The first step in any aftercare routine is to wash your hands!
Most infections and other complications are caused by dirty fingers.
Oral Piercing Aftercare
Oral aftercare is not just for tongue piercings, but also for any lip piercings, such as a philtrum or monroe. This aftercare should be followed for the first 30 days after receiving your new oral piercing.
A non-alcohol based, anti-microbial mouthwash should be used twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening. Each rinse should last 30-60 seconds.
In addition to the oral rinse, saline or distilled water rinses will assist in the healing of your new piercing. You should do an oral rinse (see below for saline recipe) after anything goes into your mouth. We mean anything besides water or ice cubes. This includes (but is not limited to) things like fingernails, pens, pencils, cigarettes, food, etc. We repeat, anything but water or ice cubes! Rinse for about 15 seconds, then spit. Now we should be clear – it’s not after each sip, each drink, but after each cup of juice.
Natural alternative options:
Some clients that are into natural herbal remedies love drinking chamomile tea as a rinse.
While Primal Decor is not well-versed in herbal remedies, this is a commonly-used method and we do know it will not hurt your piercing.
Oral piercings have a tendency to swell quite a bit, hence the larger starting jewelry. Swelling can last for 3-5 days, sometimes longer, so do not stress about it if you are dealing with swelling after 5-7 days.
Things that can help with the discomfort of swelling are:
• Ice: crushed ice is easier to deal with, especially for tongue piercings.
• Anti-inflammatories: OTC Ibuprofen or Naproxen Sodium (taken according to package directions) can help with swelling and pain associated with oral piercings.
Tongue piercing diet:
Stick to soft, cold foods for as long as the swelling lasts – ice cream, yogurt, applesauce, ice pops, Ensure, etc. AVOID hot, spicy foods!
Avoid undue trauma such as excessive talking or playing with the jewelry during healing.
Keep your water bottle clean by rinsing with 1 part bleach to 10 parts water every day to avoid contaminating your new piercing with germs.
Non-Oral Piercing Aftercare
This method should only be introduced after the initial healing is finished. A good rule of thumb is when the piercing is no longer tender to the touch (usually after 30-60 days).
This does not mean you should not shower normally or that you should not use soap to wash your body as you normally would. This just means that while your piercing is healing avoid focusing on your piercing with soap. Soap is really harsh on new cells developing in and around the piercing. We want to create a healthy healing environment for your new piercing. But, after a month to three months switching to a gentle soap is A-okay!
Just make sure it’s a gentle soap. Nothing crazy like Dial or the like. Antibacterial soap is way too harsh for your skin, let alone a piercing
While bathing/showering take a small amount of a gentle soap like Dr. Bronners baby shampoo or something similar. A dime size should be sufficient. Lather up to a thick foam and gently clean around the piercing while also gently cleaning the jewelry. Use your hands to gently guide the water to rinse off the soap. Do not twist, rotate or move the jewelry.
Never let shower water directly hit your new or newish piercings. It can irritate them.
Saline Cleaning and Hot compressing (Our favorite!):
First and foremost be sure to wash your hands thoroughly. Then, get your saline solution, either made using the recipe provided below or the NeilMed you may have gotten at our shop. Heat it if you wish, to a warm but comfortable temperature. Heat is not needed, but it does make cleaning easier. Take a clean cotton swab and start at your piercing, cleaning in an outward motion, always pulling the germs away from – not towards – your piercing.
Please note that crusties are a normal part of the healing process. If they are not easily removed, leave them be and don’t try to rub/pull them off. Take another cotton swab and dry the area when finished cleaning.
For pre-made, bottled saline, we carry and suggest using NeilMed. It is isotonic, which simply put means that it will not over-salt your piercing while it is healing. It is great for travel or just for convenience sake.
Once saline solution is mixed thoroughly, heat the mixture to as warm as you can stand it- Be careful not to burn yourself! For navels, nipples, and male genitals, it’s easy to take a clean disposable item like non-woven gauze, clean maxi pad or a clean paper towel and saturate it with warm salt water. Apply compress over your piercing and let sit for 10-15 minutes.
Hot compressing a piercing forces blood to the area which promotes a faster healing response. If you feel your piercing is sore after a hot compress, you can ice compress and take an anti-inflammatory. (Ibuprofen should only be used as directed on the bottle and only if you are not sensitive to it.)
