Properly caring for a new piercing is critical to its successful healing. Forget everything anyone else has ever told you and focus on these simple piercing aftercare instructions.
Caring for Your New Piercing
• Sea-salt soaks: Plan to do these 2-3 times a day. To make the solution, mix 4 teaspoons of non-iodized sea salt into a one gallon jug of distilled water (the ratio is important, so measure carefully; stronger is not better!). Pour some of this solution into a clean cup, warm it up in the microwave (Not too hot! Warm bath-water temperature is perfect), and completely submerge your piercing into the water for 7–10 minutes. When you are finished with your soak, rinse your piercing with fresh water and gently pat it dry with a clean paper towel.
• Saline Spray: This should be misted onto the piercing 3 times daily. Mist the entire piercing area and allow the solution to dry and soak into the skin, then rinse the area with fresh water and gently pat dry with a clean paper towel. When using a sea-salt/saline spray you must continue to do a sea salt soak once daily. Do not use the spray within an hour of cleaning your piercing with soap, as this may also lead to irritation.
• Soap: At the end of your shower, after washing your hair and body, lather a pea-sized amount of mild liquid soap in the palm of your hands and use your clean fingers to gently clean your jewelry and the surrounding area. Do not use a washcloth or loofah near the piercing as these items can get caught on your jewelry and cause damage. The soap should not get inside the piercing; avoid turning, twisting, or rotating the jewelry. Make sure to rinse the entire area as soap residue can irritate your piercing. During the entire healing period avoid using soaps containing perfumes, dyes, or the active ingredient Triclosan (found in most antibacterial products); these can all irritate healing piercings. Please talk to your piercer about safe soaps to use to clean your healing piercing.
What to Expect After a Piercing
Everyone’s body heals differently. You may notice some of these things while your piercing is healing: swelling, tenderness, itching, redness, bruising, or bleeding for the first few days. You might also see some whitish-yellow fluid. All of these things are normal. You can use an ice pack wrapped in a clean paper towel if you have swelling, or you can use cold sea-salt soaks (instead of warm). You can also talk to your doctor about over-the-counter medications that could help with swelling. Remember to always wash your hands before touching your healing piercing. Plan to come back in 3-4 weeks for a free check-up. Please come in sooner if you have any concerns. Wait until you come back for your check-up to change your jewelry. Most initial piercings will eventually need to have the jewelry “downsized,” where a piercer inserts a shorter post or smaller ring that fits more comfortably. While this second piece of jewelry will be a required purchase, we do not charge for changing the jewelry.
Additional Care for Oral Piercings
• Rinse with warm sea salt water solution 3-5 times a day.
• Rinse with an alcohol-free, non-whitening mouthwash after eating, drinking, smoking or putting anything other than water in your mouth. Alcohol-based mouthwashes are too harsh and will irritate your piercing.
• Get a new toothbrush and brush your teeth three times a day during the healing process.
• Gently sucking on shaved ice or ice chips and drinking cold beverages such as smoothies or slushies might help to reduce swelling and discomfort.
• EAT!!! It is important to keep your body healthy while healing your piercing. Soft and bite-sized foods will be easiest for the first week or two. Try to avoid hot, spicy or crunchy foods until your piercing is healed.
• Both alcohol and smoking will irritate your new piercing and can increase healing time. Alcohol will increase swelling and may cause bleeding. Smokers may experience considerably longer healing times.
It is very important to keep your piercing clean. In addition to only touching your piercing with clean hands, do not let your piercing come in contact with dirty bedding, unclean clothing, pet hair or other people’s body fluids. Water, other than your shower or sea-salt solution, should also be avoided. This means NO rivers, lakes, hot tubs, oceans, or swimming pools. Cosmetics, facial cleansers, and hair products will also irritate your piercing. Please only use products that have been suggested by your piercer while you are healing. You may need to check your jewelry to make sure it is tight/secure. Talk to your piercer about how often to do this and otherwise do not twist, turn or rotate your jewelry as this will cause damage. Avoid any contact that will irritate your piercing. This includes wearing tight or restrictive clothing. Also, be careful when drying yourself with a towel or washcloth and when dressing or putting on hats and scarves, as you can snag and potentially tear your piercing. When getting a haircut or color, consider covering facial and ear piercings with a waterproof bandage. Don’t hesitate to ask questions! Your piercer is a professional and only they should give you advice about caring for your healing piercing.