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We promise to do our best with all our heart and that you will leave our studio with a clean, beautiful piercing. What you do from here is up to you. You must be responsive to and responsible for your own body. If at any point you have any problems or questions, please feel free to stop in, give us a call, or send us an email. We are here to help.
There is no single solution or method or aftercare regimen that works for everyone, everywhere, all the time. You must decide what works for you. Different bodies require different care. There are also regional differences. Air, water quality, diet and climate can greatly affect healing, and what you use to clean your piercing is only one part of a much larger picture. The suggestions in this brochure are based upon our experience and the experience of those that came before us. These are suggestions. If you are familiar with your body and how you heal, the most important thing you can do is pay attention, if you listen closely your body should tell you what to do.
New piercings should typically be cleaned once to twice daily. (How often also depends on your skin type, daily activities and environment and what piercing you are trying to heal.) Continue caring for the entire healing period. Do not over clean your piercing. Cleaning too often with something too harsh or with too many different types of cleaning solutions can actually irritate your piercing and slow the process. Do not assume that if it is suggested to clean the area twice daily that ten times is better, it isn’t.
It is normal for healing piercings to discharge lymph, blood and blood plasma. The purpose of cleaning your piercing is to remove this discharge as well as any dirt and bacteria picked up throughout the day. You are not treating the wound with medicine or making it heal, but rather keeping the area clean while your body works to heal itself. In many cases using something too harsh, more frequent will actually slow your healing. The products are not what make your piercing heal; they keep the piercing clean while your body works to heal it. Saltwater and/or saline solutions should be used to irrigate your piercing, but it is the act of flushing out the wound that helps healing, not the saline itself. Likewise, soaps should be treated as such; lather around your piercing and then thoroughly rinse.
The single best thing you can do for your piercing to keep up a regular regimen of saltwater soaks. These flush out the piercing, help to draw out discharge, stimulate blood circulation and soothe irritations. We normally suggest soaking your piercing at least twice daily or more frequent if healing is difficult.
Create a soaking solution by mixing sea salt and distilled water. Use pure sea salt (non-iodized) not table salt, which contains extra chemicals that can irritate your piercing and dextrose (sugar) that can cause yeast infections. When buying salt, read the label: it should contain only salt (sodium chloride) and possibly an anti-caking agent (often calcium phosphate, calcium silicate, or prussiate of soda). Do not use Epsom salts, as this is a completely different chemical compound. Make sure that your salt-to-water ratio is correct. A stronger or weaker solution is not better and may actually harm your piercing.
It is often easiest to mix it up by the gallon and keep it in the fridge. We suggest dating the gallon mixture. Cold soaks can be soothing for the first few days and help reduce swelling; after, heat as needed to make a warm salt-water soak.
While sea salt soaks and/or saline rinses may aid in the healing of most piercings, soap effectively removes the residue of sweat, dirt, cosmetics and natural discharge that remains after a salt soak or saline rinse. We suggest using a natural, fragrance free and dye-free soap (Naked, Dr Bronner’s Baby Mild). Do avoid harsh antibacterial soaps, especially those containing triclosan (like Dial).
Remember, it is the act of washing that is most effective in removing bacteria, not the soap itself. Always use a liquid soap, because bar soaps collect dirt and bacteria that can easily be reapplied to your piercing.
Wash your hands thoroughly, then lather the soap in your fingers before lathering the piercing and surrounding skin. Thoroughly clean the piercing and jewelry, making sure to remove any discharge on the jewelry, then rinse. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry during cleaning. If you find that the skin around the piercing is become dry, red or irritated-go back to saltwater soaks and/or saline rinse
Mix according to the table below (use measuring spoons and cups for accuracy).
To use: Fill a small glass with the solution and warm (You can heat it in the microwave.) Take the solution in the glass and press it against your skin to form a seal and hold it over your piercing for 5-10 minutes or until the water cools. For piercings like nostrils, ears, nipples and penis piercings, the entire body part should be submerged in the solution.
SEA SALT WATER
1/4 Teaspoon 1 cup (8oz)
1 Teaspoon 1 Quart (32oz)
4 Teaspoons 1 Gallon
Sterile saline solutions are convenient, portable cleaning options. While rinsing with saline solution doesn’t promote increased blood flow to the area the way that warm soaks do, it does provide a quick cleaning fix if you’re at work, traveling, or someplace where soaking isn’t an option. Saline products sold for for contact lenses or ear and nasal irrigation may contain additives that may not be suited to healing piercings. Instead, check the first aid isle for a saline specifically formulated for wound care. Popular brands include H2Ocean, Steri-Wash, NeilMed saline solution and Simply Saline.
Liberally spray the solution saturating the piercing. Your jewelry does not need to be rotated and the sterile saline solution does not need to be rinsed off. You must irrigate the piercing to clean effectively, compresses with cotton balls or applying to the skin with swabs is not effective.
Rubbing Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Antibiotic Ointments, Bactine and Ear Piercing Solutions with BZK (Benzalkonium Chloride), Q-tips or Cotton Balls.
Rinse Your Mouth. After you eat, drink, smoke or place anything other than bottled water, rinse for 30 to 60 seconds with saltwater. This will clean your mouth and piercing and soothe discomfort.
Mix a solution of sea salt, not table salt and use the same ratio in the chart under Basic Piercing Care (many times it is 1/2 teaspoon per 16oz). Use bottled or distilled water, not tap water. Those of you with high blood pressure may need to limit your use of saltwater and use plain water instead. Ask your doctor.
