How to Clean your Piercing
• We recommend using packaged sterile saline without additives (read the label) for piercing aftercare. Another acceptable product is witch hazel.
• NEVER use harsh products or products labeled for external use only such as: -Alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial or scented soaps
-Any ointments or petroleum-based products
• ALWAYS clean your hands before cleaning your piercing. DO NOT touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. DO NOT pick at ‘crusties’ with your fingers.
• Clean your piercing(s) 1-3 times a day for the entire healing period. Two times a day is recommended until your piercing becomes established, then you may be able to reduce it down to once a day, if there is no irritation. Overcleaning (more than three times a day) will cause irritation.
• To clean your piercing, soften and remove any ‘crusties’ with saline saturated *q-tips BEFORE moving the jewelry (moving the jewelry with dried secretions on it will hurt, damage your piercing, and slow the healing process). *If you are using q-tips, be sure to be mindful of the fibers wrapping around/sticking to your jewelry
• Once the jewelry is clean, gently move it back and forth once or twice to get saline inside the piercing, then dry the excess saline with q-tips. DO NOT move the jewelry too much or too aggressively, as this will cause irritation.
• After cleaning, always check your beads! They tend to loosen over time, especially when being moved often during cleaning.
• There is no need to clean your piercing in the first 12 hours.
Showering with your New Piercing
• Shower often. Your overall health and hygiene plays a major role in how well your piercing heals.
• Avoid taking baths, as bathtubs harbor bacteria. If you must bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse your piercing when you’re done
• Wash the surrounding area with a mild fragrance-free soap, do not apply soap directly to/inside your piercing.
• Rinse leftover soap off well by running your piercing under water for 3-5 minutes. Warm (not hot) water will facilitate drainage of the wound and bring blood flow to the area; cool water will reduce pain, swelling, and irritation.
• Immediately after your shower, dry the area with a clean disposable product such as a q-tip. Follow with a regular saline cleaning (see above).
• Make sure to use clean towels and avoid using items that harbor bacteria such as loofahs and bars of soap.
• Be very careful with towels and loofahs as piercings can get caught in them easily.
• Avoid all beauty and personal care products in or near the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.
What to Expect
• Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, and/or bruising.
• During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.
• Once healed: the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
• A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is 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 jewelry in it—do not leave it empty.
Things To avoid
• Avoid moving jewelry in an unhealed piercing or picking away dried discharge with your fingers.
• Avoid cleaning with harsh products such as Betadine®, Hibiciens®, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other soaps containing triclosan, as these can damage cells.
• Avoid ointments as they can 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 your healing and irritate your piercing.
• Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of 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 piercing during healing.
• Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. Good health is important for the healing process.
• Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound-sealant bandage. These are available at most drugstores.
• Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing.
• Don't hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.
• Avoid Allowing your piercing to come in contact with anything that’s not clean (ex. couches and phones). Keep anything that comes in contact with your piercing very clean (ex. your bedding, clothes, and masks).
• Avoid Sleeping on your piercing, especially cartilage piercings, this will cause irritation and delay the healing process.
Other Tips and Tricks
• Check your beads often! With clean hands, as part of your cleaning/shower routine, check the beads on your jewelry (righty-tighty, lefty-loosey). Replacement beads are available, but they’re not free!
• Do not play with your healing piercing! It will not heal properly if you do.
• Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly.
• Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing.
• 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 typically fine; listen to your body, and rinse sweat off promptly.
• Be very careful with items that have small holes or loose fibers, such as knitted blankets and towels, your piercings can get stuck in them. If this happens, be very gentle and patient when removing the item.
• Watch out for other things that can catch on your piercing. Seatbelts, masks, belts, clothing, doorways.
• Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewelry, leave it in the place for the entire healing period. See a qualified piercer to perform any jewelry change that becomes necessary during healing. Downsizing your jewelry as extra space becomes available is recommended to prevent catching and “sagging”.
• Contact your piercer if your jewelry must be removed (such as for a medical procedure). There are non-metallic jewelry alternatives available.
• Leave jewelry in at all times. Even old or well-healed piercing can shrink or close in minutes, even after having been there for years. If removed, re-insertion can be difficult or impossible.
• Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, assuming it is in good standing, simply remove the jewelry (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark will remain.
• In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection. If the jewelry 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 jewelry unless instructed to by a medical professional.
Aftercare for Tongue and Oral Facial Piercings
Oral-Facial Piercing Aftercare
Oral-facial piercings such as labret, lip, medusa, and monroe piercings will need to be cleaned on the outside according to the instructions on the front of this pamphlet, as well as on the inside according to the instructions below.
Tongue Piercing Aftercare
• Rinse your mouth for one minute with non-alcoholic mouthwash after anything goes in your mouth other than water, ice, or saline (any food, smoke, and beverages are included). Always keep a bottle of mouthwash with you so you will have it when needed.
• Soak your mouth with saline twice a day (or more if needed) for 3-5 minutes, especially when piercing is irritated. Sea salt mixture: 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt into 8oz of distilled water. Mix and measure properly. A stronger mixture is not better.
• Keep everything and anything out of your mouth that is not clean. This includes items like: fingers, hands, pens, other people’s body parts, etc.
• Refrain from “French kissing” and performing oral sex during the healing period. These activities will share extra bacteria and stress the piercing, potentially causing scarring or further complications.
• With clean hands, check to make sure that each ball on the barbell is secure and tight. You will need to check this daily. Replacement ball(s)/jewelry are available but they are not free.
• DO NOT touch your piercing unless you are cleaning it. Always wash hands with soap and water prior to cleaning your piercing.
• DO NOT play with the piercing during the healing period, this will stress and slow healing and can create scarring or other complications.
• DO NOT “click” jewelry on teeth, or chew on jewelry, as this will weaken your teeth and likely result in permanent damage.
• DO NOT stick your tongue out to show off your piercing while its healing, this will cause extra tenderness.
• Swelling is typical while healing and ice can help reduce some of the swelling for the first couple of days. Salt water rinsing can also decrease swelling and speed the healing time. You may use cold or warm salt water rinses: whichever feels best to you. If you prefer cold items you may suck on ice, popsicles, Slurpees, etc., WITHOUT THE STRAW.
• It is important to avoid crispy, crunchy, spicy, and citrus foods and beverages during the first few weeks. Also, avoid dairy and especially live culture foods such as yogurt, sour cream, and probiotics. The items listed above will severely irritate your piercing and may cause scarring, infection, and delayed healing time.
• Avoid smoking! It increases risks and lengthens healing time.
• Having metal jewelry in your mouth can cause damage to your teeth and gums! It is recommended to switch to plastic jewelry once your piercing is healed.
• Read 'Other Tips and Tricks' (above)