How to Take Care of Your Piercings: Aftercare 101
When you hear "aftercare" you may feel overwhelmed. With so much information on the internet, it can be difficult to know what is really true in terms of piercing care! Some people swear by alcohol, while others highly vouch for sea salt. We are here to clear this confusion! Today's blog post is all about how to take care of your new piercing. We will walk you through aftercare step by step, and by the end you'll be a pro!
Everybody knows that you have to clean your piercing. If you don't you'll likely end up with a disgusting mass of filth and end up having to take your piercing out!
CLEANING YOUR PIERCING
Once or twice a day, you need to clean your piercing. This means the front and the back! You have a few options for doing this.
1. Saline Spray: A gentle saline spray is a great and convenient option to clean your piercing with. Many brands, such as NeilMed Piercing Aftercare, come in an easy to use bottle that sprays at any angle, making it super easy to reach even the back of those hard to reach piercings! Any saline spray with no additives will work though. No rinsing is needed here!
2. Sea Salt Soak: All you need for this is non-iodized sea salt, warm water, and a clean container. Mix 1/8-1/4 teaspoon of salt with one cup (8oz) of warm water. Place the container over your piercing, make it airtight against your skin, and flip the container- soaking your piercing for 2-5 minutes. No rinsing is necessary for this method either.
3. Soap: A gentle soap can often be the best idea for your piercing. You'll need to find a soap that contains no fragrance, dyes, or triclosan. Simply mix a bit of the soap with warm water and soak the piercing just like the sea salt soak- only this time you will have to rinse. Be sure to rinse your piercing for at least a minute to ensure that you remove all soap residue!
It is also helpful if you rinse your piercing under the water in the shower each day after shampooing your hair. Since your ear is so close to your hair, shampoo often gets in your piercing without you even realizing it! The chemicals in shampoo can dry your piercing out and make it take longer to heal. Rinsing like this will also remove any crusties that may have accumulated on your piercing.
In order to find what works best for you, you'll need to experiment with these methods and see what your body responds to the best. Personally, I have found that using the saline spray 1x each day along with an additional soap-soak once a week really makes my piercings heal quicker!
WHAT NOT TO DO
There is a long list of things that various sources on the internet recommend, but that you certainly should not do. Here are a few of the biggest culprits of false aftercare practices, along with a few other things you should be sure to avoid doing.
- Alcohol & Peroxide: Neither of these substances should ever be used on piercings. They dry out the skin, making it harder for the piercing to heal!
- Picking: If you pick at your piercing, you are harming the healing process. When your body heals it naturally secretes fluids- you will see this build up around the piercing. It also acts sort of like a scab- protecting the area so that the new flesh can grow underneath, so you need to leave it in place. The only way you should remove it is in the shower water as mentioned above!
- Turning your jewelry: This is another recommended practice that is actually terrible for your piercing. Just like picking, when you turn your jewelry you're ripping the flesh around it back open, as well as distributing bacteria from your fingers to the piercing! Gross!
- Cotton Products: Cotton balls, and Cotton Swabs should never be used on your piercing! The little pieces of cotton get stuck on your jewelry or in the piercing itself and harbor bacteria.
- Dry Your Piercings: After cleaning, your piercing should left to air dry. Do not try to dry it with any towels, cloths, or paper products, as they could snag the jewelry or get stuck in the piercing to harbor bacteria!
- Forget to Clean: Forgetting to clean your piercing can be disastrous! Be sure to care for your piercing every day. If you cannot stick to that, you should consider not getting a piercing. They take lots of patience and care!
- Sleeping: Sleeping on your piercing will cause lots of complications as well! During healing, your piercing jewelry should have a bit of extra length to accommodate for possible swelling. This extra length will allow your piercing to be pushed at an angle if you sleep on it, which can cause the piercing to migrate, reject, or heal crooked!
- Changing Jewelry: Do not change the initial jewelry you were pierced with until your piercing is fully healed. Doing so can create some huge issues! If you feel you need a change, consult your piercer and have them do the change for you.
- Ointments & Creams: NO ointments or creams should be used on a piercing gunless suggested by a knowledgeable piercer. They blog off the air flow to the piercing, making it harder to heal!
TIPS FOR SUCCESS
‣ Invest in a neck pillow to allow you to sleep comfortably on your side while keeping any pressure off of your piercings. Sleep with your ear in the hole so that it is not laying on the pillow itself!
‣ Keep in mind that any cartilage piercing will take much longer and much more care to heal than a regular lobe piercing!
‣ Don't be afraid to test the different aftercare methods to see what works best for your body. Being overall healthy will make your healing process smoother! This means exercising, and eating better foods. As a side effect, you will feel happier and have more energy as well!
‣ Please research your piercer before getting pierced- be sure they are clean, safe, and knowledgeable. They should use internally threaded implant grade jewelry for your initial piercing and you should schedule follow up appointments immediately after being pierced so that you do not end up skipping them!
‣ If you have excessive swelling, you can *carefully* ice your piercing! Use a clean plastic bag, and get a new bag for every use.
‣ Create a daily routine each morning or night that includes your aftercare so you never forget to do it!
‣ If you go swimming, or your piercing is exposed to other potentially harmful water, wash your piercing immediately afterwards to get rid of any bacteria that may be present.
‣ DO NOT remove your jewelry unless advised by your piercer!
‣ With clean hands, regularly check any threaded parts of your piercing jewelry to ensure that they are still tight and will not fall off.
‣ Wash your pillowcase and sheets regularly to reduce bacteria buildup from those locations.
‣ Learn the stages of a healing piercing so that you are more informed and will know when your piercing is actually fully healed versus when it 'feels' healed!
I want to start out by saying that if you are unsure that your piercing is okay, your first step should be to seek the advice of your piercer. Friends, a doctor, or the internet do not have the necessary knowledge to diagnose your particular issue because so many factor play in.
Piercing bumps are a common issue, but not one that you should be overly scared about. See this blog to learn about the different types and methods to heal a piercing bump.
If your piercing seemingly 'just won't heal' be sure that your jewelry is the appropriate size. Extra length causes the piercing to get snagged a lot which can prevent healing.
If your piercing is consistently bleeding, you probably need to ensure that your piercing jewelry is made of an implant grade material, and that you're not excessively bumping ir pulling on your piercing in your day to day life.
Its good to know that actual piercing infections are rare. People always say right off the bat that their piercing is 'infected', but swelling, redness, heat, and fluid secretion is all perfectly normal! If you really think your piercing is infected, you should see your piercer immediately.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE MY PIERCING TO HEAL?
The healing time of a piercing completely depends on how adequate and consistent you are with your aftercare practices. If you do everything to a T, your piercing will heal within the recommended time. If you are okay with aftercare, but some days your forget, your piercing will take longer to heal. If you always eat out and never exercise, your piercing will probably take longer to heal. The best way to get your piercing healed quickly is to follow everything listed in this guide!
I hope this comprehensive guide has been helpful! Please hit one of those share buttons below so that we can get this correct knowledge out to more people ☺️
Until next week,