We have found that using a gentle sterile saline or mock saline solution to rinse and/or soak the piercings helps to cleanse and soothe your new healing piercings the most effectively without causing damage to the new healing skin. Use one of the products listed below to cleanse your piercings 2-3 times daily:
- Sterile Saline Wound Wash (0.9% Sodium Chloride)
- Mock Saline Solution
- (1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon non-iodized sea salt : 8 ounces distilled water) mixed fresh daily for soaks or rinses.
- (~4 teaspoons salt : 1 gallon distilled water) stored in the refrigerator and poured/used as needed for soaks or rinses. Never re-use the solution, and discard after 3-4 weeks.
General Piercing Aftercare and Healing Tips
First Few Weeks : The first 6 weeks is the most important time in piercing healing! During this time, it is most sensitive to physical and chemical irritants, as well as bacterial invasion. Try your best to adhere to proper aftercare techniques during this time!
- Keep your piercing dry and clean! Do your best not to contaminate your piercing with dirty hands (that means no touching!), make up, soaps, or skin care products.
- DO NOT use products like: Rubbing alcohol, Peroxide, Bactine, Neosporin, antibacterial or antimicrobial products. These are way too harsh to put on your new piercing, and will likely harm more than they help.
- DO NOT pick off any buildup of dried fluids! Picking off “crusties” constantly irritates the skin surrounding the piercing! It’s just like picking the scab off of any other cut or scrape on the body.
- DO NOT move or rotate the jewelry! Avoid moving the jewelry through the piercing, even during cleanings. It’s unnecessary and irritating to the piercing.
- Avoid pressure from tight clothing or sleeping on your piercing! This can cut off circulation to the piercing and cause irritation, migration, or worse! Especially in the case of ear cartilage piercings, sleeping on a piercing can make it almost impossible for it to heal. Consider obtaining a U or O shaped pillow that allows you to sleep on your side comfortably without smashing your ear and piercing for 1/3 of the day.
- Avoid submerging your piercing in public water areas! Public water areas contain large amounts of foreign bacteria as well as strong chemicals and a whole lot of other things you might not want to put on or near a fresh piercing! If submersion is unavoidable, wear a waterproof occlusive bandage such as Tegaderm for the duration of the activity. Be sure to clean the surrounding area with distilled water and a clean disposable paper product before and after applying and removing the bandage. If applying a bandage is not practical, proceed with caution, and clean the piercing as soon as possible upon exiting the water. Remember: Each time you expose yourself to unclean environments, you are taking a risk!
- Avoid contact with bodily fluids on or near the piercing. Saliva and other bodily fluids can present a bacterial threat to your new healing piercing. Even with a monogamous partner, use appropriate barriers such as condoms, dental dams, gloves, etc. Be sure to clean the piercing thoroughly after, even if barrier methods are used.
- If your piercing gets dirty: Whenever using a soap on or near the piercing, try to use something as mild and gentle as possible, such as a glycerine or castille based soap free from fragrances, dyes, moisturizers, deodorants, or antibacterial ingredients. Lather around the piercing entry and exit points, but do not attempt to get soap inside the piercing channel. Rinse thoroughly [preferably with clean, distilled water] and pat dry with a clean paper towel or blow dry.
- Jewelry should NOT be removed or changed at home until solid healthy skin has sealed the area. If you wish you change your jewelry, we can do it without damaging the piercing for a small fee.
- If your jewelry is removed for any extended period of time, reinsertion can become more difficult. The longer the piercing is left without jewelry, the tighter and more difficult reinsertion can be, but many times the piercing has shrunk, not sealed shut. We can usually open the piercing and reinstall your jewelry for you with an insertion taper, if you come back as soon as possible.
Other Tips and Tricks for Speedy Healing!
- Try to protect your piercing from products that may include chemical irritants during the healing process. This includes makeup, lotions, soaps, astringents, cleansers, etc.
- Your body has its best potential to heal a wound when you live a healthy lifestyle! Boost your body’s immune system by eating balanced, nutritional meals, being well rested, and staying active.
- Avoid consuming substances that force your body to filter out toxins instead of healing your piercing. That means staying away from illegal drugs, large quantities of alcohol, and tobacco products!
Alternative Aftercare for Problematic Piercings
Is your piercing having issues? It is not uncommon for irritated piercings to exhibit heightened tenderness/soreness, clear-milky discharge, as well as the dreaded “bump”. Below are some ways to help soothe your piercing and help it get back on track to being a healthy, happy piercing!
- Warm Chamomile Tea Bag Compresses can help soothe the piercing, improve circulation to the area, and are very easy to do! (Note: This is not appropriate for individuals who have a ragweed allergy.)
Obtain bags of plain chamomile tea. Heat water, and steep the bag for a few minutes. Apply the tea bag directly to the piercing and surrounding area to do a warm compress. If the bag cools, just dip it in the tea to warm it and re-apply. Repeat for approximately 8-10 minutes. Depending on the severity of the irritation, the compress can be applied 1-3 times daily. Discard tea after single use. CAUTION: Be sure the bag is not scalding hot! Applying a boiling hot compress not only hurts your fingers, it hurts your piercing!
- Warm Sea Salt Soaks are a tried and true method of soothing irritated piercings, drawing out contaminants/stagnant cellular waste, and increasing blood circulation to the area.
Mix 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon with 8 ounces of distilled water and heat in a microwave for 15-30 seconds [depending on the strength of your appliance]. Dip your piercing into the solution for approximately 8-10 minutes. For piercings on flat surfaces of the body, such as navel or surface piercings, place your piercing over the cup and then press the cup firmly against your skin and stand up straight (shot glasses work great for this). This should create a seal and allow you to soak your piercing easily. Depending on the severity of the irritation, this soak can be done 1-3 times daily. More soaking does NOT mean more healing. Do not constantly soak your piercing in an attempt to heal faster! You can’t rush the sunset!
You can mix large amounts of this saline solution by purchasing 1 gallon of distilled water and pouring in 1 tablespoon of non-iodized sea salt. Close the lid. Shake well. Label. And store in your refrigerator to use as needed. Discard after 1 month if it has not all been used. [CAUTION: Adhere to the salt:water ratios stated here. Too much salt can potentially leave you with a chemical burn, or at the least dry out and damage your skin. Too little salt will be ineffective.]