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Piercing Care - Aftercare & FAQ About Piercings

Updated on January 2, 2015

Cleaning Solutions

  • Sea salt mixture

Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of iodine-free sea salt into 8 oz. of warm distilled water. Don't assume that a stronger, more concentrated mixture will work better - this could irritate the piercing.

  • Additive-free saline solution

You can find this in the contact-lens section of your local chemist - sometimes they'll try to rip you off and sell you the same thing poured into a bottle with their own shop name on it where you were pierced.

  • Antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse (oral piercings)
  • Mild, non-fragranced, antibacterial liquid soap

First off, ALWAYS wash your hands before you touch any piercing for any reason.

Body Piercings

  • Wash your hands before you even THINK about touching your piercing!
  • Soak with saline solution for 5-10 minutes twice a day.
  • Depending on the kind of piercing you have, using a Q-tip or a paper towel saturated in the saline solution could be easier.
  • If you opted for the antibacterial soap, then once in the morning and again in the evening (ideally in the shower) wet your piercing and lather gently with the soap. Leave on for no more than 30 seconds and rinse well.
  • Dry with disposable paper towels.

Oral Piercings

For oral piercings, either use saline solution or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse.

Rinse your mouth with whichever cleaning solution you chose (see above) for at 30 seconds after you have eaten and at bedtime. Clean 5 times daily during the whole healing period (approximately 4 weeks, but check with your piercer). Cleaning more than this or with a stronger rinse can increase your chances of discolouration and irritation.

Useful Tips

  • Ear Piercings

Take care whilst wearing helmets, hats, styling your hair and make sure that your headphones are nice and clean! Change your pillowcase daily too, or to save on washing powder, put something folded into quarters over your pillow, changing sides each day for 4 consecutive days.

  • Nipple Piercings

Wear either a tight cotton t-shirt or a sports bra for extra protection, especially for sleeping.

  • Genital Piercings

Urinate after using soap to clean the piercing. Usually it's safe to continue sexual activities when you feel up to it (no pun intended), so long as it's trauma free and gentle. Also, use barriers such as condoms to protect the piercing and open a new tub of water-based lubricant rather than saliva or any other bodily fluid. You should clean your piercing soon after engaging in any sexual activity. Don't be alarmed if this piercing bleeds for the first week - it's normal. Apparently we're extra sensitive down there, who knew?

The Healing Process

  • For the first 2 weeks, depending on the piercing, any bleeding, tenderness or swelling is perfectly normal. Do not panic! :)
  • From then on, you should expect slight discolouration, itching, secretion of a whitey fluid (it isn't pus) which will form some crust on the jewellery. The tissue might tighten around the jewellery as it heals too.
  • After your piercing has fully healed, the jewellery might have difficulty moving - do not force it. Continue cleaning your piercing, or else normal (but smelly) bodily secretions may occur.
  • A piercing may look healed before it really is. Tissue heals from the outside in, and although it doesn't ache anymore, the interior is probably still fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the whole healing process

Signs of Infection

If you have any of the following, you should tell your doctor. Don't remove the jewellery if you think your piercing is infected, as it can close up and spread the infection.

  • Redness and swelling around the piercing
  • Hurt to the touch
  • Yellow or green discharge

Usually an infection can be treated without losing your piercing, so don't worry!

Avoid

  • Avoid stress, recreational drug use, including high amounts of caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
  • Don't put your piercing in unhygienic places such as swimming pools, the sea, etc.
  • Avoid contact sports and any activity involving bodily fluids being near your piercing.
  • Don't use any piercing products that list Benzalkonium Chloride in their ingredients.
  • Avoid all beauty and cosmetic products near the piercing, such as moisturiser, body lotion, sprays, etc.

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