Tattoo Aftercare

- Remove bandage 2-4 hours after receiving your tattoo. Wash with mild soap and warm water. This is the only time you will wash your new tattoo. 

- Make sure your hands are clean and apply a small amount of fragrance free hand lotion (such as Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion). This should be done a few times a day for the next week. 

- After your bandage is removed make sure that any clothing that touches your new tattoo is soft and clean. Be careful that clothing does not rub against your new tattoo; belts, bras, socks, boots, etc.

- A light scab will appear in a few days. Picking, scratching, or trying to remove it will cause delayed healing, loss of color, and possible infection. 

- Keep your new tattoo as dry as possible while healing. DO NOT let shower spray directly onto your new tattoo, DO NOT soak in bathtub, and DO NOT swim.

- Keep your new tattoo out of the sun and tanning beds until fully healed. A short exposure to the sun or tanning bed can result in a seriously burned, ruined and/or painful tattoo. After your tattoo is fully healed, use sunblock when outdoors. 

- Depending on the nature of your work, it may be necessary to wear appropriate clothing to protect your tattoo while healing, particularly if you work around grease, dust, oil, etc.

- DO NOT re-bandage your new tattoo.

DO NOT take advice from anyone other than your tattoo artist or a doctor on the care of your new tattoo.

Body & Facial Piercing Aftercare

Cleaning Solutions

A mild liquid antimicrobial/germicidal medicated soap such as Provon or Salin, and water. Inferior alternatives include products such as Almay Clearly Natural, Hypocare, NurtiBiotic or other mild fragrance and color free liquid antibacterial soap. These should possibly be diluted with distilled or bottled water, depending on product strength. Also, mild non-iodized (no iodine) sea salt soaks as described below. 

Cleaning Instructions

Body piercings need to be cleaned once or twice daily, every day for the entire initial healing time. Most people clean morning and/or night, in the shower. Do not clean more often 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. 

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

Prepare the area for the cleansing by rinsing and 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 jewelry and gently rotate the jewelry back and fourth a few times to work the solution to the inside. (You do not need to rotate your jewelry during the first several cleanings).

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.

Gently pat dry with disposable paper products such as gauze or tissues, as cloth towels can harbor bacteria.

*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 care regimen, even if it is past the stated average healing time range.

What is Normal

Bleeding, bruising, discoloration and/or swelling is not uncommon. Any break in the skin, including a new piercing can bleed or bruise. These are not indications of any complication. Studies show non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) can help minimize swelling. 

Some tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. You may feel stinging, burning, aching and other unpleasant sensations 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.

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 healing piercing.

Tightness is normal. Do not expect jewelry to swing freely in most body piercings, even after they are thoroughly healed.

What to Do

  • Wash your hands prior to contact on or near the area of your healing piercing.
  • Leave the piercing alone except for when you are cleaning it. It is not necessary or advisable to rotate the ring while healing except during cleanings.
  • Leave the starter jewelry in during the entire minimum initial healing time!
  • Check twice daily with clean hands to make sure the balls are screwed on tight on threaded jewelry such as barbells. Both balls tighten to the right.
  • If you like your piercing leave the jewelry in at all times. Even old, well healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person, and even if your ear lobe piercings stay open without jewelry your body piercings may not!
  • Make sure your bedding is clean and changed frequently while you are healing, especially if pets get into your bed.
  • Wear clean, comfortable, breathable fabric clothing in the area of your body piercing. 
  • In the event that the piercing drains a thick pus discharge instead of the normal liquid secretion, you may wish to see a physician for evaluation and possible antibiotic treatment. If you do have an infection, the jewelry should be left in the piercing to allow for drainage of pus. If the jewelry is removed, the holes can close up, resulting in an abscess. LEAVE YOUR JEWELRY IN!

What to Avoid

  • Don't us alcohol, peroxide, Betadine or Hibiclens as they are overly strong and drying which can hinder healing. 
  • Don't apply any ointment such as Bacitracin, Neosporin or any triple antibiotic ointment on your piercing. These prevent oxygen from reaching the wound and form a sticky residue which can cause complications. They are not designed for use on healing piercings. 
  • Don't over clean. Cleaning more often than once or twice a day is NOT better. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
  • Avoid oral contact, rough play, and contact with other's bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing. 
  • Don't use band-aids on a healing piercing. They limit air circulation and the adhesive can irritate the surrounding area.
  • Don't hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.
  • Avoid submerging your piercing in water such as pools, lakes, jacuzzis, etc. unless you feel confident that the water is clean enough for you and an open wound (which is what your piercing is while it is healing). Most bodies of water harbor large amounts of bacteria. If there is sea life, motor oil, or children in the water it is not clean enough!


These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research, and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered suitable for medical advice from a doctor. 

Oral Piercing Aftercare

Cleaning Solutions & Instructions

An alcohol-free antimicrobial or antibacterial mouth rinse should be used according to package instructions. Two examples are Tech 2000 and Biotene. These may be available in the oral medications section of your local drugstores.

