Piercing Aftercare

BODY PIERCINGS: CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS

Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.

Saline soak for five to ten minutes from a small coffee cup once or more times a day. Invert a cup of warm saline solution over the area to form a vacuum if possible. For certain piercings it may be easier to apply using a clean piece of gauze or paper towels saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.

Soap no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty seconds. Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry through the piercing.

Dry by gently patting with a clean, disposable paper product. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.

BODY PIERCINGS: CLEANING SOLUTIONS

Use one or both of the follwoing solutions for healing piercings:

Packaged sterile saline solution with NO additives (read the label), or a non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 4 teaspoons of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one gallon of distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better; a saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing.

A mild, fragrance-free liquid soap-preferably anti-microbial or germicidal. (Provon or Satin are excellent recommendations.Dial soap is too strong.)

BODY PIERCINGS: HINTS AND TIPS

JEWELRY

Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewerly, leave it in place for the entire healing period. See your piercer to perform any jewerly changes that become necessary during healing.

Contact your piercer if your jewerly must be removed such as for a medical procedure. There are non metallic jewerly alternatives available.

Leave jewerly in at all times. Even old or well healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes-even after having been there for years. If removed, reinsertion can be difficult or impossible.

With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewelry for tightness. Right is tight, left is loose.

Carry a clean spare ball if possible in case of loss or breakage.

Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewerly or have your piercer remove it and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark will remain.

In the even an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection. If the jewerly is removed, the surface cells can close up, which can seal the infection inside the piercing channel and result in an abscess. Do not remove jewerly unless instructed to by an medical professional.

BODY PIERCINGS: WHAT IS NORMAL?

Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.

During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish yelowish fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.

Once healed: the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; DO NOT force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as a part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.

A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels find, the interior remains fragile. BE PATIENT, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.

Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years!! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in-do not leave the hole empty!

BODY PIERCINGS: WHAT TO AVOID

Avoid cleaning with Betadine, Hibiclens, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial or other harsh soaps, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as 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.

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 stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygenic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubes, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound sealant bandage such as 3M Nexcare Clean Seals. These are available at most drugstores.

Avoid ALL beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.

Don't hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed. Even after it is fully healed, do not hang anything from your piercing for any long period of time, as this may cause migration or irritation.

FOR PARTICULAR PIERCINGS: EAR / EAR CARTILAGE AND FACIAL

Use the t-shirt trick: Dress your pillow in a large, clean t-shirt and turn it nightly; one clean t-shirt provides four clean surfaces for sleeping.

Maintain cleanliness of telephones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats and anything that contacts the pierced area.

Use caution when styling your hair and advise your stylist of a new or healing piercing.

FOR PARTICULAR PIERCINGS: GENITAL

Genital piercings-especially Prince Alberts, Ampallangs, and Apadravyas- can bleed freely for the first few days. Be prepared.

Urinate after using soap to clean any piercing that is near the urethra.

Wash your hands before touching on or near a healing piercing.

In most cases you can engage in suxual activity as soon as you feel ready, but maintaining hygiene and avoiding trauma are vital; all sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.

To increase comfort and decrease trauma, soak in warm saline solution or plain water to remove any crusty matter prior to sexual activity.

Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, and waterproof bandages, etc., to avoid contact with your partner's body fluids, even in monogamous relationships.

Use clean, disposable barriers on sex toys.

Use a new container of water based lubricant.

After sex, an additional saline soak or clean water rinse is suggested.

FOR PARTICULAR PIERCINGS: NAVEL

A hard, vented eye patch can be applied under tight clothing or secured using a length of Ace bandage around the body . This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports

FOR PARTICULAR PIERCINGS: NIPPLES

The support of a tight cotton shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially for sleeping.

Keep your partner's bodily fluids off of your new piercing. Saliva, semen, etc. are all bad for a new piercing.

ORAL PIERCING AFTERCARE PRODUCTS

Use one or both of the following solutions for inside the mouth.

*Antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free rinse. (Biotene is a good recommendation.)

*Packaged sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label) or non-iodized sea salt mixed with distilled water. Dissolve 4 teaspoons into 1 gallon of distilled or bottled water. For smaller amounts of saline needed, dissolve 1/8 to 1/4 of a teaspoon of the same sea salt into 8-10oz of the same type of water. A stronger mixture is NOT better. Saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing. (If you have high blood pressure or a heart condition, please check with your doctor before using a saline product as your primary cleaning solution.)

ORAL PIERCINGS: CLEANING INSIDE THE MOUTH

Rinse mouth with cleaning solution for 30 seconds after meals and at bedtime (4-5 times daily) during the entire healing period. Cleaning too often or with too strong of a rinse can cause discoloration and irritation of your mouth and piercing.

