Piercing Aftercare

PRE-PIERCING ADVICE

A piercing is a fresh wound. The majority of successfully healing a piercing is post-operation, but some things can be done in preparation.

- Research the piercing you are considering.
- Drinking plenty of water a few days pre-piercing will help your body rinse out toxins.
- Cut down on smoking, alcohol, and any other toxin you use regularly.
- Boosting your immune system with a good multivitamin, and minerals (particularly zinc) may be helpful.
- Write down allergies/similar you have that may affect the piercing. It can be hard to remember a mild allergy when you are nervous about a piercing.

POST-PIERCING ADVICE

Listen to your body and care for your piercing! Not for the next two days, for the next two months minimum!

- Never touch your piercing without washing your hands with soap before and after.
- If your jewellery is threaded, check that the balls are tightened every now and then.
- Never remove the jewellery to clean a new piercing!
- Keep jewellery changing to a strict minimum, and never leave jewellery out for long.
- Don’t buy the cheapest jewellery you can find, the price reflects the quality.
- Drinking enough water means you’ll stay hydrated, healthier, and with better odds of healing faster.
- Cut down on smoking, alcohol, and other toxins.
- Eat a healthy and balanced diet. A healthy body heals faster. A multivitamin and mineral supplement may be helpful too.
- Your piercing will secrete pus. It’s a natural part of healing so don’t worry.
- Most piercing-infections are very treatable, and antibiotics should be the last option.
- Adapt to accommodate the needs of your piercing. More on this later.
- Don’t over-clean. Two times per day is enough for most healthy, healing piercings.
- Live in a clean environment (i.e. clean bed-sheets, duvets, clothes, etc).
- Avoid sleeping on, and putting pressure on a healing piercing.
- Stick to one aftercare solution. If this doesn’t work it’s best that you consult your piercer.

FACE, EAR AND BODY PIERCING

Face, ear, and body piercing aftercare solutions

- Specific aftercare solution (Provon**, Antiseptic Aftercare Solution)
- Salt-water solution (should be isotonic, i.e. same salt level as your body; ca ¼ teaspoon of sea-salt to 250 ml water)
- Mild antibacterial solutions can sometimes be used (consult your piercer)

Aftercare with Provon or Antiseptic Aftercare Solution

Put 2-3 drops of Provon in your clean hands, mix with a small amount of water, and lather up gently. Apply this foamy solution around the piercing, making sure you clean all sides of jewellery and skin, but taking care not to twist and shift the jewellery a lot. Leave the Provon on for 3 minutes to soften up pus, then rinse off with clean water, and carefully remove all pus from the piercing.

(Or) Put a few drops of Antiseptic Aftercare Solution on a clean q-tip. Gently apply this solution to all sides of the piercing and jewellery, taking care not to move the jewellery awkwardly into the piercing, or in any other way placing yourself in discomfort. Repeat the application until all pus has been softened up to the point where removing it is effortless. Don’t force dried up pus off the jewellery, as this can cause problems (such as infections).

Clean once or twice per day as required.

Facial piercings (eyebrow, earlobe, nostril, bridge, etc)

Facial piercings have the benefit of not being covered by clothes. It’s easy to keep track of how they are healing because of their position, but they are tempting to pick at as well (don’t!). Earlobe and septum normally take 4-6 weeks* to heal, Eyebrow take 6-8 weeks*, while cartilage normally takes 2-3 months* or more.

Body piercings (nipple, navel, etc)

The right clothing is essential. For example, a belt that rubs on a navel piercing is a bad idea. Very tight clothes can irritate as well. Use common sense, and your own experience. Learn by mistakes as soon as they happen if you can. It requires a little extra attention, but the rewards are worth it. The APP’s suggested healing times are 2-3 months* for nipple and 6-9 months* for navel piercings. In my personal experience, navels often heal faster than that, and nipples often heal slower.

Genital piercings (PA?, ampallang, VCH, labia, etc)

Don’t have unprotected sex (oral included) while healing. The simple matter is that a piercing is an open wound until it heals, and getting someone else’s bodily fluids into it could easily cause problems. Use a condom, and if the piercing is sore take a break. If you have a threaded piece of jewelry, ensure the threads are tight with clean hands before engaging in sexual activities. A PA, VCH or inner labia normally take 4-6 weeks* to heal. Pubic, outer labia, scrotum and frenum take 2-3 months*. Ampallang and apadravya have a normal healing time of 4-6 months*.

Surface piercings (nape, madison, etc)

Surface piercings are generally the hardest to heal. Successful healing depends on factors like: jewelry choice, depth, area, lifestyle, and length. For example, the longer the bar the harder for pus to drain. Wearing shirts every day might annoy a nape piercing, whereas a gardener has a bad outset for a wrist piercing. It’s very beneficial to do salt-water soaks with surface piercings, preferably two times a day or more.

