PIERCING AFTERCARE GUIDELINES
Now that you’re pierced, here’s a few piercing aftercare guidelines.
Having a new piercing involves breaking through your skin and aftercare of this procedure is extremely important to promote good healing and prevent the risk of infection. Your piercing is a wound initially, and should be treated that way. Please read the guidelines below to help heal your new modification safely and with beautiful results.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR ALL BODY PIERCINGS
• Always wash hands thoroughly with a mild, fragrance-free liquid soap and dry with paper towels before touching your piercing to reduce the risk of bacteria contacting the wound. This will help minimize the risk of infection dramatically.
• Although aftercare sprays are available, a simple home made solution can also be used. Mix 1/4 tsp non-iodized sea salt in small cup of warm water (8 oz.) and apply to your piercings. This can be done by using a clean cotton bud or gauze to ensure clear entry to the wound for cleaning. A stronger mixture is not better; a saline solution that is too strong can irritate the piercing.
• Soak the piercing with warm water also to soften and remove any discharge (or crusties) from the wound and jewelry.
• Repeat 2-3 times a day for 6 weeks.
• For oral piercings, use an alcohol free antiseptic mouth wash.
WHAT TO EXPECT & WHAT IS NORMAL DURING THE HEALING PERIOD
• Initially; some you may experience localized bleeding, swelling, tenderness and/or bruising.
• During the healing process, some discoloration, itching, and secretion of an odorless white/yellow fluid may form crust on your jewelry and skin. Pay close attention that the fluid secretion is not pus, which would be an indication of infection.
• Your tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.
• Once healed, your jewelry may not move freely – do not force it. Keep it clean.
• Failing to keep it clean daily may result in smelly – but normal – body secretions.
• A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because the tissue heals from the outside in, but the inside will remain fragile even if the outside is seemingly fine. Be patient and keep cleaning it.
• Please note that even healed piercings can shrink or close within minutes. This varies from person to person, but do not leave your piercing hole empty.
PIERCING AFTERCARE BEST PRACTICES
• Quit touching your piercing.
• Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning the piercing and don’t rotate the jewelry.
• Ensure clean bedding and clothes come into contact with your piercing.
• Stay healthy and get enough sleep. A healthy body heals quicker.
• Remember to hydrate. Hydration is commonly overlooked and affects how tissue heals. Your piercings will thank you!
PIERCING AFTERCARE WHAT TO AVOID
• Avoid cleaning with Betadine®, Hibiciens®, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other harsh soaps, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation.
• Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). These can be irritating and are not intended for long term wound care.
• Over cleaning can also irritate your piercing.
• Cotton wool can leave fibers around the piercing, trapping bacteria.
• Moving, twisting or handling the piercing. Do not remove discharge with your fingers, please refer to cleaning instructions.
• Beauty products, creams or cosmetics should not be placed on or near the piercing.
• Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound-sealant bandage (such as 3M™ Nexcare™ Clean Seals). These are available at most drugstores.
• Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.
• For oral piercings, avoid dairy, alcohol and spicy foods for the first week. Ensure food is not captured in the jewelry after eating.
• For tongue piercings, avoid straining the tongue muscle (i.e. sticking it out to show people) as this could stretch the hole and prolong healing.
• For genital piercings, avoid bodily fluids, and unprotected activity.
PIERCING AFTERCARE SIGNS OF INFECTION
If appropriate aftercare is not followed, infection may occur. The signs of infections are:
• Swelling and redness that increases around the wound.
• A burning or throbbing sensation around the site.
• Painful to touch.
• Unusual discharge (yellow or green) with smell.
Speak to your local piercer or seek medical attention if you have any concerns.
PIERCING HEALING TIMES (minimum):
Ear lobes: 8 to 10 weeks
Cartilage: 4 months
Inner ear: 6 months
Industrial/Scaffold: 6 to 12 months
Nostril: 4 to 6 months
Eyebrow: 2 to 4 months
Bridge: 4 months
Cheeks: 6 to 12months
Lips: 3 months
Septum: 6 to 8 weeks
Tongue: 4 to 6 weeks
Nipple: 6 to 8 months
Navel: 4 to 6 months
Surface: 4 to 6 months
Genitals: 3 to 6 months
Bridge: 8 to 12 weeks
* Disclaimer: This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention.