Aftercare for Your New Tattoo

Follow these steps while your new tattoo heals to help keep it looking fresh.

Additional Info

Take cool to lukewarm showers. Scalding hot water will not only hurt but may fade the ink. Wear a physical blocker sunscreen with at least 7% zinc oxide sunscreen during the daylight hours and/or cover it up.

If your tattoo scabs a bit or develops hard layers, don’t worry. It’s normal. But never pick scratch, or peel it. You could get an infection or remove the ink.

If you think your tattoo is infected, or isn’t healing properly, go see your doctor as soon as possible.

Aftercare for Your New Piercing

Keep it CLEAN

Keep it DRY

Don’t touch it

Keeping it clean in this context does not mean “clean the piercing as often as possible” but instead, avoid getting anything irritating around the area. The only product you should use on your piercing is sterile saline wound wash or clean water.

Whichever you choose, use it to rinse the piercing and the surrounding area twice a day (at the most) by spraying or rinsing with it. Saline wound wash and water are both helpful as they rinse away any irritants or debris without disrupting the natural environment your body creates to heal your piercing. In other words, spraying it on a cotton swab or cotton ball and wiping the area is ineffective and a waste of product. More aftercare DOES NOT MEAN your piercing will heal faster. It is possible to overclean your piercing and cause more harm. Less is more.

Keeping it dry is essential. It is also a good practice for all piercings. Bacteria enjoy warm, wet, and dark places, so taking the time to gently dry the area can help prevent potential issues. This can be done by using a blow dryer on the coolest setting, or gently patting dry with clean gauze. Use caution when drying with towels/washcloths as they can snag on jewelry.

Don’t touch it is another essential part of aftercare, and you will avoid most issues by not touching or handling your piercing. As tempting as it can be, don’t fiddle with your piercing or spin the jewelry, especially while healing. The idea that you should twist your jewelry is outdated and will cause more harm to your piercing. You’ll likely notice your new piercing secretes an off-white fluid that dried to a honey-colored scab. This can make your piercing feel “tight” or that the jewelry is “stuck” This is normal. Don’t pick at the scabs that form, as doing so can increase your risk of infection, and will likely make your piercing take longer to heal. Allow these scabs to fall off on their own. They may soften and fall away in the shower, but don’t be more aggressive than that with removal.

Don’t sleep on your fresh piercing. Do your best to avoid sleeping on a fresh piercing or keeping it in direct contact with anything. This is especially important for ear cartilage piercings. Sleeping on a fresh piercing can cause irritation, and even lead to the piercing shifting and the angle being permanently crooked. It can also lead to the piercing not being able to be healed at all.

Initially, some bleeding, localized tenderness, redness, swelling, and/or bruising are normal. During healing, some discoloration, itching, and secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that dries to form a bit of “crusties” on the jewelry can be expected. During this time the tissue may tighten around the jewelry as well. Healing time varies from person to person, and factors like overall health, stress, getting enough sleep and nutrition can impact how long it takes your piercing to heal.