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AFTERCARE

CLEANING SOLUTIONS

 

Packaged sterile saline is a gentle choice for piercing aftercare. Mixing your own sea salt solution is no longer a suggested practice.  We strongly encourage you to use a sterile saline labelled for use as a wound wash. Contact lens saline, eye drops, and other saline products should never be used on a body piercing. Your saline ingredients should list .09% sodium chloride as the only ingredient. Mixing your own sea salt solution will commonly result in the product being far too salty and strong, this can over dehydrate the piercing and interfere with healing.

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CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR BODY PIERCINGS

  • WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.

  • SALINE rinse as needed during healing. For certain placements it may be easier to apply using clean gauze saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.

  • If your piercer suggests using soap, gently lather around the piercing and rinse as needed. Avoid using harsh soaps, or soaps with dyes, fragrances, or triclosan.

  • RINSE thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewellery through the piercing.

  • DRY by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products because cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewellery, causing injury.

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WHAT IS NORMAL?​​

  • Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.

  • 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.

  • 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 it is not necessary to rotate your jewellery

  • Exercise during healing is fine; listen to your body.

  • Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.

  • Showers tend to be safer than taking baths, as bathtubs can harbour bacteria. If you bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.​

FOR PARTICULAR AREAS

NAVEL:
  • A hard, vented eye patch (sold at pharmacies) can be applied under tight clothing (such as nylon stockings) or secured using a length of elastic bandage around the body (to avoid irritation from adhesive). This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports.

EAR/EAR CARTILAGE AND FACIAL:
  • Use the t-shirt trick: Dress your pillow in a large, clean t-shirt and turn it nightly; one clean t-shirt provides four clean surfaces for sleeping.

  • Maintain cleanliness of telephones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats, and anything that contacts the pierced area.

  • Use caution when styling your hair and advise your stylist of a new or healing piercing.

  • Return to your piercer for aftercare check-ups and downsize when requested.

NIPPLES:
  • The support of a tight cotton shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially for sleeping.

GENITAL:
  • Genital Piercings – especially Triangles, Prince Alberts, Ampallangs, and Apadravyas – can bleed freely for the first few days. Be prepared. Additional cleaning after urination is not necessary

  •  Wash your hands before touching on (or near) a healing piercing.

  •  In most cases you can engage in sexual activity as soon as you feel ready, but maintaining hygiene and avoiding trauma are vital; all sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.

  •  Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, and waterproof bandages, etc. to avoid contact with your partners’ body fluids, even in long-term monogamous relationships.

  •  Use clean, disposable barriers on sex toys.

  •  Use a new container of water-based lubricant; do not use saliva.

  •  After sex, an additional saline rinse is suggested.

SURFACE ANCHORS:

  •  These piercings require maintenance during their entire lifetime because matter can build up underneath the threaded top causing the piercing to become irritated. Saline and/or shower rinses may be helpful with removing matter from underneath the threaded top.

  •  Avoid putting makeup on these piercings even after healing.

  • Even with proper care, surface anchors may be less permanent than other body piercings.

ORAL PIERCING:

  • Rinse thoroughly with Alcohol free mouth wash, (such as Corsodyl and CB12) including after meals. Downsize when requested and do not play with jewellery as this will cause irritation.

  • Use a new soft-bristled toothbrush and store it in a clean area away from other toothbrushes.

  • Brush your teeth and use your chosen rinse (saline or mouthwash) after every meal.

  • During healing floss daily, and gently brush your teeth, tongue and jewellery. Once healed, brush the jewellery more thoroughly to avoid plaque build up.

WHAT TO AVOID

  • Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soaps, iodine, or any harsh products, 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.

  • Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.

  •  Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, 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.

  • 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 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. These are available at most drugstores and work best for nipple, navel, and surface piercing placements.

  •  Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.

  •  Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewellery until the piercing is fully healed. 

  • Sleeping directly on a healing cartilage piercing can cause irritation, even causing shifts in the piercing’s angle which may result in the piercing failing. Placing a travel pillow, on top of your pillow, and then placing your ear in the opening can be helpful to avoid this.

ORAL PIERCING HINTS AND TIPS

  • Sleep with your head elevated in the beginning to minimize overnight swelling.

