A reputable professional piercer will tell you what you need to know in regards to aftercare. Taking care of your piercing is actually a fairly easy process as your body heals itself. One of the main things to remember with a fresh piercing is you’re often focusing on what you aren’t doing to the piercing, instead of what you are doing.
With that being said, you still need to be committed to following aftercare properly. If you are neglecting your piercing or doing things to it that may irritate it such as playing with it, sleeping on it, exposing it to harsh chemicals or changing it too early then it will be much more likely to experience complications, slow healing or not heal at all.
The concept is very straightforward – let your body heal. Harsh chemicals, antibacterial soaps, ointments or essential oils (such as tea tree oil or otherwise) often do more harm than good and can hinder the healing process. Prevent makeup, health and beauty products, sunscreen and other cosmetics from touching the piercing site or jewellery. A good rule of thumb is if you wouldn’t want it in your eye, you wouldn’t want it in your piercing.
Approximate healing timeline:
Week 1 – Fresh. Swelling, redness, and bleeding are all totally normal.
Week 2-4 – Healing. Yellow “crusties” form. Do NOT pick them, and do not touch your piercing.
Week 5 – Matured. Redness should be nearly gone. Do not discontinue cleaning.
Week 8-12 – Downsize time! Check back in with your piercer – it may be time to change/shorten your jewellery.
- Use alcohol-free mouth rinse twice daily, after eating. Do not overuse.
- Cold drinks are great during healing. They feel nice, and help reduce swelling.
- Swelling is normal for 2 weeks.
- Eat soft /blended food while healing.
- Do NOT play with jewellery at all.
- Downsize jewellery in 4-6 weeks.
- Rinse with cold water after every meal.
- Stay hydrated! Drink lots of water.
- Spray four times daily with sterile saline spray. There is no need to rinse the spray off.
- Alternatively, you can rinse twice daily with sterile saline solution.
- Do not turn/twist jewellery and DO NOT pick at your “crusties”.
- Avoid chlorinated pools or spas.
- Do not sleep on your piercing.
- Follow “Facial Piercings” aftercare, as above.
- Female nipples should be protected with fresh nursing pads for the first 2 months.
- No bodily fluids on piercings while they are healing.
- Torso piercings can take up to 6 months to settle.
- Follow “Facial Piercings” aftercare, as above.
- Bleeding is normal for a week.
- No unprotected sex during healing.
- Sex can resume when comfortable (approximately 4-6 weeks).
- Shower before and after sex during healing.
- Return to your piercer for downsizing your jewellery after 6 weeks.
- Genital piercings can take up to 6 months to settle.
- Apply a cold compress 10 minutes on/10 minutes off, three times daily for first two days.
- Apply Hirudoid cream AROUND (NOT inside) the piercing site twice daily for the first four-five days, or until the redness is gone.
- See your piercer to change jewellery – you can cause damage to your piercing trying to change the ends yourself.
- Anchors heal in approximately 3 weeks.
- Do NOT cover or bandage.
- Be careful not to catch or snag your jewellery.
Issues and Troubleshooting:
- Sleeping on or bumping your piercing will slow healing and cause bumps to form.
- Applying a gentle, topical compress of a hot chamomile tea bag can reduce irritation bumps and increase blood flow.
- Low karat/quality gold or sterling silver can cause irritation.
- Continuously playing with oral piercings will result in ripping and tearing of oral tissue, which causes white, bumpy scar tissue to form. Saline rinses and Aspro Clear can help to reduce these bumps.
- Using harsh products such as alcohol wipes, Dettol, Betadine, Listerine, etc. will harm your piercing.
- Practice a healthy lifestyle. The healthier you are the faster you heal. Eat well, drink lots of water and get plenty of sleep etc. If you’re run down or sick you will take longer to heal your piercing.
If you’re having any troubles:
Many problems are NOT infection and many piercings are misdiagnosed as such. A reputable piercer will know when to suggest you to seek medical advice.
While infection is very rare, it is a crucial to contact a Doctor if you do have one. Things to watch out for are sudden onset of excessive swelling, excessive bleeding, discharge of bright yellow, green, or dark fluids. Some redness, swelling and discharge clear/light yellow is normal, but excessive redness and/or red stripes coming from the piercing site may be indicative of serious problems. Should any of these symptoms occur, you should contact a doctor. But don’t worry – these are very rare occurrences if you follow aftercare and see a reputable practitioner.
There is no such thing as a silly question though. A reputable practitioner will be happy to answer any questions if you need.