Essentials for aftercare and healing of body piercings
The most important thing to keep in mind after your body piercing has been done is that you have essentially just suffered an open wound, and you need to care for it exactly as you would a surgical wound or injury. That is, with the same kind of care, cleaning, and attention you would give a serious injury to make sure it doesn’t scar or get an infection. There are two different types of body piercings to consider: non-oral and oral.
Aftercare for Non-Oral Body Piercings Keeping your piercing clean cannot be overemphasized! It just can’t. Twice a day, every day, without fail. No apologies. Use a mild, fragrance-free antibacterial soap, such as Provon® Antimicrobial Lotion Soap or Satin® Therapeutic Skin Cleanser, both of which are approved by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). The best place to clean your piercing is usually in the shower, where the warm water will help loosen and remove those crusts around the base of your jewelry. Use a cotton swab or Kleenex to remove them, and then throw the swab or Kleenex away. Never use a wipe, these things are breeding grounds for germs and bacteria! Same for bath towels after showering! Then, with clean hands, gently cleanse the area with the soap and rotate the jewelry so the soap gets into the piercing and let it sit for a minute or two. After spinning it again, rinse well with warm, clean water. Make sure you get all the soap out to avoid irritation. Rinsing is very important, so try to be thorough without irritating the area. It often helps to cup your hands and spray water over the area, as the shower stream can be a bit difficult to aim directly at the area. Don’t Forget Your Sea Salt Baths After cleansing, a sea salt bath helps remove any infection and piercing impurities while soothing the area and soothing any inflammation that may be present. Mix about ¼ teaspoon of sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Using a disposable cup, soak the piercing in it for ten minutes the first time and five minutes each time after that. If your piercing is in a difficult spot, apply the solution with cotton swabs, tissues, or some other soft, clean disposable product. Never use a tissue, washcloth, or any other item that is going to be reused. Always dry your piercings with cotton balls, cotton swabs, or tissue paper; don’t rub them, pat them. This reduces irritation and possible tearing of the skin and helps promote healing. Although it seems like a minor step, keeping your piercings dry is actually an essential part of piercing aftercare because it reduces the chances for bacteria to breed (they love a warm, humid place to play). If you’re unsure about mixing your sea salt baths correctly or it’s too inconvenient, there’s a new alternative on the market that’s less messy and portable. H2Ocean® Piercing Aftercare Spray is a premixed sea salt solution that contains lysozyme, a natural antibacterial that is gentle on the skin. Just spray it on the area and let it dry; It is easy to use due to its patent pending compressed air delivery system that produces a fine mist. This product is guaranteed to heal navel piercings in just a month and a half if used regularly and is highly recommended by numerous piercing communities such as BME and Prick magazine. H2Ocean® also comes in a portable size for your pocket or purse, making aftercare for your piercing on the go easy. X-pressions Piercing Aftercare Spray is also available for oral and non-oral body piercings and is a mild antibacterial solution with purified water in a non-aerosol spray with a pleasant mint flavor. Once a day (not more often, because you’ll unnecessarily irritate the area), check that the ends of your piercings are screwed in properly. But first wash your hands with antibacterial soap. And now, some “no’s”
- Never put hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on a piercing; they dry out too much and will delay healing.
- Never use Neosporin in a piercing, as it can trap bacteria. Read the label; it actually says, “Not for puncture wounds.” Guess what? A piercing is a puncture wound.
- Never remove your piercing jewelry before the piercing is fully healed, which can take months or even a year. If you suspect you have a piercing infection, consult your piercing professional or doctor first.
- Do not sleep on your piercing until the initial healing phase is over.
- Do not wear tight clothing over your piercing during the initial healing phase.