  • Once the swelling has subsided, it is vital to replace the original, longer jewellery with a shorter post or barbell to avoid damage to the teeth and gums.

  • Because this necessary jewellery change often occurs during healing, it should be done by a qualified piercer. This information should have been given to you during the piercing. If not, consult with a professional piercer about your downsize.

  • With clean hands or paper products, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewellery for tightness. For threadless jewellery make sure there is no gap between the post (inside) to the top (outside). In case of a gap, place your index finger and thumb on both sides of the jewellery and press them together. Be sure to check that the gap is closed.

  • Contact your piercer for a non-metallic jewellery alternative if your metal jewellery must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure).

  • Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewellery or have a professional piercer remove it and continue cleaning the area until the hole closes. In most cases, only a small mark will remain.

EATING

  • Take your time with eating until you are used to the piercing and the jewellery is downsized to prevent irritation or prolonged healing.

  • Avoid eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods or beverages for the first two weeks (no specific foods need to be avoided).

  • Cold foods and beverages can be soothing and help reduce swelling.

  • For labret (cheek and lip) piercings: be cautious about opening your mouth too wide as this can result in the jewellery catching on your teeth.

WHAT TO AVOID

  • Do not play with your jewellery. Long term effects include permanent damage to teeth and gums.

  • Avoid undue trauma; excessive talking or playing with the jewellery can cause scar tissue, migration, and other complications.

  • Avoid using mouthwash containing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide. It can irritate the piercing and delay healing.

  • Avoid oral sexual contact including wet kissing or oral sex during healing.

  • Avoid chewing on tobacco, gum, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, and other foreign objects that could harbour bacteria.

  • Avoid sharing plates, cups, and eating utensils.

  • Avoid using straws. Straw use can increase the risk of swelling and bleeding.

  • Minimize the intake of smoking and vaping (tobacco or cannabis). It increases risks and prolongs healing time.

  • Avoid aspirin, alcohol, and large amounts of caffeine as long as you are experiencing bleeding or swelling.

  • Avoid submerging healing piercings in bodies of water such as lakes, pools, oceans, and even the bathtub.

  • Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact a professional piercer.

Troubleshooting Problems

INAPPROPRIATE AFTERCARE IS THE MOST COMMON CAUSE OF A DISTRESSED PIERCING.

What is normal?

 

Tenderness, bleeding and/or bruising. 

A clear, yellow or whitish discharge, which may crust.

What is not normal?

Puss or thick discharge, that may look greenish.

Excessively swollen and is hot to touch.

PIERCING BUMPS.

Most people assume the bump around their piercing is a keloid, however this is unlikely to be the case. Most bumps forming around piercings are caused by improper aftercare and irritation. 

WHAT CAUSES BUMPS?

Piercing bumps are caused by a number of reasons, such as excessive or overly rough cleaning, knocking and accidentally snagging piercings, sleeping onto the piercing and either poor quality jewellery, or jewellery that is not correctly fitting. Applying ointments and creams can also irritate piercings, such as tea tree oil and savlon etc.

WHAT IF MY PIERCING IS INFECTED?

If you suspect you piercing is infected, you should visit your GP as soon as possible. Please refrain from removing the jewellery, as infections can be dealt with -without the loss of the piercing and removal could then cause an abscess.

EXCESSIVE SWELLING

Fresh piercings are done with jewellery that has allowed room for some initial swelling, however in some cases, if the piercing has experienced trauma such as being knocked or bumped, the piercing has become infected or irritated, swelling may begin to surpass the jewellery. In these cases, you will need to  visit your piercer and have them fit a temporary, more accommodating length or diameter piece of jewellery.

 WHAT IF I CANT SEE A PIERCER -  ADVICE

  • For suspected infections, follow the above advise and go see a medical professional.

  • For excessive swelling, if you do not have a safe alternative piece of jewellery to wear temporarily you may need to remove your jewellery altogether to reduce the risk of imbedding and your skin healing completely over the jewellery, which unfortunately may mean you lose your piercing. Your piercer may be able to taper it back open, when you can get into see them, it may need to be re-pierced.

  • If you have lost your jewellery and need a replacement, book an appointment to have your piercer refit you the correct jewellery. To prevent the piercing from closing up in the meantime, you can wear something temporarily.

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