Aftercare


The purpose of cleaning a piercing while it is healing is to remove any dead cells and discharge excreted by your body, as well as any external dirt and bacteria picked up during the day. You are not treating the wound with medicine or making it heal, but rather keeping the area clean while your body is healing itself. Basic hygiene and common sense, with particular attention to the specific area, are all that are required. You will be the best judge of what works for you. Pay attention to your body. It will tell you if you are doing something wrong. Listen to it. New piercing's should be cleaned once or twice daily, depending on your skin sensitivity, activities and environment. Continue cleaning every day for entire healing period. Keep in mind that over-cleaning or using too many products can also irritate your piercing.
 

Helpful Tips for Healing

Always wash your hands before touching your piercing or mixing your sea salt solution.

Do not touch your piercing or move it unnecessarily while it is healing.

Avoid contact with other people's bodily fluids.

Avoid pools, lakes, rivers, hot tubs and bathtubs.

Smoking can affect the healing time of piercing's; try to cut back.

Try not to sleep on your piercing. Put clean bedding and pillow cases on your bed.

For facial and ear piercing's, wear long hair up off the healing piercing. This is especially important for cartilage piercing's.

Vitamin supplements like Zinc and Vitamin C can help with healing.

Using clean hands, check jewelry with balls that screw on/off, to make sure they are tight. Right is tight, left is loose.

Avoid
irritants like: Rubbing alcohol, Iodine, Hydrogen peroxide, Listerine®, Antibiotic ointments, Antibacterial soaps, Gly-oxide® and Pierced ear solutions. These items will not help your piercing heal; instead they will prolong your healing time.

WARM SALT WATER

Warm salt-water soaks can work wonders in healing piercings. They help draw out discharge, soothe irritations and may prevent infection. They also stimulate circulation which encourages speedy healing. You can use soaks for general healing, to remove dried discharge "crusties", and to treat minor infections and irritations. We strongly suggest soaking your piercing for fifteen minutes at least once a day, more often if you are having trouble with healing.

Sea salt (non-iodized; available from health food stores and some grocery stores) works best, as it is most pure. Most table salt contains extra chemicals (aluminum, magnesium, iodide, etc.) which can irritate and sting, and dextrose (sugar) which can cause yeast infections. Many non-iodized salts and kosher salts are natural sea salt. Read the label: if it contains only sodium chloride (salt) and maybe a form of calcium (phosphate or silicate to minimize clumping), it’s good. Epsom salts are really too strong and are not meant for surface wound soaking. Don’t use them. To soak: Dissolve (1/4 teaspoon) of sea salt into one cup (8 oz.) of hot water (distilled if possible), or 1/4 cup of sea salt in a hot bath (in a clean tub!). A stronger solution is not better and may actually be harmful to your piercing. Hold it over your piercing for 5-15 minutes (until water cools).  For facial or ear piercing's you can pour some of the mixture into a shot glass, medicine cup or similar small container.
 
Mixing Salt Water

When mixing salt water, keep in mind that the ratio of salt to water is important. You are trying to make 0.9% salt water, just like the salt water (saline) in your body. Since your body is mostly salt water, you can clean the piercing without causing irritation. Chemicals such as alcohol, peroxide, Listerine etc. will only serve to irritate your piercing.

Proportions for mixtures of salt to water are:
1/4 tsp to 1 cup water
1/8 tsp to 1/2 cup water
1 tsp to 32 oz. water
Emu Oil

Emu oil is a deep penetrating, highly moisturizing nutritional supplement for your skin. Emu oil does not clog pores, which allows the skin to breathe during the healing process. Emu oil is rich in essentially fatty acids that feeds the skin to aid in new cell development that promotes faster healing. Emu oil is also used to lessen or eliminate keloids and reduce recent scarring.

For piercing:
Apply emu oil 2-3 times daily after the piercing has been cleaned. Gently massage a single drop of emu oil around the piercing (entrance and exit) with clean finger.

