- Packaged sterile saline solution with no additives, or a non-iodised sea salt mixture: Dissolve1/4 teaspoon of non-iodised (iodine free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz) of cooled boiled water or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better, a saline solution that is too strong can irritate your piercing.
- A mild fragrance free liquid soup – preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.
- Wash your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- Saline soak at least 2-3 times daily. Invert a cup of warm saline solution over the area to form a vacuum. For certain piercings it may be easier to apply using clean gauze or paper towels saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
- Soap no more than once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a pearl size drop of the soap to clean the jewellery and the piercing. Leave the cleanser on the jewellery for no more than 30 seconds.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing. It is not necessary to rotate the jewellery through the piercing.
- Dry by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbour bacteria and snag on jewellery causing injury.
What is normal?
- Initially: some bleeding, localised swelling, tenderness or bruising.
- During healing: some discolouration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form a crust on the jewellery. The tissue may tighten around the jewellery as it heals.
- Once healed: the jewellery may not move freely in the piercing, do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing in your daily hygiene routine then normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
- A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is fine because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be Patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
- Even healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep the jewellery in! Do Not leave the hole empty.
What to do
- Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing it is necessary to rotate your jewellery.
- Stay healthy, the healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Get enough sleep and eat a nutritious diet. Exercise during healing is fine; listen to your body.
- Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly. Wear clean comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.
- Showers tend to be safer than taking baths, as bathtubs can harbour bacteria. If you bath, clean it well before easy use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.
What to Avoid
- Avoid cleaning with Beradine, Hibiclens, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or other harsh soaps, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation.
- Avoid Bactine, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride(BZK). These can be irritating and are not intended for long term wound care.
- Avoid over cleaning. This can delay healing and irritate your piercing.
- Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewellery and vigerious cleaning. These activities can cause formation or unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing and other complications.
- Avoid all oral contact, rough play and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercings during healing.
- Avoid stress and recreational drug use including excessive caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
- Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubes, etc. Or protect your piercing using a waterproof wound-sealant bandage (such as 3M, Nexcare CleanSeals). These are available at most chemists.
- Avoid ALL beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions and sprays, etc.
- Don’t hang charms or any objects from your jewellery until the piercing is fully healed.
Hints and Tips
- Unless there is a problem with the size, style or material of the initial jewellery, leave it in place for the entire healing period. See a qualified piercer to perform any jewellery chafe that becomes necessary during healing.
- Contact your piercer if your jewellery must be removed (such as for a medical procedure). There are non-metallic jewellery alternatives available.
- Leave jewellery in at all times. Even old well healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes – even after being there for years! If removed, re-insertion can be difficult or impossible.
- With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewellery for tightness. (Righty = Tighty, Lefty = Loosy!)
- Carry a clean spare ball in case of loss or breakage.
- Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewellery (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark remain.
In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewellery or an inert alternative should be left in a place to allow for drainage of the infection. If the jewellery is removed, the surface cells can close up, which can seal the infection inside the piercing channel and result in an abscess. Do not remove the jewellery unless instructed to by a medical professional.
- A hard vented eye patch can be applied under tight clothing, or secured using a length of bandage around the body (to avoid irritation from adhesive). This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation and impact during physical activities such as contact sports.
Ear/Ear Cartilage and Facial
- Use the t-shirt trick: Dress your pillow in a large, clean t-shirt and turn it nightly; one clean t-shirt provides four clean surfaces for sleeping.
- Maintain cleanliness of telephones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats and anything that contacts the pierced area.
- Use caution when styling your hair and advise your stylist of a new or healed piercing.
- The support of a tight cotton t-shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially for sleeping.
- Genital Piercings especially Prince Alberts, Ampallangs and Apadravyas can bleed freely for the first few days. Be prepared.
- Urinate after using soap to clean any piercing that is near the urethra.
- Wash your hands before touching or touching near a healing piercing.
- In most cases you can engage in sexual activity as soon as you feel ready but maintaining hygiene and avoiding trauma are vital; all sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.
- To increase comfort and decrease trauma, soak in warm saline solution or plain water to remove any crusty matter prior to sexual activity.
- Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams and waterproof bandages etc to avoid contact with your partner’s body fluids, even in monogamous relationships.
- Use clean, disposable barriers on sex toys.
- Use a new container of water-based lubricant; do not use saliva.
- After sex an additional saline soak or clean water rinse is suggested.
Each body is unique and healing times vary considerably. If you have any questions, please contact us.