Aftercare for Body & Facial Piercings:
Aftercare for a new body or facial piercing is quite simple. Basic personal hygiene is your most important ally in preventing an infection. It is important to wash the piercing once or twice daily using a mild soap with little to no fragrance. Pay attention to your body. If you notice that it burns whenever you wash it, your soap may be too harsh. Switch to something gentler and fragrance free. It is not necessary to use an anti-bacterial soap unless your piercing has been exposed to harmful bacteria (swimming/ frequent handling), or if you suspect it may be trying to become infected.
The best time to wash is when you are in the shower. Always wash your piercing last as this will remove any other products that may have rinsed down and gotten inside, such as conditioner. It also makes it much easier to get any secretions ("crusties") off the piercing and jewelry, since the steam from the shower softens dried secretions.
Never use a washcloth, sponge, loofah, etc to do the cleaning. You should always use your fingertips to apply the soap lather, gently working it around the openings and exposed jewelry. It is not necessary to add liquid soap directly to your piercing, as this will make it difficult to rinse it off thoroughly. Any residual soap left behind can be very irritating!
When rinsing, never try to force your jewelry through the piercing itself. If it moves freely, then rinse what can be easily exposed. Never use a towel to dry off- they tend to harbor bacteria and are infamous for snagging jewelry. Let your piercing either air dry, or use a clean paper towel.
Things you should know to help you heal:
Never use anything containing alcohol or peroxide for cleaning on ANY piercing.
Always wash your hands BEFORE handling your piercing.
Showers are better than baths because bathtubs harbor bacteria. If you must bathe, clean your bathtub with a bleach based cleaner and give it the time needed to be effective (read the instructions).
Natural water sources such as rivers, lakes, and ocean have a very high bacteria count and should be avoided during the entire healing period. The chlorine used in swimming pools does lower the bacteria count however, it's still quite risky and many people find that chlorine irritates a new piercing. If you must swim, use a waterproof bandage over the area and wash with an anti-bacterial soap as soon as you get out.
Avoid getting personal care products on your piercing. These products include but are not limited to: lotions, cosmetics, acne medications, astringents, and exfoliating face washes. If you must exfoliate- buy the disposable exfoliating pads and use a new one each time you wash making sure you avoid your new piercing.
Never play with your jewelry or hang charms from it until you're fully healed.
If you like your piercing, keep the jewelry in! Jewelry changes must occur quickly as your piercing can close up fast, even after it's fully healed. Always wash new jewelry with antibacterial soap- it may be new, but it isn't going to be sterile.
Avoid anything that stresses the area or compromises the position of the jewelry. If you often sit with poor posture, your navel piercing may migrate during healing- in other words, it can heal crooked although it was pierced perfectly. Try to avoid sleeping on piercings as well. Undue stress can cause your piercing to heal slowly and will increase your chances of forming scar tissue around the openings.
After showering, check any balls that screw on and make sure they are good and snug.
Make sure the things your piercing comes into contact with are cleaned regularly! This includes things such as eyeglasses, cell phones, bed linens (especially pillowcases), hats, and eyeglasses.
The outer part of lip piercings:
Should be cleaned following the guidelines listed above in Aftercare for Body & Facial Piercings
Instructions for Cleaning the Inside of an Oral Piercing:
GOOD ORAL HYGIENE will be your strongest ally in helping you heal your piercing with ease! You must brush your teeth three times a day. After brushing, use an alcohol free mouthwash such as Crest or Biotene. Mouthwashes that contain alcohol, such as Listerine will prolong your healing time and keep your piercing sore.
Your mouthwash should only be used three times a day- for sixty seconds each time. Any other time you wish to rinse your mouth out, use a mild warm saltwater solution (See the Helpful Tips page for instructions on mixing your saltwater solution). Even an alcohol free mouthwash can become irritating with overuse. It is not necessary to brush the piercing openings or jewelry at first. Once all soreness has subsided, start brushing the jewelry to keep it from getting a white film of plaque.
Dealing with Swelling:
Oral piercings tend to swell more than other piercing so it's important to stay on top of this so it doesn't get out of hand. If your piercing is swollen, it will be sore! Your starter jewelry will allow some room for swelling, however- it is recommended you take an over the counter anti-inflammatory for the first 5-10 days when the chance of swelling is at it's worst. Naproxen Sodium (Aleeve) is a good choice as you only have to take it every 12 hours for it to be effective. Ibuprofen (Advil) is also an adequate anti-inflammatory, but keep in mind, you will need to take it every 4-6 hours for it to be effective. Anything cold will help with swelling as well, so crushed ice and slushy drinks
There are a few things you should avoid for the first couple of weeks as they tend to aggravate swelling and can be a serious source of discomfort:
Spicy foods- If you eat spicy foods with a new oral piercing, you will quickly realize what a bad idea it was! You will find it to be highly irritating.
Carbonated Beverages- Anything with "bubbles" will also irritate your new piercing. This includes but is not limited to: sodas, beer, champagne, and tonic water. Anything flat is okay to drink- water, milk, juice, tea, kool-aid, daiquiris, etc. If you are a die hard soda drinker, you may want to shake it up and make it flat before you try drinking it!
Heat- Anything that is hot will cause an immediate swelling response. If you get a meal, let it cool down a bit before you eat. Same goes for beverages such as coffee and hot chocolate. If you are a smoker and refuse to quit during your healing process, keep crushed up ice on your tongue while smoking to avoid having the heat hit your piercing.
Things to Remember:
Eating- Eat slowly! If you try to eat quickly you may bite down on your jewelry which can potentially harm teeth or dental work. Try to keep your tongue level in your mouth while chewing and try to eat foods that you do not have to chew up as much. When eating meats, it is best to cut it into small pieces and place them towards the back on your molars.
Avoid sources of bacteria- Never share food or drink with anyone while you heal your new piercing. It is also a good idea to wash your hands before putting them in your mouth for any reason. Open mouth kissing and oral sex should also be avoided during your healing time. It's also a good idea to buy a new toothbrush- the one you have been using will already have a bacterial build-up.
Jewelry- Your starter jewelry size/length was chosen to give you the necessary room to accommodate initial swelling. Once your piercing is healed it is no longer necessary to have the extra room. It is recommended that you downsize to something more snug fitting to avoid damage to your teeth or dental work. If you feel this change is necessary before healing is complete, please come back to the studio and get the high quality jewelry needed to finish up the healing. Retail store jewelry is not the same. It is of a lower quality and can cause complications if your piercing isn't fully healed.
YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE HEALING
OF YOUR PIERCING!