DO NOT DO THE FOLLOWING TO YOUR PIERCING

DO NOT USE! Rubbing Alcohol
Alcohol is far too harsh. It irritates and dries out the skin and can delay healing. It also burns and stings, and may not be as effective on germs (when used topically) as previously thought. Witch hazel solutions containing alcohol and should be avoided.
 
DO NOT USE! Hydrogen Peroxide
Peroxide does kill many bacteria, but it also destroys the healthy skin around the piercing. Used long enough, it can eat away at the skin and actually keep your piercing from healing. Stay away from it.
 
DO NOT USE! Antibiotic Ointments
These include such products as Neosporin®, Bacitracin® and triple antibiotic ointments. These do not work for more than two weeks, as your body becomes tolerant to the antibiotic in that time. This makes them worthless for healing piercing's. They also have large amounts of petroleum jelly in them, which keeps oxygen out of the piercing and creates the perfect warm moist environment for bacteria to breed. The greasy barrier also keeps water and cleaning solutions from effectively reaching your piercing, making it impossible to clean. Read the label: "Do not use on puncture wounds."
 
DO NOT USE! Betadine (Povidone Iodine)/Hibiclens
These solutions may be used for first aid or surgical wound care, but for long-term care they are actually too strong and may delay healing. Betadine may be useful to clear up an infection, but when used too often it can actually kill healthy skin cells, many people also develop sensitivity to these solutions over time.
 
DO NOT USE! Benzylkonium Chloride (Pierced Ear Solution) from the mall.
Benzylkonium Chloride has proven to be problematic for many people. It is not a very effective cleanser as antimicrobial soaps, and does not penetrate or remove oil and discharge in the piercing. Most Benzylkonium Chloride products have a very short shelf life of a month or less.

CARE FOR ORAL PIERCINGS
Oral piercing's (tongue, lip, cheek, monroe) heal very quickly and easily, usually within four to eight weeks. Jewelry can be changed after healing, but should never be left out, even for short periods of time. These piercing's close very quickly without jewelry, sometimes within a few minutes. This is especially true of tongue piercing's. If you like your piercing, keep jewelry in it. If you must hide it, ask your piercer about clear acrylic, glass or tongue colored retainers and balls. Check threaded jewelry periodically to make sure balls and discs are screwed on securely.
 
SWELLING
Expect your new piercing to be rather swollen for at least 5 to 10 days, with residual swelling for a month or so. Rolling crushed ice constantly around the tongue for the first 24 hours keep swelling down and soothes your mouth. Don't suck on the ice because this will cause more trauma to the piercing and make it swell more. Anti-inflammatories (ibuprofen®/Advil®/Motrin®) will also help. Keep your head elevated for a few days (extra pillows when sleeping), and try not to talk too much. Avoid anything which thins your blood (aspirin, alcohol, stimulants, acetaminophen/Tylenol®) or makes your heart pound. Also avoid straws and water pipes, as the suction may cause bleeding and more swelling. Eat whatever is comfortable, though anything spicy, acidic or hot in temperature may increase discomfort in the first week or so. In the first few days chamomile tea may also help keep swelling down and soothe pain. Let it cool or chill it, and hold it in your mouth while drinking it. To allow for swelling, the initial barbell will be larger to allow for swelling. Once the swelling is gone and the piercing is healed, a shorter post can be used. Leaving larger jewelry in is very often the cause of chipped teeth, irritated gums, scarring and other oral damage. But be patient! Changing the jewelry too soon can result in more swelling and delayed healing. Wait until you are healed.
 
CLEANING
You will need to clean the inside of your mouth every time you eat, drink or smoke. The only exception is bottled water. Rinse for 30-60 seconds with warm salt water or non-alcohol antimicrobial/antibacterial mouthwash; look at the instructions on the bottle it may need to be diluted. This will not only clean your mouth, but also will soothe mouth pain and speed healing. It also minimizes the white discharge which normally forms around the hole, and helps eliminate residue from smoking.