Oral Piercing Aftercare For the first three to six weeks after an oral piercing, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial agent after every meal to kill bacteria and ensure that no small food particles remain around the piercing waiting to to get infected and become problems. later. There are several excellent products on the market for this, including APP-recommended Biotene and Tech2000 Dental Rinse; these have the right ingredients and have the right potency to get the job done without being too strong. Don’t bother with mouthwash, because it’s not strong enough to do anything other than cover up your bad breath, which won’t be much comfort when your tongue is swollen and sensitive due to improper aftercare. You can also use a commercial antibacterial mouthwash, but diluted so it’s not too strong. If your tongue develops a whitish or yellowish appearance, your mouthwash is too strong and will slow healing. Sea salt rinses…ahh! Mix the familiar lukewarm solution of 8 ounces of water with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and rinse your mouth for 15 to 20 seconds after drinking anything other than water and after smoking. Not only is it a healing aid, but it can also be very soothing to the pierced area. If your oral piercing is sore or swollen, you may find some relief by allowing crushed ice to melt in your mouth. Popsicles, sundaes and the like work too, but will need to be supplemented, like everything else, with a sea salt (or H2Ocean®) rinse. Brush, brush, brush You can keep your tongue and piercing as clean as you like, but if you don’t brush your teeth well, you’ll still have millions of bacteria in your mouth. Try to brush your teeth three times a day for the first few weeks of healing. Buy a new soft bristle brush that is gentle on your piercing. Don’t use a brush that you’ve already used before your piercing, as it will harbor old germs. You should also gently brush the balls on the ends of your piercing jewelry to prevent the natural buildup of plaque on your jewelry. Oral piercings “don’t do”
- Do not smoke, chew gum, or use snuff or rub during the healing period; these increase the risk of piercing infections astronomically.
- Do not play with the piercing jewelry or click against your teeth; this can cause cracking of tooth enamel.
- Do not engage in any activities, including kissing, that exchange body fluids during the initial healing period of several weeks.
General Tips to Improve Healing Success Proper piercing aftercare is the primary reason for a successful healed body modification, but your general health and how well you care for yourself is also a contributing factor. If you’re exhausted or your immune system is compromised, you won’t heal as quickly and you’ll be more prone to infection. For that reason, you should keep a few things in mind any time you have any type of piercing to help ensure your piercing aftercare measures have the best chance of success:
- Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Eight glasses a day minimum.
- At least eight hours of sleep per night.
- Try to limit the amount of stress in your life
- Vitamin C and zinc supplements to help speed up the healing process
- Lots of fruits and vegetables, and a multivitamin if needed.
- If the pain bothers you, take ibuprofen. If you’re comfortable, you’re less likely to worry about the piercing.
Signs of trouble Even with excellent piercing aftercare, there will be some swelling at the piercing site for a few days. You will also have a clear, watery discharge and maybe some light bleeding. The bleeding will usually stop within 24 hours, while the discharge can last for several days or weeks. This is simply drainage from the wound and actually helps prevent piercing infection. Signs that the piercing is in trouble include:
- Discharge that becomes noticeably thicker and yellow or green in color. This is a sign of infection and should be checked out by a doctor.
- Swelling that lasts more than a few days, with redness and irritation. Consult your piercing professional or doctor.
- Red streaks from the piercing site and a fever, along with body aches. Consult your doctor.
- Hives, redness, itching, and irritation around the piercing, which may indicate an allergic reaction to piercing jewelry. Your piercing professional may try to replace it with an alternative metal.
- Difficulty breathing or wheezing after the piercing, or a feeling that the mouth or throat are swollen and closed. Seek emergency care immediately!
So how long does all this healing take? If you do your piercing aftercare correctly, your body piercing will heal cleanly, leaving you with a beautiful new piercing without scarring, migration, or keloids. However, the time it takes to achieve this will vary depending on the type of piercing being done. The general deadlines listed below are for reference only. This all depends on your individual body’s response, how much stress you’re under, and a thousand other variables. Earlobe or eyebrow: 6 – 8 weeks
Genitals: 4 weeks – 4 months
Labret/Lip: 6 – 8 weeks
Child: 6 – 18 months
Nipples: 3 – 6 months
Nostril: 3 months – 1 year
Septum: 6 – 8 weeks
Tongue: 4 – 6 weeks
Cartilage: 3 months – 1 year Disclaimer: All piercing aftercare information provided in this document is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a guide to body piercing aftercare, but rather a starting point for making an informed decision regarding body piercings. If you have any questions or go ahead with a body piercing, be sure to discuss the procedure with a doctor or piercing professional and get full and clear instructions on piercing aftercare at that time. Evaluseek Publishing assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of this content, which is based on the general consensus of the piercer community, which is constantly evolving and changing. This article on “Aftercare and Healing Essentials for Body Piercings” is reprinted with permission.
Copyright © 2004 Evaluateek Publishing.