Tattoos And Piercings: The Basics of Taking Care Of Your New Body Modifications

By Taylor Lambert

Never touch your piercing 

Touching, twisting, or playing with your piercing during the healing process almost ensures that you will obtain an infection. The only time you should be touching your piercing is when you clean it, but make sure to wash or disinfect your hands beforehand. 

Only use what your piercer instructs you to use when cleaning your piercing

Piercers usually recommend using a sterile saline solution, non-iodized sea salt, emu oil, and anti-bacterial solution. H2Ocean piercing spray is also highly recommended and can be found online or in piercing/tattoo parlors. Never use peroxide, rubbing alcohol, or anything that is not recommended by your piercer. 

Avoid pools, lakes, and other stagnant bodies of water

Stagnant bodies of water, such as the above stated for example, breed bacteria that are harmful to piercings. Showering is fine but baths and hot tubs should also be avoided. 

Don’t over wash your piercings 

Overwashing your piercings can cause irritation and dryness which is best to avoid during the healing process. Try to create a schedule where you clean in the morning and at night and apply emu oil after to help with moisture retention in the piercing area. 

Avoid excessive nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine use

This might be a hard one, but avoiding these three will help your piercing heal at a normal and healthy rate. Partaking in these will lengthen the amount of time that your body will take to heal your piercing, making for a more difficult process. 

Avoid foreign substances getting on or in your piercing

Now we all like to have some fun, but getting any foreign substances on your fresh or healing piercing should be avoided at all costs. This includes bodily fluids, cosmetics, hair products, and really anything that’s not used to clean the area. 

Avoid snagging your piercings

Avoid snagging your piercing at pretty much all costs. Catching a fresh or healing piercing can set back your progress and damage the already fragile tissue. 

For tattoos

Be gentle when washing your tattoo

When you wash your tattoo, you should use your fingertips or hands and a mild antibacterial soap. If you scrub your tattoo during the healing process you are almost guaranteed to damage it. After you finish washing, make sure to pat the area dry, never rub it. 

Moisturize frequently 

Apply a thin layer of unscented moisturizing ointment three times a day and continue to moisturize your tattoos regularly even after they’ve healed. Doing this will keep the ink vibrant, healthy, and slow the effects of fading. 

Never pick at your tattoo 

While it may be tempting to pick off the flaking skin on your healing tattoo, doing so will result in lack of pigmentation in the areas that have been picked or peeled. If you want to peel your skin off, go get a sunburn. 

Try to avoid too much sun on your tattoo

Getting a sunburn on your tattoo will undoubtedly cause problems, much like picking, the peeling skin on your tattoo will result in loss of pigmentation. Though completely avoiding the sun is next to impossible, using sunscreen or doing your best to cover the tattoo will work. Excess sun exposure without protection will also cause your ink to fade over time. 

Avoid standing water 

Much like a piercing, standing water such as lakes, pools, baths or any other body of water breeds bacteria which will inhibit the healing process of your tattoo. It’s not hard for infections to set into open wounds such as tattoos or piercings, but it is hard to get rid of them without causing some damage such as scarring, lack of pigmentation, or in a piercings case, one of those nasty piercing bumps we all know and loathe. 

Tattoos and piercings are sure to reap joy in our mentally ill minds, but again, taking care of them is of the utmost importance. Dealing with the aftercare of a body modification can be annoying and time consuming, but it is always worth it in the long run. Though these lists cover most, if not all, of the basics, I highly recommend doing your own research and asking your piercer or artist as many questions as possible because at the end of the day, they’re the professionals and I’m just a high schooler.

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