ORAL PIERCINGS: CLEANING THE EXTERIOR OF LABRET(CHEEK AND LIP) PIERCINGS

Soak in saline solution and/or wash with mild, fragrance-free liquid soap-preferably antimicrobial or germicidal.

WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.

SALINE soak at least two to three times daily. Simply soak directly in a cup of warm saline solution for five to ten minutes. For certain placements it may be easier to apply using clean gauze saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.

SOAP no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewelry and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the piercing no more than thirty sseconds.

RINSE thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry though the piercing.

DRY by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products.Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry causing injury.

ORAL PIERCINGS: HINTS AND TIPS

JEWELRY:

Once the swelling has gone down, it is important to replace the original, longer jewelry with a shorter post to avoid and damage inside the mouth. Consult your piercer for our downsizing policy.

Because this necessary jewelry change often occurs during healing, your piercer should do this change for you.

With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewelry for tightness. Right is tight, left is loose.

If possible, carry a clean spare ball in case you lose or break one.

Contact your piercer for a non metallic jewelry alternative if your metal jewelry must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure).

Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, seek professional help in the removal of the jewelry and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole has closed. In most cases only a small scar or mark will remain.

If you suspect that you have an infection, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection. Should the jewerly be removed, the surface cells can close up sealing the infection inside the piercing channel, resulting in an abscess. Until an infection is cleared up, leave quality jewelry in!!!

ORAL PIERCINGS: HINTS AND TIPS

EATING:

Slowly eat small bites of food placed directly onto your molars.

Avoid eating spicy, salty, acidic, or hot temperature foods or beverages for a few days.

Cold foods and beverages are soothing and help reduce swelling.

Foods like mashed potatoes and oatmeal are hard to eat because they stick to your mouth and jewelry.

For tongue piercings, try to keep your tongue level in your mouth as you eat because the jewelry can get between your teeth when your tongue turns, causing you to bite it.

For labret (cheek and lip) piercings: be cautious about opening your mouth too wide as this can result in the jewelry catching on your teeth.

ORAL PIERCINGS: WHAT IS NORMAL?

For the first three to five days: significant swelling, light bleeding, bruising, and/or tenderness.

After that: some swelling, light secretion of a whitish yellowish fluid (not pus).

A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is becasue 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.

Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in it-do not leave the hole empty.

ORAL PIERCINGS: WHAT TO AVOID

DO NOT PLAY WITH YOUR JEWELRY!!! Long term effects include permanent damage to teeth, gums, and other oral structures.

Avoid undue trauma; excessive talking or playing with the jewelry during healing can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, and other complications.

Avoid using mouthwash containing alcohol. It can irritate the piercing and delay healing.

Avoid oral sexual contact including Frech kissing or oral sex during healing, even with a long term partner.

Avoid chewing on tobacco, gum, fingernails, pencils, sunglasses, and other foreign objects that could harbor bacteria.

Avoid sharing plates, cups, and eating utensils.

Avoid smoking!!! It increases risks and lengthens healing time.

Avoid stress and all recreational drug use.

Avoid aspirin, alchol, and large amounts of caffeine as long as you are experiencing bleeding or swelling.

Avoid submerging healing piercings in bodies of water such as lakes, pools, etc.

Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ORAL PIERCING AFTERCARE GO TO WWW.SAFEPIERCING.ORG OR CALL YOUR BODY PIERCER AT 479-434-3550.

ORAL PIERCINGS: WHAT TO DO TO MAINTATIN GOOD ORAL HYGIENE

Use a new soft-bristled toothbrush and store it in a clean area away from other toothbrushes.

Brush your teeth and use your chosen risnse (saline or mouthwash) after every meal.

During healing floss daily, and gently brush your teeth, tongue and jewelry. Once healed, brush the jewelry more thoroughly to avoid plaque build up.

ORAL PIERCINGS: WHAT TO DO TO REDUCE SWELLING:

Allow small pieces of ice to dissolve inside your mouth.

Take an over the counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium according to package instructions.

Don't speak or move your jewelry more than necessary.

Sleep with your head elevated above your heart during the first few nights.

STAY HEALTHY TO PROMOTE BETTER HEALING

The healthier your lifestyule, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.

Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet.

Avoid emotional stress, which can increase healing times by up to 40%.

To help healing and bolster your ability to fight infection, take nutritional supplements daily, including iron, B vitamins, vitamin C and zinc for women.

THINGS THAT YOU CAN DO TO PROMOTE BETTER HEALING

Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing, it is not necessary to rotate your jewelry.

Stay healthy; the healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet. 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.

Showers tend to be safer than taking a bath, as bathtubs can harbor bacteria. If you bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.