ORAL PIERCINGS

Tongue (and inside of mouth) aftercare solutions

- Specific aftercare solution (Tech 2000)
- Salt-water solution (should be isotonic, i.e. same salt level as your body; ca ¼ teaspoon of sea-salt to 250 ml water)
- Non-alcoholic mouthwashes can sometimes be used (consult your piercer)

Labret (and other oral) aftercare solutions

- Specific aftercare solution (Provon**, Antiseptic Aftercare Solution)
- Salt-water solution
- Mild antibacterial solutions can sometimes be used (consult your piercer)

Aftercare with Tech 2000

Rinse for 60 seconds with a capful of Tech 2000 2 – 3 times a day. It’s wise to do this after brushing your teeth morning and night.
We also recommend carrying a bottle of water around to rinse your mouth with after meals or drinks (coffee/tea/etc). Rinses are beneficial even if you only do them for 10 seconds.
For instructions on aftercare using Provon or Antiseptic Aftercare Solution please see the FACE, EAR AND BODY PIERCING section.

Oral piercings (tongue, labret, madonna, etc)

Mucous membrane tends to heal faster than other tissue. According to the APP (Association of Professional Piercers), a tongue piercing or lingual frenulum normally takes 4-6 weeks* to heal, while a labret or madonna takes 6-8 weeks*. With any oral piercing, avoid sharing bottles, french kissing, oral sex, and similar for the entire healing period.

RISKS

- Piercing through nerves is generally a lot less dramatic than people imagine. After all, nerves are touched and damaged with virtually every piercing (explaining the slight pain). Many people have heard the urban legend where a “friend-of-a-friend’s face was paralyzed after having an eyebrow piercing”. This is an exaggeration of the truth. There have been cases where piercees have lost some sensation, have had mild twitches, or have had the feeling that the skin has gone cold or numb after a piercing. Even with these risks, the nerves normally regenerate and repair themselves after a period of time.

- Infections are a lot more common in terms of risks. Infections are most typically caused by bacteria spread from hands, so the best way to avoid one is to leave the piercing alone. Most infections can be easily treated if treated early on. Normally it’s as simple as doing the aftercare that has been lacking, although sometimes, a slightly more radical approach may be necessary. In rare cases antibiotics may be required.

- Migration/rejection is another risk. It’s impossible to say for sure if a piercing will stay or not, because the jewelry worn is a foreign object, and your body’s natural response to such objects is to reject them. Some piercings are more prone to reject, such as eyebrow piercings, but with any piercing keep in mind it may not stay there forever, and it may leave scarring to a lesser or greater degree.

- Interference with your daily life may occur, particularly during healing. For example; some piercings require that you be less active than you normally would. Some sports can put extra strain on a healing piercing. For swimmers, we highly recommend wearing a waterproof plaster (tegaderm or similar) over the piercing during the healing period. This protects from bacteria and chlorine salts.

- Discrimination is a fact of life, and certain companies and schools will have an issue with visible piercings. Sometimes this discrimination is based on perfectly reasonable concerns, but in any case it may be a wise idea to check what you company or school’s policy is, particularly if you work with food on any level.

SALT WATER SOLUTION (SALINE)

Start of with freshly boiled water (or better yet distilled if you have it). Fill a normal sized, clean cup with 250 ml of water and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt, allowing it to dissolve. If using boiled water, leave to cool down before progressing. To use this as a soak, place the cup over the piercing, or use a clean egg-cup/shot-glass if this suits the area of the piercing better. Make sure you seal the edge off the cup to the area around the piercing, and leave it there for 5-10 minutes before removing the cup and water in a way that doesn’t leave you soaked. Any pus around the piercing should be completely softened up, and easy to remove with a clean q-tip. What’s more is that the warm salt water will aid in blood-circulation, bringing oxygen to the piercing, facilitating healing.
For some piercings, this method is not possible, and a better alternative will be to use clean gauze as a compress around/over the piercing. Make up a solution as before, but this time, dip a few gauze pads in the solution (obviously with clean hands), and apply them to them piercing. Leave this compress on for 5 minutes, soaking it in the cup as required. Clean off any pus with a q-tip.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

1. Q: Does it hurt?
A: Hard to say, but most piercings are considerably less painful than people imagine.
2. Q: Should I twist the jewellery to make sure it doesn’t get stuck?
A: No. The inside of your body is clean, so please avoid twisting or messing with the jewellery too much. Titanium has a dense surface which your body won’t grow into.
3. Q: How long does it take?
A: “It” takes from 5-45 minutes, and the actual piercing takes 0.5 – 1.5 seconds.
4. Q: Are genital piercings sexually beneficial?
A: For some people they are, for some people they aren’t.
5. Q: Can I die from a piercing?
A: The short answer is no, please ask if you want the long answer.
6 Q: If I catch an infection, should I take my jewelry out?
A: it’s generally safest to leave the jewelry in so the infection can drain.
7 Q: Can I have a reaction to the jewellery?
A: Yes. But implant grade titanium (which we use) is safe for most people.
8 Q: How long will it be before I can change the jewellery?
A: You should wait till the piercing is completely healed.
9 Q: What is pus?
A: Pus is mainly white blood cells and plasma. It indicates healing of a wound. It should be a light, creamy colour. If it is not, your piercing may be infected.

* = APPs suggested minimum healing time, with proper aftercare
** = Not designed as an aftercare solution, but embraced by piercers and piercees worldwide
 = Prince Albert
 = Vertical Clitoris Hood

© Copyright Body Mech 2007


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