Piercing After Care
How to take care of your new piercing
Properly caring for a new piercing is critical to its successful healing! Forget everything anyone else has ever told you and focus on these simple piercing aftercare instructions.
What not to do:
- DO NOT touch your piercing with dirty hands – this is the number one cause of infection due to the introduction of bacteria and germs. Your piercing should only be touched during cleaning, with freshly washed hands.
- DO NOT twist, turn, or rotate your jewelry. This damages healing tissue.
- DO NOT let your piercing come in contact with dirty bedding, unclean clothing, pet hair, or other people’s body fluids. You can easily snag and potentially tear your piercing. Be careful when drying yourself with a towel or washcloth and when dressing or putting on hats and scarves.
- DO NOT expose your piercing to any water other than your shower or your sea salt water solution. NO rivers, lakes, hot tubs, oceans or swimming pools. Clean and thoroughly rinse the tub before taking a bath.
- DO NOT get cosmetics, facial cleansers, acne prevention medications, tanning oils, lotions, moisturizers, hair spray, hair gels, or similar products on your piercing. Harsh chemicals may irritate your piercing. When receiving professional services such as a haircut or color, you should cover facial and ear piercings with a plastic bag or waterproof bandage (such as Tegaderm or Nexcare) to avoid exposure to harsh products.
- DO NOT use any products that have not been suggested by your piercer. This includes Neosporin, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, Betadine, Bactine, witch hazel, astringents, salves, antibiotic ointments, etc.
- DO NOT wear any tight or restrictive clothing over the piercing. Any friction may slow the piercing’s heal time.
- DO NOT change your jewelry before your piercing is healed. It is a good idea to come in and let a piercer change your jewelry for you the first time. We offer this service free of charge.
- DO NOT hesitate to stop by or give us a call if you have any questions or concerns regarding your piercing. We offer free piercing checkups and will answer any question you may have. WE ARE ALWAYS HAPPY TO HELP YOU!!
Caring For You
Understanding how your body works is important when healing a piercing. Maintaining a healthy mind, body, and spirit will allow for a fast and easier healing process.
Sickness, stress, and fatigue will have a negative effect on the healing of your piercing. Positive factors that contribute to how the body heals include: getting plenty of rest, maintaining a low-stress lifestyle, having a positive attitude towards healing, and a healthy diet that includes plenty of water. There are no short cuts or miracle products for your piercing, just your immune system.
What To Expect
- A normal healing piercing… May be tender, itchy, or bruised for a few weeks.
- May bleed a little for the first few days.
- May be slightly red. Redness may persist on and off for the entire healing period.
- May secrete a whitish-yellow fluid, which may crust on the jewelry. This discharge is normal during the healing period and will stop when the piercing is healed.
- May be swollen. An ice pack wrapped in a clean disposable paper towel and applied to the swollen area will help alleviate the swelling. You can also consult with your physician for a suggested over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to help reduce swelling.
- May need to be checked periodically to ensure threaded jewelry is still tight. Threaded jewelry is the same as most threaded items: “righty tighty, lefty loosey”. Don’t forget to wash your hands before touching your jewelry.
- May need to have jewelry downsized or adjusted after any swelling has subsided. Please visit your piercer in 3-4 weeks for a free consultation to determine if you will need to shorten or adjust your jewelry and take advantage of our free check-ups.
Caring For Your Piercing
- Sea salt soaks: Mix ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt into 8 ounces of distilled water. To make a larger batch mix 4 teaspoons of sea salt into one gallon of distilled water (shake the gallon well before use). The ratio is important, so please measure carefully! Pour some of this solution into a clean, disposable cup and warm in the microwave to the temperature of warm bath water. Soak your piercing 2-4 times daily by completely submerging your piercing in this solution for 7-10 minutes. After your soak, rinse your piercing thoroughly and gently pat it dry with a clean, disposable paper towel.
- Hot compresses made from disposable paper towels may be used for difficult soaking sites (like bridges or napes), but are not as effective as sea salt soaks. Submerging the piercing is always advisable if possible. Some people with very sensitive skin prefer to use sterile saline products instead of sea salt soaks, which can be purchased through most pharmacies.
- H2Ocean: A sterile sea salt spray, H2Ocean, may be misted onto the piercing throughout the day. This product is designed to be used 3-6 times a day, however it does not replace all sea salt soaks. In addition to spraying your piercing every 3-4 hours, you should also be doing at least 1-2 sea salt soaks a day. It may also be beneficial to carry a clean plastic baggy with clean cotton swabs to clean crusted matter off your piercing when you are not able to do a sea salt soak, but be sure to remove any fibers left behind.
- In the shower: At the end of your shower, after washing your hair and body, lather a dime-sized amount of Satin or Provon antimicrobial soap in the palm of your hands and use your clean fingers or a cotton swab to gently clean your jewelry and the surrounding area. Do not use a washcloth or loofah near the piercing because these items can get caught on your jewelry. The soap should not get inside the piercing, so avoid turning, twisting or rotating the jewelry. Rinse the entire area thoroughly. Soap residue remaining on the skin can irritate your piercing. Avoid using soaps containing perfumes, dyes, or the active ingredient Triclosan (found in most antibacterial products), which tend to irritate healing piercings. Antimicrobial soaps should only be used once or twice daily; overuse of the soap can strip your skin of its natural oils and delay the healing process.
Additional Care For Oral Piercings
- Rinse with an alcohol-free mouthwash after eating, drinking, smoking, or putting anything in your mouth other than water. Alcohol-based mouthwashes are too harsh and will irritate your piercing.
- Rinse with warm sea salt water solution 3-5 times a day. Sea salt water rinses will speed healing and ease the healing process.
- Get a new toothbrush and brush your teeth three times a day during the healing process.
- Avoid drinking alcohol for the first few weeks of your healing period. These beverages will increase your swelling and may make your piercing bleed.
- You can consult with your physician for a suggested over-the-counter anti-inflammatory to help reduce swelling.
- Gently sucking on shaved ice or ice chips and drinking cold beverages such as smoothies or slushies are both options to reduce swelling and feel good.
- Reduce or stop smoking. Smokers may experience considerably longer healing times.
- EAT!!! It’s important to keep your body healthy while healing your piercing. Soft and bite-sized foods will be easiest for the first week or two. Try to avoid hot, spicy, or crunchy foods until your piercing is healed.
- Most oral piercings will need to be downsized 2-4 weeks into the healing period. Wearing the initial jewelry once your swelling has subsided can lead to dental damage. Come back when you are ready for a downsize and see your piercer to ensure you get properly sized jewelry. To help you avoid complications, we are happy to put in your new jewelry as well. Except for downsizing, jewelry should not be changed until your piercing is completely healed.