SUGGESTED AFTERCARE GUIDELINES FOR BODY PIERCINGS
These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research, and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. Be aware, however, that many doctors have no specific training or experience regarding piercings and may not be educated on how to best assist you. Each body is unique, and healing times can vary considerably.
If you have any questions, or concerns please contact the us at 508.533.1369.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR BODY PIERCING:
- Packaged Sterile Saline Wound Wash (with no additives, read the label) is a gentle choice for piercing aftercare. It can be purchased at Visions or a local pharmacy.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR BODY PIERCINGS:
- Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial soap and hot water prior to contact on or near the area of your healing piercing. Never touch your healing piercings with dirty hands. This is vital for avoiding infections. Also, never pick at the healing piercing with fingernails.
- Body piercings need to be cleaned twice a day, every day, for the initial healing time. You always want to wash your healing piercing once out of the shower with Sterile Saline Wound Wash.
- To clean the piercing, saturate a cotton swab with the saline and gently brush the area with the swab in a half circle motion (Half-circles to avoid wrapping the swab’s fibers around your piercing). Remove any and all debris gently. You do not want to pick at the piercing. Moving or rotating jewelry is not necessary, and advised against during the duration of the healing period.
- Some piercings may be better cleaned by soaking the piercing with a piece of sterile 2×2 unwoven gauze saturated in Sterile Saline. Be sure to cover both the entrance and exit of the piercing with the gauze. Allow the piercing to soak for a few moments before wiping away any and all debris with a cotton swab as instructed above.
- Once done cleaning, gently pat the area dry with a disposable, clean paper product (ie. paper towels, cloth towels can harbor bacteria, and the fibers can get snagged on the jewelry causing injury.) Check twice daily with clean hands to make sure your jewelry is tightly secured. If you are wearing threadless jewelry, make sure your end is pushed securely into the post. If you are wearing threaded jewelry, make sure your end is screwed securely on the post (lefty loosy, righty tighty).
WHAT IS NORMAL:
- Initially: Some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, and/or bruising.
- During healing: Some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. This indicates a healing piercing. Also, the area may be tender and uncomfortable.
- The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals. Do not expect jewelry to swing freely in most body piercings, even after they are thoroughly healed.
- Once healed: The jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
- A piercing may have a series of “ups and downs” during healing by seeming healed, and then regressing. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and continue to clean the piercing for the duration of the healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner.
- Even healed piercings that you have had for years can shrink or close in minutes! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in—do not leave the hole empty. Even old, well-healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! If removed, re-insertion can be difficult or impossible.
- If you have any questions regarding your piercing, please contact the studio at 508.533.1369.
WHAT TO DO:
- Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; Leave your piercing alone except for when you are cleaning. It is not advisable or necessary to rotate the jewelry while healing.
Exercise during healing is fine; listen to your body.
Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.
Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material, leave the starter jewelry in during the entire healing period. Please contact us (508.533.1369) or a qualified piercer (www.safepiercing.org) to perform any jewelry change that becomes necessary during healing time. Also, please contact your piercer if your piercing needs to be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure). There are non-metallic jewelry alternatives available.
Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewelry (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark should remain.
In the event that the piercing drains a thick pus discharge instead of the normal liquid secretion, you may wish to see a physician for evaluation and possible antibiotic treatment. If you do have an infection, the jewelry should be left in the piercing to allow for drainage of pus. If the jewelry is removed, the holes can close up, resulting in an abscess. Do not remove jewelry unless instructed to do so by a medical professional.
WHAT TO AVOID:
- Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other soaps containing triclosan, iodine, or any harsh products, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they are not designed for use on healing piercings because they prevent necessary air circulation.
- Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions, and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). These can be irritating and are not intended for long-term wound care.
- Don’t use Band-Aids tm on a healing piercing. They limit air circulation and the adhesive can irritate the surrounding area. Tegaderm, a breathable waterproof bandage can be purchased at most pharmacies and Visions when necessary. Call the studio to inquire if waterproof bandages are compatible with your piercing.
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
- Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.
- Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.
- Avoid sleeping on your piercing during healing. A travel pillow can be a useful tool for side-sleepers with healing ear piercings.
- Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.
- Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a breathable, waterproof bandage as mentioned above. (Not suitable for all piercings.)
- Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Also, reduce your take of aspirin, unless instructed to take aspirin by a doctor.
- Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc. These can cause an irritation when introduced to the healing piercing.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR ORAL PIECINGS:
- Antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse.
- Also; mild sea salt water rinses are advisable. Dissolve a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt to one cup (8oz.) warm to hot distilled water. (Avoid hot water for the first few days.) A stronger solution is not better. Saline that is too strong may irritate your piercing. If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, check with your doctor before using a saline product as your primary cleaning solution.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS INSIDE OF MOUTH:
- Rinse mouth with cleaning solution for 30-60 seconds after meals, smoking, and at bedtime (4-5 times daily) during the entire healing period. Cleaning too often or with too strong a rinse can cause discoloration & irritation of your mouth & piercing.
- With clean hands, be sure to check your threaded ends (lefty loosy, righty tighty).
FURTHER CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR EXTERIOR OF LABRET (CHEEK AND LIP) PIERCINGS:
- Labret (cheek and lip) piercings need to be cleaned twice a day every day, for the initial healing time with Sterile Saline.
- To clean the piercing, saturate a cotton swab with the saline and gently brush the piercing on the exterior of the mouth with the swab in a half circle motion (Half-circles to avoid wrapping the swab’s fibers around your piercing). Remove any and all debris gently. You do not want to pick at the piercing. Moving or rotating jewelry is not necessary, and advised against during the duration of the healing period.
- Some piercings may be better cleaned by soaking the piercing with a piece of sterile 2×2 unwoven gauze saturated in Sterile Saline. Be sure to cover both the entrance and exit of the piercing with the gauze. Allow the piercing to soak for a five to ten minutes before gently wiping away any and all debris with a cotton swab as instructed above.
WHAT IS NORMAL:
- Swelling of the area, bleeding off and on, temporary bruising or discoloration, tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. This can be greatly reduced by gently sucking on clean chipped or shaved ice, or small cubes are best. The majority of swelling usually lasts for only 3-5 days.
- You may feel aching, pinching, tightness or other unpleasant sensations off and on for several days or longer.
- Don’t be alarmed if you see a fairly liquid, yellowish secretion coming from the piercing. This is blood plasma, lymph and dead cells which is perfectly normal. All healing piercings secrete, it just looks different inside the mouth as it doesn’t have a chance to dry and form a crust as it does on ear or body piercings. This is not pus, but indicates a healing piercing.
- A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because piercings heal from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the tissue remains fragile on the inside.
- Be patient and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
- Plaque may form on tongue jewelry, commonly on the bottom of the ball and/or post. Scrub your barbell with a firm toothbrush (gently during healing). After healing you may use Plax or another anti-plaque product. If you are diligent with oral hygiene the jewelry will not need to be removed for cleaning, and it can usually be left in even for routine visits to the dentist.
- Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you love your piercing, keep jewelry in- do not leave the hole empty. Carry a clean ball in case of loss or breakage to be safe.
- Once the swelling is down, it is vital to have your piercer replace the post portion of bar style jewelry with a shorter post to avoid intra-oral damage. Consult your piercer for their downsize policy.
WHAT TO DO:
- Check twice daily with clean hands to be sure the threaded ends on your jewelry are on tight. (Righty-tighty, lefty-loosey).
- Replace your toothbrush and make sure to keep it clean so that everything that goes into your mouth is hygienic while you are healing.
- Try to go slowly while eating and take small bites when you are getting used to your new jewelry. Cold foods and drinks feel great and can help diminish swelling.
WHAT NOT TO DO:
- Never touch your piercing with dirty hands!
- No oral sexual contact including French (wet) kissing or oral sex during the entire initial healing period, even in a monogamous relationship. (If you had a large cut you would not allow anyone to spit into it! This is essentially the same thing.)
- Reducing smoking or quitting is highly advisable. Smoking increases risks and can lengthen the healing time.
- Avoid aspirin, large amounts of caffeine, and alcohol (this includes all beer, wine and hard liquor) for the first few days. These can cause additional swelling, bleeding and discomfort.
- Refrain from eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods and drinks for a few days.
- Do not play with your piercing or click the jewelry against your teeth. Undue stress on the piercing can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, chipping of teeth, wearing of the gum tissue and other complications.
- Do not use Listerine or other mouthwash with alcohol. It can irritate the area and delay healing.
How you take care of your piercing is your responsibility once you leave the studio.
If you have any questions regarding your tattoo, please contact the studio at 508.533.1369.