Cleaning a client's skin is an important first step in the body modification process. You have to be thorough, use an antibacterial skin cleanser, and follow that with a more stringent skin prep to ensure that you remove all external bacteria prior to modifying someone. Without proper skin prep, you might inadvertently push something bad beneath a client's skin along with a piercing or tattoo needle, giving microorganisms direct access to your client's bloodstream. Using skin cleansers and skin prep products before modifying someone protects their health, which protects you as a body modification artist.
Always Prep Yourself First
Before you prep your client's skin for a modification, you have to clean your own hands well. Start by washing your hands for at least 30 seconds with antibacterial soap and warm water. Next, use liquid hand sanitizer or sanitizing wipes as a secondary effort, and then put on a fresh pair of gloves. You're now prepared to prep your clients' skin for their mod.
Skin Cleanser Options
There are a variety of antibacterial skin cleansers you can use to wash a client's skin before using a final skin prep product like alcohol or iodine and beginning a tattoo or piercing, but which one is best? Here are some of the most popular options and a few points on what each one has to offer:
Green Soap - Green soap is a favorite skin cleanser among many tattoo artists and some piercers. Just mix 10% Green Soap with 90% water, and use it to thoroughly wash the skin where you're about to perform a body modification. It's typically recommended to follow a Green Soap bath with an alcohol wipe, but we'll get into that more below.
Microsan Rx Soap - Microsan Rx is an anti-microbial skin cleanser used by health care professionals that effectively kills 99.999% of susceptible organisms within 30 seconds or less. It's a preferred option among many piercers, but it can be used as a pre-mod skin cleanser for both tattoos and piercings. It disinfects the skin and leaves it feeling clean and moisturized. Use 1-2 pumps with warm water to wash a client's skin before modifying them.
Intenze Tattoo Cleanze - This antiseptic tattoo cleaning solution was formulated with Intenze's 30 years of experience behind it. Tattoo Cleanze is a thorough skin cleanser solution that you dilute in a gallon of water. It is proven to reduce redness and cool down the skin during the tattoo process, so it's an ideal alternative to Green Soap for tattoo artists.
System One Tattoo Wash - System One's Tattoo Wash is a traditional skin prep that can be used before tattoos and piercings alike. It's a concentrated and extremely effective formula that removes all impurities and soil from the skin without causing excess irritation or discomfort to clients. Like Intenze Tattoo Cleanze, System One Tattoo Wash is a good alternative to Green Soap and Microsan Rx Soap.
Purklenz - Purklenz is an APP-approved skin cleanser that you can use to wash your hands prior to doing body modifications and that you can use as a skin cleanser on your clients. It's paraben-free and fragrance-free, it lubricates and moisturizes the skin, it cleans the skin and removes oil, grease and dirt, and it contains Chloroxylenol (PCMX). It is not meant to be diluted; use it at full strength to prep your clients' skin before modifying them.
Final Skin Prep Options
Alcohol Pads - Alcohol pads are a good skin prep options for piercings, but not as much for tattoos despite the fact that they're still widely used. Alcohol facilitates ink flow into the skin, but it also expedites tattoo ink into the bloodstream and along the path to a person's organs. Tattoo artists should avoid using alcohol pads for skin prep whenever possible. Consider alternatives like iodine swabs (for those who aren't allergic), witch hazel, or a product like Prevantics Swabs that has an additional disinfectant in it to counterbalance its alcohol content.
Iodine Swabs - Iodine is an ideal skin prep option, unless your client is allergic to iodine. Since so many people have skin allergies now, it's very important to screen each client before using iodine on them and to have an alternative skin prep option on hand for those who are allergic to iodine.
Prevantics Swabs - Prevantics Swabs have a combination of Chlorhexidine gluconate 3.15% w/v and Isopropyl alcohol 70% v/v, making this an extremely effective antiseptic skin prep option to apply to clients' skin immediately before modifying them.
Witch Hazel - Usually less than 15% of witch hazel is comprised of alcohol. It's an astringent that can be used to clean, tone and strengthen the skin. It's ability to help the skin stay taut is what makes witch hazel an ideal skin prep for tattooing.
Choosing Your Preferred Skin Cleanser & Skin Prep Combo
At the end of the day, the skin cleanser and final skin prep options you choose to use in your shop are really a matter of personal preference. We've outlined some of the top options here to guide you, but you'll have to try things out and see what you and your clients like best. Remember that many people have skin sensitivities, so it's ideal to have a couple different skin cleanser and final skin prep options on hand so that you have alternatives to offer clients when needed.
To see all of the skin cleanser and skin prep options Painful Pleasures offers, visit our Wholesale Store or our Distributor Store. You can save on our already-low prices by shopping in our Wholesale Store when placing orders of $100-$499.99. For orders over $500, shop our Distributor Store to take advantage of the lowest prices we offer industry professionals.