Congratulations on your new piercing! For good healing and years of enjoyment, it is important to take good care of your piercing. Follow these aftercare instructions to keep your piercing clean and trouble free.
What is normal
You can expect a number of things with a new fresh piercing. These are often normal reactions of your body to the piece of jewelry and therefore nothing to worry about. As always applies: if you are unsure whether it is going well, contact your piercer.
What can you expect during healing
- swelling, slight bleeding, tenderness, redness / bruising
- discoloration, itching, bodily fluids white / yellowish (no pus) skin adheres to the jewelry during healing.
You can also sometimes experience some trouble with healed piercings. The following is normal:
- the jewelry may feel a bit too tight, do not force it. If you forget to clean the piercing during your hygiene routine, body moisture and / or gel can build up around the piercing (this can stink).
- a piercing may look healed, but healing starts from the outside. Be patient and follow the follow-up care throughout the healing period.
- Healed piercings that you have had for years can shrink or even grow closed. This varies per person. Keep your jewelry in the piercing if you want to keep it. If there is no jewelry in it, you have to take into account that it grows close. How long it takes your body to close it differs from person to person. therefore always be careful.
- Always wash your hands before doing the aftercare. Leave it alone the rest of the time.
- It is not necessary to twist the piercing during healing.
- Sports / training during healing is good, listen to your body. Pain = stop.
- Get clean bedding and change it regularly.
- Wear airy, comfortable clothing that protects while sleeping.
- Showering is safer than bathing, as bath water can contain bacteria.
- The healthier your lifestyle, the easier your piercing will heal.
- Get enough sleep
- Avoid stress, stress can increase your healing time by up to 40%.
What not to do
- Do not clean with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, sterilone, purol, petroleum jelly or other harsh products that can damage your skin cells. Different types of oil or ointment can also prevent the skin from breathing. Do NOT use the stuff that you sometimes get with earrings that are shot with a piercing gun.
- Don’t overdo cleaning, too much can cause a longer healing time or irritation.
- Avoid friction from clothing, too much movement in the area or playing with the piercing, as this can cause the piercing to produce more scar tissue, slide, or even rejection.
- Avoid oral contact, rough play and contact with other bodily fluids.
- Avoid stress, drugs, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.
- Avoid unsanitary areas, swimming pools, hot tubs, saunas and natural waters, etc. or protect your piercing with m3 Nexcare water patches, available at the drugstore.
- Avoid make-up, lotion and other care products in and around the piercing.
- Do not hang charms or other objects on your piercing until it is completely healed.
- If you think you have an infection, do not remove the jewelry. If you take the jewelry out during infection, there is a chance that the hole will close and the infection will continue inside and cause an abscess. Leave the jewelry in place until the infection is over.
There are many products on the market to care for your piercing, but unfortunately not all are equally suitable. Preference is therefore given to a physiological saline solution. You can get these ready-made at the pharmacy or you can buy them at the better piercing studio.
In any case, never use products such as alcohol, sterilon, hydrogen peroxide, betadine and other aggressive disinfectants. These keep the wound open longer and irritate or dry out the skin around your piercing. Also be careful with “home remedies” that you sometimes come across on the internet. These can actually be harmful.
Body piercings (ear, outside nose, outside lip, nipple, belly button, etc)
- First, wash your hands carefully before cleaning / touching the piercing.
- Physiological saline solution from an aerosol: Before use, spray a short jet into the air or on intact skin to test the jet and clean the nozzle.
- Point the mouthpiece at the area and spray from a distance of 5 to 10 cm, or as comfortable, OR spray the saline solution on a piece of gauze and soak your piercing until scabs are completely soft.
- Let this soak for a few minutes until crusts have become completely soft. You can then carefully wipe it away.
- Crusts that cannot be wiped off with the minimum force can be left to soak a little longer or left until next time you do the aftercare routine. Do not try to scrape off crusts with great force.
- Pat the piercing dry with clean gauze. Also make sure that wet hair does not hang over the piercing after drying. Also, don’t use your towel to dry the piercing as bacteria can grow in it and the jewelry will easily get caught in the loops.
- Repeat this 2 to 3 times a day
- It is best to leave the inside of the nose alone as much as possible. A lot of bacteria naturally live there and it is best to disturb that flora as little as possible.
