Best Way to Care for Body Art: Now and in the Future

woman with tattoos

Maybe it’s the artist in you, or maybe you want to mark an occasion with something special. Whatever the reason, you’ve decided to express yourself through body art. But before you make the commitment to a semi-permanent piercing or a permanent tattoo, you need to know that your body art will require a little extra care after the procedure and in the future. Here’s how to care for your body art:

How to Care for Tattoos

You just came home from the tattoo shop with a new piece of art. Whether it’s a tiny heart on your foot, a butterfly on your back, or “momma’s boy” on your forehead, here are the steps you should take to care for your tattoo:

  • Wait a few hours to remove the bandage, depending on the size of the tattoo and the location. The wrapping straight from the tattoo artist provides a barrier between your tender skin and harmful bacteria. The artist will give you instructions on when and how you can take off the bandage.
  • Once you remove the bandage, gently wash the area with an oil-based soap. Pat dry and moisturize.
  • Continue to wash and moisturize the area twice a day for two to four weeks.
  • Don’t soak the area in water—this means no swimming or taking baths, unless the area would not be submerged under water. You’ll need to follow this rule for three to six weeks.
  • Don’t wash with overly hot water. It could fade the tattoo and dry out your skin.
  • Scabs will form, but don’t pick at them. Let your skin heal on its own.

How to Care for Piercings

A tattoo isn’t quite your style, so you chose to get a piercing instead. Here are some rules that will help you care for it:

  • Wash the area with hypoallergenic or oil-based soap, or a saline solution. Then rinse thoroughly with water. Repeat this process twice a day.
  • Make sure you only touch the area with clean hands.
  • Don’t move or turn the piercing during the healing process.
  • If the piercing is in your mouth, be sure to practice good oral hygiene. Piercings are always at risk of infection.
  • Keep beauty products, including lotions, cosmetics, and fragrances, away from the area.

The healing process varies for each piercing, depending on its location. Ear and eyebrow piercings can take two months to one year to completely heal, while a belly button piercing can take six months to two years to heal.

Long-Term Care for Body Art

The long-term care for both tattoos and piercings is basically the same. Of course, you want to maintain the cleanliness of the area, whether it’s pierced or tatted, to avoid irritations or infections. For tattoos, apply sunscreen daily to keep them from fading. For piercings, avoid friction from clothing and make sure your bedsheets are washed regularly to prevent bacteria buildup. Don’t play with your piercing either. No matter how tempting it is, keep your hands off to keep the area clean and healthy.

 

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