Proper Piercing Aftercare Instructions
Almost every shop you go to will give you different aftercare advice. Even websites have varying information. How do you know which one to trust? I have compiled some information that should help ease your pain of finding the right aftercare information. This information comes from years of experience and follow guidelines imposed by the industry's leading professionals.
1. Always wash your hands before touching and cleaning your piercing. We use our hands a lot during the day, and they come in contact with a lot of germs that you don't want inside of your piercing! You can get an infection just by touching a fresh piercing with dirty hands, and in serious cases, infections have led to hospitalization and even death. While hospitalization or death is extremely rare, you shouldn't take any chances.
2. Wash your piercing off with a mild hand soap. Be sure to use soap that doesn't contain any fragrances, and stay clear of soap used for special purposes (such as dry skin soaps, acne scrubs, anti-aging soaps, ect.) If using an antimicrobial soap, be sure it isn't harsh. Do not use any sort of dish soap as it certainly doesn't do any good for a fresh piercing. I reccommend using a brand of soap called Soft Soap. It isn't harsh, and it's about $0.89 at most stores (Krogers, Walmart, ect.). It's easy to find, cheap, and quite effective. You may see numerous products sold specifically for cleaning fresh piercings, and a lot of them really do work well, but they certainly aren't better than any products you can buy at walmart! They are expensive and have to be ordered, so I suggest sticking with the common "sold in store" products that are cheap and just as effective. Wet a Q-tip with warm water, and dab the water around the piercing hole. Then apply a little bit of soap to the Q-tip and apply it on the fresh piercing. Use the Q-tip to scrub off any dirt, debris, and "crust", but don't scrub hard, you don't want to irritate the skin.
Next rinse the soap off and you're done with this step. Some piercers will tell you to rotate the piercing as you clean, others will tell you not too. Some piercers say the jewelry needs to be rotated in order to transfer some of the soapy water to the inside of the whole, and so the jewelry won't get stuck, and others say rotating it can actually introduce harmful bacteria into the piercing, and if there is any "crust" on the ring, it will certainly hurt and tear the healing hole. I advise against rotating any fresh piercing when you aren't cleaning it, as bacteria could have come in contact with parts of the jewelry and by rotating it you'll be directly moving the bacteria into the fresh hole. Remember, you should NEVER take the jewelry out to clean it, a fresh piercing will just close up.
3. This step is only for oral or oral related piercings (tongue, lip, monroe, ect.).
Rinse your mouth out with non-alcoholic mouth wash every time you clean the piercing and after you eat. A lot of piercers will advise you to use listerine and dilute it, but it isn't as effective when cleaning an oral piercing. If you MUST use mouth wash with alcohol, then yes, dilute it, but it's always best to buy mouth wash that is alcohol free.
4. Do a sea salt soak. You can buy sea salt at most grocery stores. When buying sea salt make sure it is 100% sea salt that contains no added ingredients. Put a pinch of sea salt in a small amount of warm water and soak it on your fresh piercing. You can dip a fresh Q-tip into the solution and rub it onto the fresh piercing. After soaking or rubbing the solution on, gently rinse it off with clean water to make sure no residue is left behind. The solution IS safe for use inside of the mouth, but you may not find the taste of salty water pleasant. Sea salt promotes healing, so it's definitely something you'll want to make a part of your daily routine.
5. NEVER, EVER use the following products: Alcohol, peroxide, clogging gel antibacterial creams, house salt, or the "ear piercing cleaning" kit you can get at malls and walmart. None of these things are good for a piercing.
6. If you have an oral piercing (such as a tongue piercing) don't let your piercer tell you that you can't drink beer while it's healing. It's a very common myth that beer causes yeast infections. This is untrue. The yeast in beer is completely different than that of a yeast infection. While I wouldn't reccommend drinking beer anyways with a fresh oral piercing, it won't cause a yeast infection. Often times people rinse their mouth out with an alcohol based mouth wash, and this causes something called "oral thrush". This can scare people and make them think they have a yeast infection, but it's not.
You will want to repeat these steps about 3-4 times a day for the first few of months, and 1-2 times a day after that until the piercing is fully healed. Some piercings heal a lot faster than others, and healing times vary from person to person. The piercing will not hurt the entire time it is healing, however the piercing is prone to infection during the entire course of the healing process, and even afterwords if it is stretched, ripped, or aggitated. Some piercings hurt for a while, but some may only hurt for a few days before they feel like they have completely healed. Remember, just because it doesn't hurt doesn't mean it's fully healed, so you'll want to continue taking care of your piercing even after it stops hurting. Don't change your jewelry for at least a month, and don't change it if it is infected, aggitated, or producing any fluids. If you are haveing an allergic reaction the the metal however, you SHOULD change your jewelry. If you have severe nickle sensitivity, change it to something made of titanium. Surgical steel DOES contain some nickle, and if you are highly alergic, that amount can cause a severe reaction. I wouldn't reccomend wearing any acrylic jewelry or jewelry with acrylic balls until the piercing is healed because acrylic is very porous and can trap bacteria which can lead to an infection. There are safe non-metal alternatives for fresh piercings such as bioplast or PTFE if you haven't had any luck with metal jewelry in the past. Gold and silver jewelry is not recommended in fresh piercings because jewelry made from silver and gold is not 100% pure.