It is very important to adhere to the after-care recommendations when healing a new piercing. Different areas of the body do require special instructions for after-care. We have laid out these instructions per body part below, along with some helpful tips to better heal your new piercing. Let you piercer know if you should have any questions.
general After-Care Instructions
- Wash your hands prior to cleaning the pierced area. For at least the first six weeks, properly cleanse the pierced area with a sterile saline solution. DO NOT use antibacterial soap, antibiotic saline, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, petroleum-based ointments, iodine, ear-care solutions, contact cleaning solutions, or soaking/enzyme solutions. For hard to reach areas, you may use a cotton swab.
- DO NOT RE-BANDAGE THE PIERCING UNLESS ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. If you do need to re-bandage the piercing, be sure to use sterile bandage(s) or other sterile dressing(s).
- Repeat the cleaning procedure 3-4 times per day, or as needed.
Gently clean the jewelry without turning it, along with any “crusty” residue and the surrounding skin using sterile saline and a cotton swab. Be sure to clean all sides of the piercing but do not work the saline into the piercing hole.
Repeat a few times a day until completely healed, especially when engaging in any activity that might cause the jewelry to turn or move, such as exercise, bathing or sleeping. Also, you should use a saline cleanse anytime the piercing feels uncomfortable or sticky.
In a clean glass container, heat a small amount of saline to a comfortably warm temperature in the microwave. Place it in a position that will soak your piercing, such as to lay an ear. You can also use sterile gauze saturated in the warm saline for piercings that are harder to reach. Once the saline solution is no longer warm or after about 6 minutes, remove and rinse the piercing with fresh saline.
Repeat once or twice a day in addition to the above cleansing. You can also use a saline soak or cleanse anytime your piercing feels irritated after it has healed.
Oral After-Care Instructions
For the external side of the lip, labret or monroe, follow the steps above for the saline cleanse.
For the internal side of the oral piercing, be sure to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and use ice to help ease any swelling. Maintain your normal oral hygiene routine but do not over-use mouthwash.
After eating, drinking, smoking, or putting anything inside the mouth, you should clean with an antiseptic or salt water mouthwash. DO NOT use any carbamide peroxide solutions.
Additional Advice for Tongue Piercings
When brushing your teeth, gently brush your tongue to remove any dead skin from the pierced area. Eat slowly and be mindful of your chewing. You should avoid any food or drink that is hot or spicy as they could scald and/or increase swelling. Yogurt, beer and wine are ok to consume and will not affect the healing of your piercing.
Genital After-Care Instructions
Follow the instructions above for a saline cleanse and repeat until healed. The best thing you can do to heal a genital piercing is to abstain from sexual contact for at least 4 weeks or until it has completely healed. Sexual contact during healing can be dangerous to you and/or your partner, especially if the piercing becomes irritated by “playing rough”.
Although female genital piercings tend to heal fast and easlity, you can expect the piercing to bleed a little for the first couple of days. If the piercing is still bleeding after 2 days, you should contact your piercer for further instructions.
With piercings going through the head or the urethra, you can expect the piercing to bleed for a few days. If the bleeding persists after 3 days, or if there is heavy bleeding in that area, you should contact your piercer for further advisement.
Additional Tips for a Better-Healed Piercing
- For at least the first six weeks, minimize exposure to filth.
- DO NOT play with new piercings, as physical irritation is the most common problem.
- When clothing will cover a piercing, wear clean, loose, breathable fabrics.
- Do not remove or change jewelry until healing is complete.
- Do not engage in oral or sexual contact in the area of any fresh piercing.
- Do not submerge in water for at least six weeks, i.e. bathing or swimming.
- Chlorine is irritating to healing piercings. Avoid chlorinated hot tubs and pools until the piercing is healed. Lakes and oceans may contain high bacteria levels, which presents an additional risk. If you do decide to go swimming in any body of water, be sure to cleanse all piercings with saline after going in the water.
IN CASE OF INFECTION OR ALLERGIC REACTION, please consult a health care practitioner and report any diagnosed infection, allergic reaction, or adverse reaction resulting from the piercing to the piercer and to the department of health at 1-888-839-6676.
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