Also: Mild sea sale water rinses. Dissolve a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt to one cup (8 oz.) warm to hot distilled or bottled water. (Avoid hot water for the first few days). If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you will need to eliminate the sea salt, and use only plain warm water rinses.

Rinse mouth for 30-60 seconds with solution after meals during the entire minimum initial healing time. Do not use more than 4-5 times daily and use it over intervals spaced throughout the entire day.

Rinse mouth briefly (10-15 seconds) with the mild sea salt mixture no more than twice a day. If you are cleaning too often, the top of your tongue will start to turn a white to yellowish color. Continue to clean your piercing, but reduce the number of times you are cleaning it per day. 

A new soft bristled toothbrush should be used, to help minimize the introduction of bacteria into your mouth. 

What is Normal

Swelling of the area is perfectly normal during the first part of healing an oral piercing.  It can be greatly reduced by gently sucking (rather than chewing) on clean ice. Chipped or shaved ice, or small cubes are best. The majority of the swelling usually lasts for only 3-5 days. 

Any new piercing can bleed off and on for a few days. There can also be some bleeding under the surface resulting in temporary bruising or discoloration. This is perfectly normal and not indicative of any complication. 

Tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual.  You may feel aching, pinching, tightness, or other unpleasant sensations of and on for several days or longer. 

Don't be alarmed if you see a fairly liuid, yellowish secretion coming from the piercing. This is blood plasma, lymph, and dead cells which is perfectly normal. All healing piercings secrete, it just looks different inside the mouth as it doesn't have a chance to dry and form a crust as it does on ear of body piercings. This is not pus, but indicates a healing piercing. 

Plaque may form on tongue jewelry, commonly on the bottom ball and/or post.  Scrub your barbell with a soft bristled toothbrush (gently during healing). If you are diligent with oral hygiene the jewelry will not need to be removed for cleaning, and it can usually be left in even for routine visits to the dentist. 

Once initial swelling is down, having your piercer replace the post portion of bar style jewelry with a shorter post may be wise. Jewelry which fits more closely is less likely to irritate your mouth or get between your teeth and be bitten.

Keep following the care procedures during the entire minimal initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner. 

What to do

  • Try to sleep with your head propped up on pillows during the first few nights of healing: keeping your head above your heart will help to avoid much initial overnight swelling. 
  • An over the counter, non-steroidal anti inflammatory such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) taken according to package instructions can reduce discomfort, and it can also help to diminish swelling the first few days. 
  • Check twice daily with clean hands to be sure the threaded ends  on you jewelry are tight. To clean hands, wash them carefully with liquid antibacterial soap. If your hands aren't freshly washed, dont touch yourself above the neck during the inital healing time. 
  • Replace your toothbrush an be sure to keep it clean so that everything that goes into your mouth is hygienic while you are healing. A sensitive type of toothpaste may be less irritating to your mouth during healing than a usual stronger variety. 
  • Try to go slowly when you eat and take small bites when you are getting used to your new jewelry. Cold foods and beverages feel great and can help diminish swelling. Drink plenty of liquids, especially bottled water. 

What to Avoid

  • No oral sexual contact including French (wet) kissing or oral sex during the entire initial healing period, even if you are in a monogamous relationshio. (if you had a large cut you wouldn't allow anyone to spit into it! This is essentially the same thing.)
  • Avoid chewing gum, tobacco, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, etc. during healing. Don't share plates, cups, or eating utensils. Reducing smoking or quitting is highly advisable when healing an oral piercing. Smoking increases risks and can lenghen the healing time. Avoid undue stress and recreational drug usage. 
  • Stay away from asprin, large amoutns of caffeine, and alcoholic beverages for the first several days. Alcoholic beverages include all beer, wine, and hard liquor. These can cause additional swelling, bleeding and discomfort. Refrain from eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods and beverages for a few days. 
  • Do not play with the piercing for the initial healing time period beyond the necessary movement for speaking and eating. The mouth withstands a lot of trauma from normal speaking and eating. Try to avoid other disturbances such as excessive talking, actively playing with the jewelry, or clicking the jewelry against your teeth. Undue stress on the piercing can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration and other complications. 
  • Even after healing, excessive play with oral jewelry can result in permanent damage to teeth, gums, and oral structures. Metal is harder than the human body;  be gentile. 
  • Do not use Lysterine or other mouthwash that contains alcohol. It can irritate the area and dealy healing. 
  • Don't use too many different products; select and use only one cleaning solution (such as Tech 2000 or Biotene) plus sea salt.

Tongue: Gently brush your tongue and jewelry when you are healing. Once healed brush tongue and jewelry thoroughly to keep plaque away. 

Lip / Cheek: Be cautious about opening your mouth wide when you eat, as this can result in the back of the jewelry catching on your teeth. Take small bites and go slowly at first. 

The outside of the piercing may become somewhat red or pink during healing and this is normal. Refer to the Aftercare Guidelines for Body and Facial Piercings above for instructions on how to care for the exterior surface of such a piercing. 


These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research, and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered suitable for medical advice from a doctor.