- Don't touch your piercing without washing your hands first, even if you don't think they are dirty.
- Don't let other people touch your piercing.
- Avoid contact with other people's bodily fluids.
- Avoid pools, lakes, rivers, hot tubs and bathtubs for a MINIMUM of 1 month; longer is better.
- Smoking can affect the healing time of piercings; try to cut back.
- Sleeping on your healing piercing can cause a variety of problems; do your best to avoid it.
- Put clean bedding and pillow cases on your bed.
- For facial and ear piercings, wear long hair up off the healing piercing. This is especially important for cartilage piercings.
- Eat well, get plenty of sleep and drink lot of water while you are healing.
- Avoid irritants like: rubbing alcohol, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, Listerine, antibiotic ointments, antibacterial soaps and pierced-ear solutions. These chemicals can cause irritation to your new piercing and cause it to take longer to ehal. They also will not help your piercing heal.
- After washing your hands, check jewelry with balls that screw on/off, to make sure they are tight. Right is tight, left is loose.
You shoudl do this several time per week.
A normal piercing may:
- Be swollen (especially oral piercings), tender and have some redness.
- Discharge a cloudy fluid which will dry and form "crusties".
- Have a small amount of bleeding or bruising (especially genital piercings).
Not Normal Healing
Many people mistake an irritated or "angry" piercing for an infected piercings. If you have ANY sort of issue or concern about your piecing, please come see one of our piercers right away. If y ou can't make it in, give us a call and we will do our best to help you over the phone. Keep in mind, we will be limited in the suggestions we can make without being able to see your piercing.
So while actual infections are very uncommon, they do sometimes happen. Some common signs of an infeciton in a piercing include:
- excessive redness (note: some slight redness is normal with a new piercing)
- heat (note: a new piercing may be slightly warm for the first day or two)
- excessive tenderness (note: all new piercings are going to be slightly sore)
- excessive swelling (note: most new piercings will be slightly swollen for a few days; especially oral piercings)
- dark discharge
- and/or streaks in the tissue.
An actual infection will need to be treated by a doctor and we will not hesitate to tell you to go to your doctor if we think you are having a problem beyond an irritated piercing.
Cleaning Your Piercing
When it comes to healing a body piercing, it is important to remember that your body must do the healing. As far as your body is concenred, a piercing is a very small wound that should be easy to heal if cared for appropriately. The goal is to keep irritation to a minimum, which will help make the healing time as short as possible.
We suggest cleaning your piercing with a sterile saline wound-wash solution. . Saline is the exact same mixture of salt and water that is already inside your body. Cleaning your piercing with a sterile saline wound-wash soltuion will help get rid of dirt and debris from your piercing without irritating the delicate tissue that is trying to form inside your piercing.
Cleaning Non-Oral Piercings
- Wash your hands, even if you don't think you will touch your piercing or your jewerly
- Spray a small amount of sterilie saline wound wash solution on the piercing to help soften and lossen any "crusties" that may be present.
- For hard-to-reach areas, sterile saline pads (available at pharmacies) are a good option for removing dried matter from the piercing and jewelry
- In a pinch, a gauze pad or q-tip can be saturated with sterile saline solution and used to remove dried matter from the piercing and jewelry.
- DO NOT use a DRY q-tip, gauze pad, cotton ball or paper towel to clean your piercing. These can leave small fibers in your piercing which can cause irritation.
- Clean your piercing 2 - 3 times per day with the sterile saline solution, but no more. Cleaning too often can cause irritaiton and slow healing.
Cleaning Oral Piercings
- Rinse your mouth with sterile saline or salt water (1/4 tsp. salt to 1 cup of water) for 30 seconds after eating, smoking or drinking anything other than bottled water. Swish the sea salt solution like mouthwash
- Do not use Listerine or any other mouthwash that contains alcohol.
- You should cut back, or stop, smoking while your piercing heals. Smoking can be very irritating to a healing piercing.
- It is best to use a mild, non-whitening toothpaste during healing. Whitening toothpastes can cause damager and irritation to a healing piercing.
- Do not play with the piercing or jewelry. This will cause irritation which will cause your piercing to take longer to heal. It also increases the likelihood of scar tissue formation.
Everyone heals differently and healing times can vary a lot from person-to-person. To help avoid confusion, the following healing times are the suggested amount of time you should keep cleaning your piercing. Please continue cleaning the piercing with the sterile saline wound-wash solution for the amount of time listed for your piercing. After this amount of time has passed, if your piercing still does not appear or feel healed, continue the cleaning as suggested.
- Ear Cartilage: 3-12 months
- Earlobe, Eyebrow: 2-4 months
- Frenum, Guiche, Scrotum: 3--6 months
- Hood, Inner Labia, Prince Albert: 2-8 weeks
- Labret, Lip, Monroe, Medusa, Vertical Lip: 2-4 months
- Navel, Nipple, Transverse Lobe: 3-12 months
- Nostril, Septum, Bridge: 2-6 months
- Surface (nape, cleavage, pubic etc.): 4-12 months
- Tongue, Tongue web, Lip frenulum: 3-8 weeks
- Triangle, Ampallang, Apadravya: 4-12 months
Changing Your Jewelry
A piercing heals on the outside first, so it may appear to be healed long before it actually is. Changing or adjusting jewelry too soon can cause irritation, prolong healing and increase the likelihood of rejection. Unless the jewelry you are wearing is irritating your piercing, you should not change your jewelry or have it adjusted until the piercing is healed. Even after a piercing is well-healed, it could close or shrink when you remove the jewelry. It is always suggested to have a professional change your jewelry for you, especially the first time. Jewelry varies greatly in size and shape, therefore a professional fitting may be necessary when changing styles of jewelry. The piercers at Saint Sabrina's are always happy to help you change your jewelry.