Piercing After Care
A sterile saline solution is strongly recommended to heal fresh body piercings, especially to soothe an irritated piercing. Perform saline soaks with packaged sterile saline solution with no preservatives (label should read “iso-tonic saline,” or “0.9% sterile saline” without preservatives). Sterile saline in a spray can, such as Saline Wound Wash, is recommended because the contents never become contaminated. Saline that comes packaged as a squeeze bottle or screw off lid is intended for single use only as the solution can easily become contaminated. Nasal irrigation saline sprays and eye contact lens saline cleansers often contain preservatives that can harm your healing piercing as they’re not intended for wound aftercare.
It is important to wash your hands thoroughly before you clean or touch your new piercing. Avoid playing with the jewellery, rotating the jewellery or any excessive motion to the body jewellery. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications. Do not remove jewellery during cleaning.
Crusties, an informal term that describes white or yellow fluid (lymph, not pus) that secretes and dries around a fresh piercing. This is a natural healing phase your body goes through for all body piercings. Gently wash them off with a cotton swab when they become moist during cleaning. Crusties may become itchy and in some cases may cause discomfort. It is imperative not to scratch or pick at these dried secretions, doing so delays healing, causes scarring and risks opening a channel for infection to enter the new piercing. Other possible symptoms during your healing phase are possible redness, bruising, mild bleeding and/or moderate swelling.
Avoid soaking your piercing in a bathtub, hot tub or by swimming in a pool, lake or ocean due to harsh chemicals and bacteria. If necessary, use a waterproof bandage for protection such as Nexcare or Tegaderm. Avoid petroleum/oil based products such as peroxide and alcohol; these items are too strong for your new piercing. Do not use any creams or ointments during the healing process as they prevent necessary air circulation, product labels will often read “not intended for the use of puncture wounds”. Stay away from products like bactine and ear piercing solutions you find at the mall, they often contain benzalkonium chloride (BZK) and benzethonium chloride (BZT). These items can be irritating and are not intended for long term wound care.
Prevent fingers, pens, pets, hair, cosmetics, headphones/ear buds, and cell phones from touching or causing friction to your new piercing. Ensure eyeglasses, clothes, sports gear, and bedding remains clean. Do not wear tight or restrictive clothing against your piercing. Clean your piercing before and after your workout routine. Avoid getting someone’s body fluids from entering your new body piercing. The skin tissue surrounding the piercing heals from the outside in giving the appearance that it healed fast. Although the piercing may feel fine, the interior tissue remains fragile. Be patient, and continue cleaning until the healing process has run its course. A poor diet, lack of sleep and stress can all have a negative effect on healing time.
Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewellery; leave it in place for the entire healing period. Seek assistance of a professional piercer for changing initial jewellery! If an infection is suspected, quality jewellery should be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection. If jewellery is removed, the piercing may close over, sealing the infection inside resulting in an abscess. Do not remove jewellery unless instructed by a medical professional. Jewellery should be purchased from a qualified piercer; it is not unheard of for piercings that are many years old become destroyed from low quality jewellery. Keep spare beads with you in case of breakage or loss of jewellery. On a regular basis, use clean hands to check the tightness of beads on your barbells. Do not hang weights or objects from your jewellery until the piercing is fully healed.