Body Piercing Aftercare
SUGGESTED AFTERCARE GUIDELINES FOR BODY PIERCINGS
- Sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label, the only ingredients should be sodium chloride/salt and water) can be purchased at the shop, or at your local pharmacy.
- If you cannot purchase sterile saline, clean with water only. Do not attempt to mix your own solution.
Cleaning Instructions for Body Piercings
You can clean your piercing one of two ways!
- Pop into the shower to RINSE your piercing thoroughly as to loosen any 'crusties' or debris.
- After your shower, SPRAY saline on your piercing to rinse away any potential contaminants in the water or soap residue.
- DRY your piercing carefully and thoroughly with a hair dryer on cool setting or with a piece of gauze.
- WASH your hands thoroughly!
- SPRAY saline onto a clean piece of gauze.
- HOLD the saturated gauze on the piercing for 1-2 minutes to loosen any ‘crusties’ or debris.
- DRY your piercing carefully with a hair dryer on cool setting or with a piece of gauze.
Clean your new piercing once or twice per day. When there are no longer crusties to remove, reduce to one cleaning per day.
Cleaning Instructions for Oral Piercings
- Rinse out your mouth with clean bottled water after you eat, drink, or smoke.
- Get a new toothbrush for the healing period.
- Keep up with good oral hygiene.
- You may continue to using mouthwash in your routine if it is alcohol free. Do not use mouthwash more than once or twice per day.
Any part of the oral piercing that is outside of your mouth can be cleaned as detailed above in “Cleaning Instructions for Body Piercings.”
What Is Normal?
- Initially: Redness, bleeding, tenderness, and bruising are all normal during the first few days.
- During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewellery. The tissue may tighten around the jewellery as it heals.
- Once healed: the jewellery may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
- Swelling can occur anytime within the first few weeks or months (depending on which piercing you have). On the west coast, we experience above average swelling due to humidity; for this reason we always start a new piercing with a larger piece of jewellery that can accommodate that swelling.
- A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
- Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewellery in—do not leave it empty.
What to Do
- Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing, do not touch or rotate your jewellery.
- Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.
What to Avoid
- Touching your jewellery allows bacteria from your hands to transfer to your new piercing, increasing your risk of infection.
- Avoid harsh cleaners like tea tree oil, Betadine®, Hibiciens®, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other harsh soaps, Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK) as these can damage cells and are not intended for long term wound care. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation. Use only saline.
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
- Changing your jewellery before the recommended date can irritate your piercing.
- Low or unknown quality jewellery can irritate, prolong healing, and worsen metal allergies.
- Over-cleaning can irritate, and prolong healing.
- Avoid undue trauma such as excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewellery, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.
- Unsanitary items including: ear buds, unwashed pillow cases, peoples bodily fluids, etc, coming into contact with your new piercing increases the risk of infection.
- Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.
- Submerging the piercing in bodies of water such as lakes, pools, taking baths, hot tubs, etc. should be avoided for as long as possible during the healing period, a minimum of 2 months post-piercing.
- Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including hairspray, makeup, and lotions, etc.
- Wash your hands before touching on (or near) a healing piercing.
- Wait to partake in any type of sexual activity until you feel ready. If it hurts, wait longer.
- You may experience bleeding during the first few days of healing. Wearing a panty liner can help keep your clothing clean.
- Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, and waterproof bandages, etc. to avoid contact with your partners’ body fluids, even in monogamous relationships.
- Change your bed sheets frequently, and wear clean underwear.
Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact your piercer.