To Rotate Or Not To Rotate
♪ Swing your partner round and round… ♪
For years aftercare instructions included soaking a new piercing, and then vigorously rotating it to clean the inside of the fresh wound and prevent the jewelry from ‘sticking’ to the body.
Nowadays, we know better, and reputable piercing shops will recommend that people soak, rinse, and dry their jewelry, while moving it as little as possible. Spinning or pushing jewelry back and forth is considered detrimental to the healing tissue. But why?
Understanding why we do (or don’t do) certain things is important to making good decisions for any new piercing.
Why did we suggest rotating jewelry in the past?
- Rotating jewelry had two functions. The first was to ensure that cleaning products entered the piercing channel and cleaned the part of the jewelry that is inside the body.
- The second reason was to prevent skin from attaching to the jewelry.
Why do we no longer suggest rotating jewelry?
In order for a piercing to heal, your body needs to form a layer of tissue all of the way around the jewelry (this is called a fistula). The new cells are delicate, and like a fresh cut, can be easily damaged while they are trying to heal. Harsh cleaning products, and hard metal will tear the new cells, delaying healing.
The primary reason that a piercing needs to be cleaned is to remove the ‘crusties’ from the outside of the jewelry. Piercing crusties (that’s their technical term, probably) can be made up of blood, clear or creamy coloured lymphatic fluid, and debris that the body has pushed out of the healing piercing channel. Since the body has already cleaned out the inside of the piercing, attempting to get cleaning solution inside of the piercing is unnecessary, and rotating the jewelry risks actually pushing debris or bacteria back inside.
In order for your skin to actually grow into, or affix itself to, a piece of jewelry, that jewelry would have to be very porous, or have some sort of groove or hole for skin to grow into. Jewelry for a fresh piercing should be smooth and have a shiny mirror finish, with no grooves or holes in the design. This way, there is nothing for skin to attach to.
If appropriate jewelry is being worn, and jewelry still feels stuck, chances are that their are still crusties stuck to both the skin and the jewellery. Using the soak, rinse, dry method will remove crusties, while moving jewelry as little as possible.
What should be done instead?
Healing a piercing can take a long time, so instead of jiggling your jewelry on the daily, try to remain zen with it. Remember that your body is healing the wound, not your actions, or even your aftercare product. All you need to do is keep the outside of your piercing clean, and try to let your body do its thing.
(And if there is already too much build up under the jewelry and soaking will not remove it all, get your piercer to give your jewelry an extra special clean. We love doing stuff like that.)