Well done! You bit the bullet and got a new piece of body art; now it’s time to heal. We are referring to your new piercing and your aftercare process.
You are probably still a bit swollen and feeling that tender tissue ache. Well, with the help of this quick guide, you will feel better in no time, ready for your next piece of body art.
How to Look After Your Piercing
Looking after a new piercing isn’t a simple task; it takes a lot of planning and discipline. Here are a few quick and general tips to keep in mind:
- Always clean everything that comes in contact with the piercing, including your hands and clothes.
- Avoid submerging the pierced area in a body of water, such as a pool or lake.
- Don’t move, turn, or remove the piercing during the healing period.
- Don’t use rubbing alcohol to clean your piercing. Instead, use either water or a sterile saline solution.
Now that we have the general rules down let’s look at the regulations that come with time.
Within 48 Hours
Directly after receiving your piercing, avoid touching or shifting the stud. It is not common, but it is still possible to bleed at the pierced area during this stage. It is nothing to be concerned about; apply a small amount of pressure using a clean, dry tissue for a few minutes.
The area will also be the most inflamed during this period. The body is busy rushing white blood cells to the site to start the healing process and fend off any bacteria that want to cause an infection. It will begin to go down shortly after this time.
At the end of week one
By now, the swelling and pain have started to subside. Your piercing is starting to feel better, but it is still sensitive to the touch. Although, by now, you would have started getting into a routine with your piercing aftercare.
Try to keep a strict schedule of when you clean, how you clean, and with what you clean your piercing. As mentioned before, especially during the beginning stages of your heal, stay away from anything that isn’t a sterile saline solution or water. Not too much water though, avoid submerging your body piercing.
With time, your piercing will heal. Some piercings take a few weeks, while others can take many months. One major factor that plays a role is health. A healthy body makes for sound healing, so use this time to stick to that diet, get in that exercise, and avoid those harmful substances. In that way, you can reduce your healing period.
Most of all, stick to your routine. Apply your piercing aftercare products as instructed by your artist, don’t sleep on your tattoo, and never move or remove your piercing until fully healed. Wear your new jewelry 24/7 to avoid complications such as scarred tissue or a skew piercing.
It won’t be easy at times but will allow for a faster and better heal. Besides, before you know it, you will be showing off your fully healed piercing.
Things to avoid during the heal
- Rubbing alcohol
- Anti-bacterial ointments, soaps, or scrubs.
- Tea tree oil
- Sea salt
Downsizing your piercing
When you get the piercing, your artist will most likely insert a more extensive piercing that they will downsize later. They do this to allow for swelling and irritation throughout the healing process. You will need to have the jewelry downsized after 5–6 weeks with most piercings. It could take longer, depending on swelling.
Piercing Aftercare Products
There are many different methods of cleaning your new wound. We suggest using a sterile saline solution in an aerosol can or water. Most of your cleaning can be done under a warm shower, allowing the piercing to air-dry afterward.
For those looking for a fantastic sterile saline solution, we recommend using NeilMed Piercing Aftercare. You can spray it in any position, including upside down. It’s also preservative-free, drug-free, and won’t give you any stinging or burning sensations—your perfect aid during the healing process.
Specific Piercing Aftercare Tips
We have discussed what to do in general, but the rules may also vary depending on the type of piercing you got. So, here are some quick and easy tips for the various piercing types:
Ear (Heal: 2–12 months)
- Use a travel pillow to sleep.
- Don’t use headphones if they touch the piercing.
- Pull a t-shirt over your pillow and flip it around each night to clean the surface.
- Keep anything that comes in contact with the piercing clean such as your cellphone.
- Avoid hair products and inform your hairdresser of new piercings.
- Use low pressure when showering to clean the piercing.
Genital (Heal: 1–6 months)
- They tend to bleed freely for the first few weeks, but there is no need to be alarmed.
- No need to clean additionally after urination.
- Avoid lubricants, but they are still better than saliva if needed.
- Gentle intercourse is allowed after 3–4 weeks, and you feel ready, but avoid any strenuous activity.
- Use barriers such as condoms to prevent exposure to your partner’s bodily fluids.
- After sex, a saline rinse would be best.
Oral (Heal: 1–6 months)
- Avoid makeup or cream on the piercing.
- Be careful of spicy food.
- After a meal, we suggest a quick rinse to remove any excess debris.
- For tongue piercings, swelling comes easy. Try to find things to reduce swelling, such as cold fruits, juices, or perhaps ice.
Navel (Heal: 6–12 months)
- Avoid clothing that is too tight.
- Be wary of clothes such as high-rise jeans touching the piercing.
- Try to avoid body sprays and creams on and around the pierced area.
- Getting your hands on a hardcover eye patch and placing it over the navel piercing could protect it from harm. You can use a nylon stocking or elastic bandage to secure it in place.
Nose (Heal: 6–12 months)
- Practice caution when blowing your nose.
- Don’t use any non-saline nasal sprays.
- Beware of harsh face washes.
- Be careful not to use creams and serums on the piercing.
Nipple (Heal: 2–12 months)
- Avoid lace and woven clothing.
- Make sure your clothes are clean.
- A tight cotton bra or shirt could support the piercing while sleeping.
Dermal (Heal: 4–6 months)
- Be careful not to wear jewelry over the piercing.
- Don’t use body cream, sprays, or perfumes around the pierced area.
- Avoid exposure to other bodily fluids.
- Be wary of bag straps or handles.
- You can use a small bandage to cover the piercing while sleeping or engaging in active situations.
Your next body art piece?
Caring for a piercing is no simple task, but it will all be worth it once your wound has healed. Even though it might take quite some time for certain piercings, it gives you more than enough time to save up and find your next piercing or tattoo idea.