Aftercare is a critical part of your piercing experience. It’s important to take care of your new piercing to ensure proper healing without infection. These simple, effective guidelines are based upon the experience of our piercers and current industry best practices.
Please note: We are not medical professionals and our suggestions, whether written, verbal or implied, should not be construed as medical advice or considered as a substitute. If you suspect an infection or other serious problem, seek medical attention immediately. Please keep in mind that many doctors have not received specific training regarding piercing, and the removal of jewelry may lead to further complications.
- Do not touch your piercing with dirty hands.
The only time that you should touch your piercing is with freshly washed hands during cleaning or when tightening the balls. With any threaded jewelry (straight, curved or circular barbells), you should tighten both balls daily. Always remember: “Righty-tighty; lefty-loosey.”
- Do not move the jewelry.
There is no need to move or rotate your jewelry, as this can cause irritation and may damage healing tissue. We pierce with the finest jewelry on the market. It is very biocompatible and will not stick to your body. Our steel is ASTM F-138 implant certified, and our Titanium is ASTM F-136 implant certified. Our gold is solid 14k or solid 18k. Our white gold is nickel-free. We don’t pierce with anything plated.
- Do not wear constrictive clothing.
Tight clothing can move the jewelry away from where it usually rests, causing irritation and discomfort. Avoid sleeping on your stomach with navel or nipple piercings.
- Keep other people’s body fluids off your new piercing.
Bodily fluids can contain bacteria, which can lead to infection.
- Keep your piercing out of large bodies of water.
This includes lakes, rivers, oceans, swimming pools, hot tubs and even your own bathtub for the first three months. “Tegaderm” and “Clean Seals” are waterproof bandages that will protect your fresh navel or nipple piercing from exposure to unclean water.
- Keep any products other than your cleaning products away from your piercing.
This includes hand or body soaps, shampoo, makeup, lotions, face scrubs, etc. These can cause irritation, discomfort, complications and delay healing.
- Hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or witch hazel.
They can be exceptionally drying and can kill new cell growth, prolonging the healing process.
- Ointments such as Bacitracin, Neosporin, triple antibiotic ointment or any other petroleum based products.
Petroleum does not allow oxygen to get to the piercing or cellular slough to exit the piercing, and it creates a warm moist environment for bacteria to grow. Furthermore, the label specifies “Not for use on puncture wounds.”
- Surgical scrubs such as Iodine, Betadine or Hibiclens.
These products are too strong and can lead to irritation that will do more harm than good.
- Benzethonium or benzalkonium chloride solutions, including Bactine or ear care solutions.
These agents have limited effectiveness against many types of pathogens and have a high chance of becoming contaminated.
- Antibacterial soaps such as liquid Dial, Lever 2000 and Softsoap.
They contain chemicals that can promote scarring and are not intended for use on damaged tissue.
Using a salt water soak or saline spray twice daily can speed up the healing process, reduce the chances of infections and help soothe an irritated or tender piercing. Use of a warm salt soak can increase circulation at the piercing site and draw out cellular slough and impurities from the piercing.
Note: If you are using a saline spray such as NeilMed or H2Ocean we have found in our experience that clients will get best results if they saturate a non-woven gauze pad with the saline and apply the soaked pad to the piercing as a gentle compress over a 5-10 minute period. While you can also simply spray the area we feel this method helps to fully saturate the piercing and get the best out of the product. We do not suggest the use of Q-tips or other cotton products with loose fibers.
Combine 8 oz. of warm distilled or bottled water with ¼ teaspoon (or 4 teaspoons of salt to one gallon) of natural non-iodized sea salt in a disposable plastic cup. For soaks, use a new, clean cup each time. Place the cup firmly over the piercing site and apply pressure to maintain a seal, allowing the piercing to soak for 10 minutes. If the piercing is in an area where this is not possible, such as a facial or ear piercing, use a clean paper towel or gauze pad dipped in the warm salt water solution and apply to the piercing, re-dipping every few minutes to keep the compress warm. Rinse the piercing with water after your sea salt soak. Do not use table salt or Epsom salt, as these contain chemicals that are not conducive to healing and may be too strong or irritating.
The best time to do one of your daily salt water soaks is right before your daily cleaning with your antimicrobial soap, as this will loosen up any crusted matter on the piercing site and allow for easier cleaning.There are also pre-mixed solutions such as H2Ocean available that are ideal for piercing care when you are away from home.
You may choose to use an antimicrobial soap such as PurSan or Provon in addition to your saline solution. While this certainly beneficial to the piercing it is important to remember that it is possible to over clean a piercing and as such we don’t suggest using a soap more than three times a week.
Pour a dime-sized amount in the palm of your hands and lather the piercing, jewelry and surrounding area, taking care to remove any crusted matter that may be on the jewelry. You do not need to rotate the soap into the piercing, but once you have rinsed the soap off the piercing, you may rotate the jewelry under running water to remove any traces of soap. Use a disposable paper towel or clean gauze to dry your piercing when you are done. Avoid bath towels, as even a clean towel can harbor bacteria or have residue from cleaning products that can irritate your piercing.
If you are currently using mouthwash as part of your oral routine, do not exceed use more than twice a day. If you do not typically use a mouthwash but would like to add one as part of your after-care routine, use an alcohol-free mouthwash no more than twice a day. Do not use alcohol-based mouthwashes such as Listerine, as alcohol is not conducive to the healing process. Overusing mouthwash or using a mouthwash with alcohol could kill all the bacteria that eat yeast and molds in your mouth, causing a perfect environment for the natural yeasts in your mouth to flourish.
Mix 8 oz. of bottled or distilled water with ¼ teaspoon natural non-iodized sea salt (or 4 teaspoons to 1 gallon). Mix this in an 8 oz. cup and use a new cup each time. You can rinse up to 4 times a day. Do not overclean your oral piercing. After meals is a good time to do a salt soak.
Your piercing is expected to be noticeably swollen for the first few days, with residual swelling that will decrease gradually in the first month. The original piece of jewelry in your oral piercing may seem long or too large. This extra length is to accommodate swelling. When the swelling has subsided, it is important that you come back and purchase something shorter. This shorter piece of jewelry will be more comfortable and fit better, which will be safer for your teeth and gums. During the initial swelling period, 3-5 days, the following suggestions may decrease your swelling and ease your discomfort:
- Keep your mouth cold with crushed ice, ice cream, slushies, shakes, etc. If you have a tongue piercing, do not use straws for the first week.
- Smoking or other tobacco use, alcohol, caffeine or recreational drugs can cause excessive swelling, bleeding, soreness and other complications that may delay the healing process. They should be avoided or their use should be reduced dramatically.
- You can eat whatever is comfortable, with the exception of hot or spicy foods that can cause discomfort or irritation. Be careful when eating. Your initial jewelry has extra length that you are more likely to bite.
- Do not play with your jewelry. During your initial healing period, your piercing can tear easily, which not only causes discomfort, but can also make your piercing look crooked. Playing with your jewelry can also increase your chances of having tooth or gum damage.
- Continue to practice good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day even though your piercing may be tender. All oral contact must be avoided, as other people’s body fluids can lead to an infection
Healing times are based upon the experience of our piercers and current industry standards. It is important to remember that these times are generalized and that we all heal at different rates. Other factors that can contribute to the healing process include how the piercing is cared for, stress, illness, diet, climate and more.