1How long does the tattoo healing process generally take?
Tattoo healing time varies depending on the person, though typically from the inking to the initial surface healing can take 7 – 14 days. However, your body is still regenerating skin cells after this, so it is important to continue moisturizing.
2How long should I wait before removing the bandage?
Remove the bandage no sooner than 4 hours after, though it can be left on overnight. If you were tattooed early in the day, you may remove the bandage before going to bed. The bandage should be removed within 24 hours of receiving the tattoo. We don’t recommend rebandaging after the first bandage is removed.
3How often should I clean my tattoo? What kind of soap should I use?
The tattoo should be thoroughly cleaned immediately after removing the bandage, and cleaned daily from there on out. We recommend cleaning it multiple times on the first day. Pat the tattoo dry (don’t rub) with a lint-free cloth or paper towel to avoid irritation, and let the tattoo air out for 20-30 minutes before applying moisturizer. We recommend using a gentle, liquid antibacterial soap, though other hand or body soaps can be used as long as they are thoroughly rinsed from the tattoo. You want to avoid excess absorption of water by the tattoo, so washings should be efficient and deliberate to minimize time.
4Should I apply lotion to my tattoo? What kind of tattoo care products do you recommend?
Yes. Moisturizing your tattoo regularly is extremely important. You should moisturize your tattoo 3 – 6 times per day, for roughly two weeks (though proper skincare is always important, and most tattoo enthusiasts moisturize their tattoos daily for life!). A white cream lotion or moisturizer, preferably unscented, should be used. The fewer chemicals in the product, the better! Pure cocoa or shea butter is also popular for darker skin tones. There are some manufacturers who design products specifically for tattoo aftercare that work well for long-term care (such as Tattoo Goo, H2Ocean, and Hustle Butter). Do NOT use aloe vera gel to moisturize, and we don’t recommend A&D ointment either.
5Should I expect tattoo peeling? How should I handle peels and scabs?
A well-done tattoo is expected to flake or peel much like a sunburn, though in some lower-quality tattoos, a level of tattoo scabbing is normal as well. Scabs are usually the same color as the tattoo ink. In high-density color tattoos, two or three stages of tattoo peeling is common and can take longer to heal than a single-color tattoo. Do not pick or peel the scabs because you may damage the design and have to get it retouched after it heals.
6How can I tell if my tattoo is infected and what should I do if it is?
If your tattoo is scabbing or peeling in the days after you received it, this is NORMAL and no cause for alarm. However, infection is possible, especially if you do not clean your tattoo at least once daily. Persistent redness around the perimeter of the tattoo that lasts for several days is an indication of infection (normally, irritation should subside within the first day or two). A mild infection can be treated with an antibiotic ointment, which can be purchased from your local drugstore.
7Is there anything I should avoid while my tattoo is healing?
Yes. Although there are many healing techniques recommended, it’s commonly agreed upon that avoiding soaking for the first week is advisable. This includes swimming in pools, especially chlorinated pools, as the chlorine can bleach the color on your new tattoo. You should also avoid saunas, jacuzzis, or anything that leads to excess sweating during the first week. Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight should be avoided while healing.
1Can I remove the jewelry, even for a little while?
Do not remove your jewelry until your piercing is healed. Even then, the holes may close very quickly, especially in some piercings like the tongue. If you absolutely need to remove the jewelry for a short time (such as for surgery), come in and we can put in temporary nylon retainers.
2How can I tell if I have an infection on my piercing, and what should I do?
The most obvious sign of infection is pus coming out of the piercing (although on tongue piercings, what looks like pus is often just plaque). If the pus is white, the infection is very minor. Use a strong antiseptic for just a few days. If the pus is yellow, the infection is a bit more serious. If a strong antiseptic doesn’t clear it up within a few days, come in and let us look at it. Green pus indicates a serious infection. Come in as soon as possible, and if you can’t do that, see a doctor. Whatever the case, do not remove your jewelry, as the holes may close around the infection, resulting in an abscess. Do not use ointments, such as Neosporin; they block air from circulating.
3If I clean it more, will it heal faster?
Do not over-clean; over-cleaning will irritate the piercing and lengthen the healing time. Remember, it’s not your cleaning that heals the piercing. What you are doing is just making it easier for your body to heal.
4What is this red bump?
A small ridge or bump of scar tissue looking a bit like a pimple or small infection is probably a keloid. Whatever you do, do not pick at them as this can make them bigger. There are a few things you can try to reduce them (what works is different for everybody): put vitamin E or aspirin on them; see a dermatologist for recommended medical techniques; reduce the jewelry gauge (although this is not always an option). Generally, a keloid appears because of irritation, so your goal is to remove the irritation. Catching keloids early is important in stopping them.