Cleaning & Caring for a Fresh Piercing is Important for Avoiding Complications
We want you to be educated on after-care, whether you were pierced by us or any other studio. This page contains all the info you need to correctly care for your piercing.
- The cleaning and care of your new piercing are extremely important and should be done as instructed to avoid any complications.
- Use one of the following two products for healing piercings: H2 Ocean Piercing Aftercare Spray - available in our retail area, or a mild, fragrance-free liquid soap—preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.
Cleaning Instructions for Body Piercings
- Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Disinfect using NeilMed Aftercare spray.
- Air dry or gently pat with clean, disposable paper products. NO cloth towels, they can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury.
What is Normal?
- Initially: Some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
- During healing: Some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow 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 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 fine, 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 it empty.
What to Do
- Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing, it is not necessary to rotate your jewelry.
- 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 baths, 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.
What to Avoid
- Avoid cleaning with Betadine®, Hibiciens®, 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 unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, 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.
Specific Piercing Aftercare
- A hard, vented eye patch (sold at pharmacies) can be applied under tight clothing (such as nylon stockings) or secured using a length of Ace® bandage around the body (to avoid irritation from adhesive). This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports.
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.
- The support of a tight cotton shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially for sleeping.
- Sea Salt Soaks - With the sea salt soak method, you soak your piercing in a warm salt mixture. It is very important to mix the solution in the right proportions because the mixture works with your body’s natural salinity to push out any bacteria that is inside of your piercing. The ratio for this mixture is ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt in an 8oz cup of water (the water shoulder be warm enough to open pores but not hot enough to burn yourself). You should do one to two soaks a day for five to ten minutes every soak. During the soak, your piercing should be fully submerged in the sea salt mixture. After the soak, rinse the piercing with warm water and then pat dry with a piece of clean paper towel. This method is the recommended aftercare presented by the APP. The APP also recommends the use of antimicrobial soap. We suggest Dial Complete Antimicrobial Foaming Hand Soap, which is offered in our shop, or Dial Gold, which is offered at any drug store to use in conjunction with sea salt soaks.
- Chamomile Presses – The chamomile press method is similar to the sea salt method but can be better suited for certain piercings. We suggest this method for piercings that would be difficult to submerge into a cup of water, for example, the navel or surface anchor piercings. Though this method is good for any piercing because it also helps reduce swelling. For this method, you should steep a plain chamomile tea bag in a mixture of ¼ teaspoon non-iodized salt and 8oz cup of water for about five minutes. Remove the tea bag from the mixture and place it over your piercing, applying only enough pressure to hold it in place, or if it is easier, simply lie down to avoid unneeded pressure being put on your piercing. Leave the tea bag resting on your piercing for five to ten minutes, then rinse with warm water and pat dry with a piece of clean paper towel.
Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact your piercer. If you have medical concerns, contact your physician immediately.