Tattoo And Piercing 101

Most of us want to rebel and indulge in body art, however this can be a little bit daunting – for first timers as well as those who have been getting pierced and ink for years. So we have compiled a tattoo and piercing 101 guide, for what you need to know before, during and after getting pierced or tattooed.

body art aftercare



You’ve decided it’s time for a tattoo. Whether it is your first time or just something to add to your collection of art work, it is important to choose an artist that makes you feel comfortable and at ease. Your artist needs to listen to you and give you advise. Don’t know where to start? Well we’ve compiled a list of the best tattoo parlours in Joburg. Check it out.

Next, you need to choose a design, if you don’t already have one. A good tattoo artist will work with you to design your perfect piece. Remember this tattoo is for you. It is going to be on your body for the rest of your life. It is important that this design is exactly what you want.

Once you have chosen your tattoo and artist, you’ll need to book an appointment and pay a booking fee, depending on the studio. You’ll need to be sober for your tattoo. Drugs or alcohol can make getting a tattoo dangerous, and it will also make it difficult to complete the tattoo.


Firstly, you’ll need to sign an indemnity form, this will state that you have not consumed alcohol or drugs, are older than 18 and so forth. Next, the artist will clean their work space and your chosen tattoo spot. They will put a clean needle into the tattoo gun and pour uncontaminated ink into clean bowls and put on new gloves. Next, they will put a stencil of your design on your skin (unless it’s a freehand tattoo). Now it’s time for the fun. If this is your first tattoo, ask your artist to first tattoo a little line so you can see what it feels like. Then they will tattoo. Getting tattooed differs from person to person and the area of the body, but it shouldn’t be too painful. It almost feels like a cat kneading your skin. Just a lot faster. The outlines won’t feel too bad, but the shading can grow painful after a while.


Your artist will wipe off the excess ink and blood, let you take a photo and then cover the tattoo. They will then give you the aftercare instructions. Which will be:

  • Leave your tattoo wrapped for two hours.
  • Avoid touching the tattoo. But if you do, make sure your hands are washed.
  • Wash the tattoo with fragrance-free soap.
  • Air dry or pat dry with soft and clean towel.
  • Apply small amounts of Bepanthen after washing or when it feels itchy. This must be a very thin layer.
  • Repeat this process twice a day for a week or two.
  • Your tattoo may begin to itch or scab as it is healing, this is normal.
  • Do not scratch or pick at the new tattoo, despite how much it itches.
  • Do not use tanning beds or expose the tattoo to prolonged hours of sun.
  • Do not soak a new tattoo in water, such as a swimming pool or hot tub.
  • If you suspect there is something wrong with your new tattoo, contact your artist or health care practitioner immediately.
  • After the tattoo has healed, keep it moisturised and use sunscreen to prevent fading.
  • Go back to your artist after a few weeks for touch-ups.



Piercings are great because they add some rebellious flare without the life-long commitment. There is also an almost endless amount with what can be done with a needle. Once you have decided what piercing you want it’s time to choose your piercer. Check out this list of best piercing parlours in Joburg. We recommend going for a needle piercing, as this is more controlled and hygienic. Piercing guns can be difficult to clean properly. As with tattoos, your piercer will be in close proximity and will appreciate your personal hygiene, especially considering the intimacy of some piercing areas. If you plan to get several ear piercings on both ears, we suggest you get one ear pierced at a time to make sleeping more comfortable.


The piercer will give you an option of rings to put in your piercing once completed. It’s best to go with generic jewellery while your piercing is still healing. It is also important to choose pieces that are correct for your piercing type so reduce pulling and snagging. Discuss the pros and cons of the various pieces, shapes and sizes with your piercer. Your piercer will then mark the area of your piercing and you can decide if you want it moved or not. The location of the piercing and all equipment will be cleaned. Your piercer should use a new needle and clean gloves. Then comes the moment of dread, the moment where you’re effectively paying someone to stab you. Unlike tattoos, piercing is relatively fast and over quickly. But the pain is also a lot more sharp. The piercing may even bleed. After the sharp pain you’ll feel more pain when the earring is inserted. And then it is done. It may sting for a few hours.


Your piercer will give you aftercare instructions, which will be:

  • Avoid touching your new piercing. But when you need to touch it, wash your hands first.
  • Do not use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or antibacterial ointment to clean new piercings, as it will dry out your wound.
  • Use warm salt water to clean your new piercing with a cotton-bud twice a day. Simply, mix one teaspoon of salt with one cup of warm water, dip the bud in the water and rub the bud over the ring and around the piercing hole.
  • Be gentle while cleaning to ensure you don’t pull out the jewellery or snag the piercing.
  • Do not play with or scratch a new piercing.
  • Do not change piercing jewellery until the piercing has completely healed. This may take a few months depending on the piercing and how well you care for it.
  • For tongue piercings, rinse your mouth with lukewarm salt water twice a day and after eating, drinking and smoking.
  • Pulling and snagging of the piercing can cause re-bleeds and keloid scars. Contact your piercer or health care practitioner should your piercing site hurt after the healing time, leak pus or if you are concerned about anything else.


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