure to remove any stubborn crust using a cotton swab and warm water. Never pick with fingernails! This step is important for your comfort.
Apply a small handful of cleaning solution to the area with your clean hands. Cleanse the area and the jewellery. (You do not need to rotate your jewellery during cleaning).

4. Allow the solution to cleanse there for a minute. You may bathe normally, just don’t purposely work anything other than the cleanser onto the inside of the piercing.

5. Rinse the area thoroughly under running water to completely remove the cleanser from the piercing. Gently pat dry with disposable paper products such as gauze or tissues, as cloth towels can harbor bacteria.

6. Please try to be patient. Each body is unique, and healing times can vary considerably. If your piercing is tender or secreting you should continue the self care regimen, even if it is beyond the stated average healing time range.

What is normal?:

1. Bleeding, bruising, discoloration and/or swelling are not uncommon. These are not indications of any complication. Reduce intake of aspirin, alcohol, and caffeine. For above-the-neck piercings try sleeping with your head elevated above your heart (prop up on some pillows) to limit overnight swelling. Studies show non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as Ibuprofen can help reduce swelling.

2. Some tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. You may feel stinging,burning, or aching off and on for several days or longer. During healing there may be some itching. Secretion of a fluid which contains blood plasma, lymph and dead cells is perfectly normal. It is fairly liquid, whitish-yellow in color and forms a crust on the jewelry at the openings of the piercing. This is not pus, but indicates a healing piercing.

Piercings may have a tendency to have a series of “ups and downs” during healing by seeming healed and then regressing. Try to be patient, and do keep cleaning during the entire initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner. Tightness is normal. Do not expect jewellery to swing freely in most body piercings, even after they are thoroughly healed.

3. Once healed your piercing may secrete a semi-solid white malodorous substance from the oil glands called sebum. This is not pus, but indicates a healed piercing.