- There may be some crusts or dirt on the bit of jewellery that sticks out in the inside of your nose. You can remove this by spraying some saline solution on a cotton swab and soaking the bar and the scab with it. When it is completely soaked you can carefully wipe it away.
- Saline solution is safe to use on the inside of your nose. However, give it a rest as much as possible. Too much cleaning can actually cause irritation.
Oral piercings (tongue, inner lip, smiley):
- Lip and tongue piercings are known for swelling. Make sure you have enough length for swelling, or go back to your piercer for a longer bar.
- If you no longer suffer from swelling, consult your piercer, who will replace the long bar for a shorter one to prevent damage to the mouth and tooth.
- Keep a close eye on your oral hygiene, brush your teeth 3 times a day and rinse twice a day with a mouthwash that does not contain alcohol or, if desired, rinse with a mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine (for no longer than 4 weeks).
- Do not eat too salty, spicy or too hot.
- Eating or drinking cold can help reduce swelling.
- For the first few days, sleep with your head a little higher and make sure your head is higher than your heart.
- Avoid dairy products as they contain more bacteria.
- After healing you also (carefully) brush your piercing to prevent plaque.
- Avoid oral contact such as French kiss and (unsafe) oral sex while healing.
- Intimate piercings such as Triangles, prince Albert, ampallangs and apadravyas may bleed a bit in the first days. It may therefore be useful to use a pantiliner or incontinence diaper for men during this time.
- Drink plenty of water during healing.
- If you used soap close to your piercing, try to urinate immediately.
- Wash your hands before touching the piercing.
- In most cases, you can be sexually active again after a few weeks/months, provided you are ready yourself. Do not force anything and consult together to avoid trauma. Be careful and maintain good hygiene. If it hurts, stop and wait a little longer.
- Use condoms or waterproof patches to avoid contact with body fluids. The area of the piercing must be completely covered.
- Use protection over sex toys and a new tube of lubricant.
- After sex rinsing is recommended with saline.
- This piercing requires good care, even after healing time because dirt and crusts under the piercing can build up and irritate the piercing
- Even after healing, it is recommended to soak once a week with a physiological saline solution.
- Avoid make-up, lotion, etc. on and around the piercing
Despite good care, a surface piercing often is not permanent like a regular piercing.
When in doubt or if you no longer want the piercing. The studio will also delete these for you.
The healing time of a piercing differs per piercing and per person. General health and physical condition play an important role in this. Cold compresses cool the skin and counteract any burning sensation. See “Average Healing Times” for an indication of how long it will take for your piercing to fully heal.
Please note that after the first phase of healing, do not forget to downsize the jewelry. Wearing an overly lengthy bar for too long can cause complications.
Downsizing can occur after approximately:
- Lip and tongue piercings after 2 weeks
- Cartilage after 2/3 months
- After 6 to 8 weeks you can come by for a free check up
One of the risks when getting a piercing is that it can become infected. If your piercing is infected, it is important to contact your doctor. Don’t wait too long with that either. The sooner you start a treatment, the easier it is to get rid of it. You can contact your piercer if you are unsure whether it is infected and you want your piercer to check it. Contact your doctor or piercer as soon as possible if you experience one or more of these complaints:
- redness and swelling that extends more than an inch (1.5 cm) from around your piercing.
- red streaks or welts running away from your piercing.
- fever, nausea, vomiting.
- the piercing feels very warm.
Tips & tricks
- unless there is a problem with the length, style or material of the jewelry, leave it alone during the healing process. If this needs to be done during the healing process, go to a good piercer for jewelry changes.
- Contact your piercer if you need a piece of jewelry that should not be made of metal, for an MRI, X-ray, surgery or other medical examination.
- Always put a piece of jewelry in your piercing. Even if you have had the piercing hole for years, there is always a chance of shrinking or closing.
- Your body needs time and rest to heal the piercing. There are no substances available that accelerate healing. Even though some manufacturers claim their product does so, NOTHING has been proven. So don’t be fooled and leave your piercing alone as much as possible.
- With clean hands or a tissue you regularly check whether your ball / gem is still firmly attached to the post to prevent losses.
- Keep an extra ball or gem with you, just in case. Especially when you go on vacation.
- If you decide you don’t want a piercing anymore, remove the jewelry (or have your piercer do this) and keep the piercing clean until it closes. Usually only a small scar remains.