Think of your hot soaks as a security blanket: When in doubt, hot compress. If your piercing looks weird to you, if it feels sore, or if you think you might have snagged it on your seat belt, etc… Hot compress.
Also keep in mind you can overdo it! Believe it or not, you can over-clean a piercing. The best thing to do is trust your body: It’s a healing machine! Unless you are super active or somehow cause your piercing to get extra dirty, two times a day for five to ten minutes is sufficient aftercare. Even less if its doing well. Listen to your body. Do not over think your aftercare.
Keep it clean, keep your hands off of it, keep your hands clean when touching it and it should be just fine.
Please see FAQS for piercing complications.
At home saline recipe as per Wound Care Essentials Third addition
At home saline solution recipe:
In a clean container, combine:
* 1 tsp of non-iodized salt
* 1 quart of distilled water
Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
This solution can be stored for up to 1 week at room temperature in a tightly covered glass or plastic container.
Now, as humans sometimes we think more is better. Not true for your saline recipe. Follow the recipe and if you feel your piercing is too dry or irritated reduce the salt. If you find this to be too high maintenance then we sell a sterile saline solution that you can pick up at any time.
Now whats all the talk in our industry about not making your own saline?
Well here is the deal. Saline is easier on your wounds. It feels better and it’s less harsh on a wound with the only exception being just simple distilled water.
If you make your own solution, you may risk using too much salt making it a Hypertonic (too salty) Saline solution. This would cause irritation and drying of a piercing which can interfere with the natural healing process.
The other problem is that you may make the solution with not enough salt. This would make your solution Hypotonic (not salty enough) saline. This can cause excess moisture around your piercing and this can cause other irritations especially if you live in humid climates.
The other risk is that you may not make the solution in a clean way. Meaning you may contaminate your solution with dirty hands and or put it in a dirty container. This can introduce bacteria.
As a whole, the piercing industry is steering away from DIY saline to better help clients succeed in their aftercare because we know you are totally worth it!
Being open for 21 years, Primal Decor has many different types of clients. We have some that love the ease of the newer NeilMed saline option that has only been available in recent years. It’s perfectly balanced and user-friendly. However some of our clients that have years of experience with piercings still love the DIY saline method provided in your aftercare baggie.
Please know we are here to support all your needs and are always available for any questions you may have.
We carry NeilMed saline in house and a non-iodized salt to make your own.
Please do not over think your aftercare.
The truth is that your body is designed to heal.
Just breathe. Keep it clean, do not touch it, and in time your body will do its job by creating a nice beautiful piercing tunnel.
Listed in months:
Side Lip: 3-4
Center Lip: 3-4
Vertical Lip: 3-4
Tongue Web: 1-2
Single Point: 8-24
Common Genital: 1-3
All healing times are approximate.
Everybody is different. Some people take longer to heal than others. Please feel free to call or come in if you have any questions about your aftercare.
What you’ll need:
• Gentle soaps such as Dr. Bronners or Baby Shampoo.
• Tattoo ointment such as Primal Decor brand, breathable oils like coconut or jojoba, Emu Oil. There are lots of brands on the market. Avoid Petroleum based items as they will not allow your tattoo to breathe.
• Gentle lotion such as Curel or Lubriderm.
How to care for your new tattoo:
Remove bandage after 1 hour and gently wash your tattoo. Do not scrub. Use lukewarm water and antimicrobial soap to gently remove any excess ink or dried blood.
Gently pat your tattoo dry with a clean paper towel, such as Viva – they are softer and less irritating.
Let air dry for about 20 minutes.
Apply a thin layer of ointment. DO NOT RE-BANDAGE!
Continue to apply ointment 3-5 times a day or whenever tattoo feels dry. Be sure to wash your hands any time you touch the healing tattoo or put your hands in your ointment container.
Healing time is usually 2-3 weeks. It is normal for the tattoo to form a colorful layer of skin that peels off. This does not mean the tattoo ink is coming out.
Do not pick or scratch your tattoo no matter how itchy it gets while healing. Doing so increases your chance of infection and can cause scarring.
Keep your healing tattoo out of direct sunlight. Once a tattoo is healed you should apply sunscreen to protect your new artwork from sun damage for the entire life of your tattoo.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (707) 445-2609.
Ask for Luis or Dan for your tattoo questions.