SUGGESTED AFTERCARE FOR YOUR NEW PIERCING
PRODUCTS YOU CAN USE:
Saline solution. Saline is the key to quick healing – it promotes balance so you heal faster! The easiest, safest, and most accurate way to acquire saline is Wound Wash Saline®. It is sterile and comes in a pressurized can. You can also use saline solution for contact lenses, preferably sterile and preservative-free. Do not use contact cleaning solutions or soaking/enzyme solutions.
Q-tips®, especially when you have a piercing (such as a nostril) where getting at one side may be difficult.
WARNING: CHEMICALS WILL NOT HELP YOU HEAL FASTER!
Chemicals of any kind will upset the balance inside your body and your piercing will heal very slowly (if ever).
DO NOT USE ANY product containing an active ingredient and/or marked “For External Use Only” including, but not limited to:
H2Ocean®, Satin®, Provon®, Rubbing Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Bactine®, Ear Care Solutions (benzalkonium/benzethonium chloride), Antibacterial soaps (i.e., liquid Dial® or Softsoap®), Neosporin® (or other petroleum-based ointments), Betadine® (povidone iodine), or Hibiclens®.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR PIERCING
ALWAYS WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE TOUCHING YOUR BODY PIERCING
Soften any “crusties” on the jewelry and the surrounding skin with saline and without turning the jewelry (soaking does a tremendous job - see below). Gently clear any lymph (crusties) using a clean Q-tip and saline without turning the jewelry. Do this a few times a day, when activity might cause the jewelry to move (exercise, etc.), and anytime the jewelry feels “sticky” or uncomfortable until your piercing is healed.
Heat a small amount of saline in a clean container in the microwave. Place this solution in a position that will soak the piercing. For instance, hold a small glass over your navel and lie back or use gauze for hard to get to piercings. Leave the warm saline solution there until it is cold, then rinse the piercing with fresh saline solution. Do this at least once per day.
NEVER move the jewelry back and forth through the piercing - it does more harm than good.
TIPS AND ADVICE:
Do not play with new piercings, as physical irritation is the cause of many problems. Leave them alone. When clothing must cover the piercing, wear clean, loose, breathable (cotton) clothes.
Stay healthy! Eat a nutritious diet. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Exercise during healing is fine, just “listen” to your body.
Make sure your bedding is kept clean and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while sleeping.
Showering is safer than taking a bath, because bathtubs tend to harbor bacteria.
Chlorine is tremendously drying and irritating to new piercings and should be avoided. Avoid hot tubs until the piercing is healed. Lakes and oceans are a topic of debate, but a couple of things are for certain: sewage is frequently dumped into these water systems, and presents an additional risk – lakes, slow-moving rivers, marinas, and the like are the most risky areas as the water is not frequently cleared out – staphylococcus is found in tropical waters.
KELOIDS AND SCAR TISSUE: A large majority of people mistake irritation for scarring. If you suspect you are developing scar tissue – contact your piercer. There are several approaches to dealing with these problems, and your piercer can help point you in the right direction.
Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewelry, leave it in place for the entire healing period. A qualified piercer should perform any necessary jewelry change that occurs during healing.
Contact your piercer if your jewelry must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure). There are non-metallic jewelry alternatives.
Leave jewelry in at all times. Even old, well healed piercings can shrink and close in minutes after having been there for years! If removed re-insertion can be difficult or impossible.
With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check the threaded ends on your jewelry for tightness. (“Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey”)
Carry a clean spare ball in case of loss or breakage.
Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, seek professional help in the removal of the jewelry and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small indentation will remain.
What To Avoid
Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry and vigorous cleaning.
Avoid over cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.
Avoid stress and recreational drug use including excessive caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, sprays, etc.
Don’t hang charms or any other objects from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.
HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE? We can’t know exactly how long it will take for your piercing to heal. Expect new piercings to be sore and red for about a month – if there isn’t a marked improvement after that time, contact your piercer for evaluation and advice. Continue to clean your piercing once a day for as long as you have it.
More often than not, people who think they have an infection actually have an irritation and adjusting the care will fix the problem. You can recognize a true infection by its relatively sudden inflammation and accompanying discharge of actual pus and/or blood. If you suspect that you have an infection, contact your body piercer or your doctor at once.
SPECIAL CARE FOR ORAL PIERCINGS
The inside of the mouth requires different aftercare. Use the piercing aftercare on the main aftercare page for the external part of lip and cheek piercings.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1. Listerine® (antiseptic mouthwash, or equivalent) or sea salt (non-iodized) to rinse your mouth.
Ice, ice, ice!!!! And some more Ice!!
WHAT TO DO:
Rinse your mouth with Listerine (diluted 50/50 with water) or sea salt (1/2 tsp. per cup of water) a few times a day for the first 4 weeks. For tongue piercings, gently ice to keep the swelling and soreness down for the first few days. Keep movement to a minimum for the first five days.
TONGUES: If your tongue piercing is sore and swollen, some Advil® (ibuprofen) or Aleve® may help – please only use over-the counter drugs according to their instructions and with your physician’s approval. Eat slowly, and think about chewing. Avoid hot and spicy food and hot drinks which will scald and/or increase swelling. NO KISSING OR SEXUAL CONTACT until it is completely healed. Gently brush your tongue when you brush your teeth – it will help remove dead skin. Yogurt, beer, and wine will not harm your oral piercing, though the latter two may cause you to become drunk.
LIPS AND CHEEKS: Clean the outside of lip and cheek piercings as described on the front of this sheet, and the inside as above. Do not play with your piercing! If you leave them alone, lip piercings heal fast. Alternate sides if you have fishtail labret jewelry or centered rings for at least a couple of hours every day (or at night while sleeping) to prevent the inside lip tissue from “growing” to one side.
SPECIAL CARE FOR GENITAL PIERCINGS
All piercings are an open channel to the bloodstream. Particularly in the case of genital piercings, sexual contact during the healing phase could be dangerous to you or your partner. Utilize a barrier if engaging in sexual activity before your piercing is completely healed. Go easy on your new piercings – they will heal faster if you do not irritate them by playing rough.
FEMALE: Female genital piercings typically heal fast and easily. Rinse the outside of the piercing and clean the jewelry a few times a day with sterile saline solution, or better yet, your own urine. Your urine is sterile for your body and a perfect rinsing agent (barring, of course, any urinary tract infections). It is normal for inner labia and clit hood piercings to bleed a little during the first couple of days. As long as any bleeding stops when you sit still (perhaps put ice on it), there is nothing to worry about. If it’s still bleeding on the third day, contact your piercer. Abstain from sex for at least the first couple weeks.
MALE: Follow the instructions on the main aftercare sheet for cleaning your piercing. Substitute your own urine for the saline rinse if practical. Abstain from sex as long as possible, or for four weeks - whichever comes first. On piercings through the head or the urethra, expect bleeding for a few days. If bleeding continues after that time, or if there is an unexpectedly large amount of bleeding, contact your piercer.