If you choose to use mouthwash instead of or in addition to salt-water, avoid alcohol-based products like Listerine. Using a mouthwash too often or one that is too harsh may actually slow the healing and do more harm than good. We suggest a mild, alcohol-free rinse, such as Biotene. Just remember: It’s the rinsing itself that is doing the work, not what you are rinsing with, so the gentler the solution the better for healing.
Clean the Outside of Your Piercing. In addition to rinsing your mouth, you will also need to clean the outside of your lip, cheek, philtrum or beauty mark piercing. For this, follow the instructions under Basic Piercing Care.
Expect Swelling. Oral piercings have a tendency to swell more than other areas of the body. Expect the majority for the first three to five days, but it is not uncommon for swelling to be present for several weeks. Ice can reduce swelling and be soothing. Anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin) may be helpful also. Sleeping with your head elevated for the first week (use extra pillows). Avoiding anything that thins your blood or makes your heart rate go up, like alcohol, stimulants, caffeine, aspirin or acetaminophen (Tylenol). Avoidance of straws and water pipes
Infections. Infections come from exposure to bacteria and other contaminants and can typically be avoided with basic hygiene (and common sense). You will usually know if your piercing becomes infected if the surrounding tissue becomes red, painful, swollen and warm to the touch, or if you get discharge that is dark yellow, greenish, bloody, or has a bad odor. A small, fluid-filled “pimple” will often accompany facial piercing infections.Healing piercings will normally secrete a white or pale yellow liquid during healing. This is not a sign of infection. A stinky white substance (sebum) from your oil glands can also collect on your piercings. This is normal too and comes off easily in cleaning. If your discharge is light in color and not accompanied by pain, itching, redness, warmth, or swelling, it is probably healthy.
If you do suspect an infection, do not remove your jewelry. Infections are more easily treated if there is still an opening for antiseptics to enter the wound and for discharge to exit. Without jewelry, the surface of the wound closes over and traps infection inside, often causing a local surface infection to become a more generalized one. (Plus, you lose your piercing unnecessarily.) Hot water soaks are the best way to keep minor infections from getting worse. These help draw out discharge, soothe painful tissue, and stimulate your body’s healing mechanisms.
Of course, in the event of a serious infection you should see your doctor. He or she can advise you on the best course of treatment. Just keep in mind that your doctor may not be familiar with treating body piercings.
Irritations. More often than not, what people may think of as an infection is actually the result of irritation. If your piercing is red, swollen right round the hole, peeling, excreting white or yellow fluid, bleeding slightly, or seems to have a solid (not fluid-filled) bump around the jewelry, it is probably irritated. These are all signs that the piercing is being subjected to excessive abuse and trauma.
Some common causes of irritation are touching or playing with your piercing, cleaning it too much, wearing overly restrictive clothing (navels and nipples), applying pressure during sleeping or phone use (ear cartilage), chewing gum, grinding teeth, or playing with the jewelry (tongue piercings), having sex too soon (genitals), or other actions and activities that bump, twist, pull at, or put undue pressure on your piercing.
If your piercing is irritated, figure out what’s causing the problem. Once the cause of the irritation is found and eliminated, symptoms will often disappear. Warm saltwater soaks work well to help soothe painful piercings and keep irritation from getting worse.
Allergic Reactions. It is always possible for your body to react adversely to foreign substances introduced to it, including metals or cleaning solutions. Allergic reactions will often appear as rashes, excessive clear fluid discharge, redness, itchiness, or (with some metal allergies) the skin pulling away from the jewelry. These will show up immediately after being pierced-in the case of a metal allergy-or right after starting to use a new cleaning solution.
When using quality, implant-grade jewelry and appropriate cleaning solutions, allergic reactions are rare. If you suspect you are having an allergic reaction to your cleaning solution (usually this will emerge as a large, red patch around the piercing). Switch to a sea salt or saline solution. If you suspect a metal allergy, stop in and let us have a look. Often simple irritations are mistaken for allergic reactions.
Take a short break from sex. Sexual activity is not prohibited during the entire healing period, but a short break can help heal faster. If you have sex during this time (this includes masturbation), pay attention to any discomfort, practice fluid-safe sex, and be sure to clean your piercing immediately afterward.
Avoid Fluid Exchange. Use barriers to protect your new piercings during any sexual activity, even with monogamous partners. This means condoms over penis piercings and similar protection (dental dams, etc.) over vulva piercings. Unprotected oral sex should especially be avoided during the healing period, as this is one of the easiest ways to get an infection.
Don’t Be Surprised by Bruising. While it doesn’t happen to everyone, bruising is not uncommon with genital piercings.
Be Prepared for Bleeding. Be prepared for bleeding for the first twenty-four hours, and don’t be surprised by spotty bleeding anytime within the first week after the piercing. With Prince Alberts, Reverse PA, ampallangs, and apadravyas expect significant bleeding for the first one to three days; keep these piercings wrapped in gauze for the first several days and put a rubber glove over the gauze wrap the first night. For vulva piercings, use a pad for the first night and longer if necessary.
Much thanks to James Weber & Infinite Body Piercing.
The information highlighted in our aftercare is only to be used as a guide for piercing care, based on experience as a professional body piercer and industry standards. I am not a doctor, and any of the information contained in our aftercare, written or verbal, stated or implied, is not meant to be a substitute for medical advice from a licensed doctor. In the event of a serious infection or other concerning problems, consult your doctor. Please keep in mind that they may be unfamiliar with the issues related to your piercing or body piercings entirely.