Piercing Aftercare



Cleaning Solution

Dissolve 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz / 250 ml) of warm distilled or bottled water.  A stronger mixture is not better; a sea salt solution that is too strong can irritate the piercing.


Cleaning Instructions for Body Piercings

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

•Sea Salt soak for five to ten minutes once or more per day.  Invert a cup (a shot glass works well) of warm sea salt solution over the area to form a vacuum.  For certain piercings it may be easier to apply using clean gauze or paper towels saturated with sea salt solution.

• Wash piercing using soap, gently lather around the piercing and rinse as needed.  Avoid using harsh soaps, or soaps with dyes, or fragrances.

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

• DRY by gently patting with clean, towel or paper towel.  Be careful not to snag on jewelry, causing injury.


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 jewelry.  The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.

• Once healed: the jewelry 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 jewelry 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 jewelry.

• Stay healthy; the healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet. 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 harbor bacteria. If you bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.


What To Avoid

• Avoid moving jewelry in an unhealed piercing, or picking away dried discharge with your fingers.

• Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation.

• 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 jewelry, 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.

• 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 jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.


HINTS AND TIPS - Jewelry

• Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewelry, leave it in the place for the entire healing period.  See a qualified piercer to perform any jewelry change that becomes necessary during healing. 

• Contact your piercer if your jewelry must be removed (such as for a medical procedure). There are non-metallic jewelry alternatives available.

• Leave jewelry in at all times.  Even old or well-healed piercing can shrink or close in minutes even after having been there for years. If removed, re-insertion can be difficult or impossible.

• With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewelry for tightness. ("Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.")

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

• In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection. If the jewelry is removed, the surface cells can close up, which can seal the infection inside the piercing channel and result in an abscess. Do not remove jewelry unless instructed to by a medical professional.


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 Ace® 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.


Nipples:

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


Genital:

• Urinate after using soap to clean any piercing that is near the urethra.

• 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 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 sea salt soak or clean water rinse is suggested.


Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact the shop.


Oral Piercings

Cleaning solution

Use antibacterial alcohol-free mouth wash.


Cleaning Instructions for Inside the Mouth

Rinse mouth with cleaning solution for 30 seconds after meals and at bedtime (4-5 times daily) during the entire healing period. Cleaning too often or with too strong a rinse can cause discoloration and irritation of your mouth and piercing.

Cleaning Instructions for the Exterior of Labret (Cheek & Lip) Piercings

Soak in sea salt solution and/or wash in mild, fragrance-free soap-preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.

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

Sea salt soak at least two to three times daily. Simply soak directly in a cup of warm sea salt solution for five to ten minutes. For certain placements it may be easier to apply using clean gauze saturated with sea salt solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.

SOAP no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing.  Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds.

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

DRY by gently patting with clean, towel or paper towel.  Be careful when using cloth towels as they can snag on jewelry, causing injury .


What Is Normal?

For the first three to five days: significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and/or tenderness.

After that: Some swelling, light secretion of a whitish yellow fluid (not pus).

A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because they heal from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the tissue remains fragile on the inside. 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 jewelry in-do not leave the hole empty.


What To Do To Help Reduce Swelling

Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve in the mouth.

Take an over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen, according to package instructions.

Don't speak or move your jewelry more than necessary.

Sleep with your head elevated above your heart during the first few nights.

To Maintain Good Oral Hygiene

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

Brush your teeth and use your mouthwash  after every meal.

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


Oral Piercing Hints and Tips

Jewelry

With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded eneds on your jewelry for tightness ("Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey.")

Carry a clean spare ball in case of loss or breakage.

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

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

In the even an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage or the infection. Should the jewelry be removed, the surface cells can close up sealing the infection inside the piercing channel, resulting in an abscess. Until an infection is cleared up, leave the jewelry in!

Eating

Slowly eat small bites of food placed directly onto your molars.

Avoid eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods or beverages for a few days.

Cold foods and beverages are soothing and help reduce swelling.

Foods like mashed potatoes and oatmeal are hard to eat because they stick to your mouth and jewelry.

For tongue piercing, try to keep your tongue level in your mouth as you eat because the jewelry can get between your teeth when your tongue turns.

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

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


What To Avoid

Do not play with your jewelry. Long term effects include permanent damage to teeth, gums, and other oral structures. 

Avoid undue trauma; excessive talking or playing with the jewelry during healing can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, and other complications.

Avoid using mouthwash containing alcohol. It can irritate the piercing and delay healing.

Avoid oral sexual contact including French (wet) kissing or oral sex during healing (even with a long-term partner).

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

Avoid sharing plates, cups, and eating utensils.

Avoid smoking! It increases risks and lengthens healing time.

Avoid stress and all recreational drug use.

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, etc.


Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact the shop.