Add a pinch (1/4 teaspoon) sea salt to 1-cup (8 oz.) warm water. Use bottled or distilled water, not tap water. (If you have high blood pressure or heart problems, you may need to limit the frequency of salt-water use and use plain warm water rinses. Ask your doctor). If you do choose to use mouthwash, stay away from alcohol-based products such as Listerine® and similar store brands. Which contain 70% alcohol or more are far too harsh, and repeated use will usually slow down healing. Instead, use a non-alcohol antimicrobial/antibacterial mouthwash diluted according to manufacturer's instructions. Tech 2000® and Biotene® are two good options. Jason® Healthy Mouth tea tree oil mouthwash is an excellent, cruelty free alternative, which can also soothe swelling. Do not use any mouthwash product more than 4 times a day.
 
LIP/CHEEK/MONROE PIERCINGS
In addition to the above suggestions, you will also need to clean the outside of your piercing at least twice daily and after smoking. Antimicrobial/germicidal soaps tend to be most effective, especially where oily skin; make-up or smoking is an issue. Individually packaged sterile saline pads from your pharmacy may be helpful for cleaning on the run. Warm salt-water soaks on the outside of the piercing are strongly suggested to speed healing and minimize crusty dried discharge.
 
IN GENERAL
Try to cut back on smoking, and avoid chewing gum or playing with your piercing during healing. Avoid wet kissing and unprotected oral sex until healed. If you must kiss your partner, have her/him first clean their mouth (see above) and clean your own mouth afterward. Remember this is an open wound, and you could be exchanging more than just bacteria. Any fluid exchange should be considered unsafe sex. Even if you are monogamous, your partner still has different natural bacteria than you do, which can cause infections. You wouldn't let them lick a cut, would you?
 
Keep your fingers out of your mouth! Don’t lick your fingers, chew your nails or touch the piercing during healing. Think of everything you’ve touched all day, and everyone else who touched it first. This also applies to chewing on pen caps and other distractions. Get a new toothbrush or put the old one through the dishwasher. After the first few days, brush your tongue and jewelry when you clean your teeth. This will help remove bacteria and plaque build-up, especially on the bottom ball of tongue jewelry. Sensitive or natural toothpastes may be more comfortable than strong commercial varieties.
 
CARE FOR GENITAL PIERCINGS
These piercing's are some of the quickest to heal, so care for them is often very easy. Warm salt-water baths can help healing and soothe piercing's. Add 1/4-cup sea salt to hot bath water (in a clean tub!). Or put 1/4-teaspoon salt in 8 ounces of hot water and press the glass to the piercing. Soak as often as possible (once or twice daily) in the first two weeks, especially the first night. This also helps ease pain and itching. Be especially certain to use sea salt rather than table salt, as table salt may not only sting but may cause yeast infections.
 
SEX
Sexual activity should be avoided for the first two weeks after getting a genital piercing, but it is not prohibited during the entire healing. If you do have sex during this time, do not subject the area to excessive abuse, and be sure to clean the piercing immediately afterwards. This also applies to nipples. Avoid fluid exchange! Men should wear a condom (no spermicide!) and women should consider similar protection (Dental Dams, plastic wrap) to reduce the risk of infection. Unprotected oral sex should be especially avoided during the entire healing. (This is an easy way to pick up a painful infection.) Many people have sex too soon. If you find yourself in this situation with a sore, irritated piercing, treat yourself to a hot salt-water bath. It will usually solve the problem. Pay attention to the piercing, and you should be able to realize when you are abusing it more than you should be. The old rule here is, if it hurts don’t do it.
 
WOMEN
Women, who find antimicrobial soap too strong, warm salt water soaks (in a bath or with a cup) can be combined with saline rinses. Sterile saline gauze packs are available in the first aid aisle of the pharmacy (or ask the pharmacist) , and are also handy for a cooling rinse during the day.
 
MEN
Soap and other cleaning solutions can be irritating to your urethra. If the piercing goes through the urethra (Prince Albert, Reverse PA, Ampallang, Apadravya), urinate after cleaning to rinse out any remaining cleaning solution. Be prepared for bleeding. With the PA, Reverse PA, Ampallang and Apadravya, keep the piercing wrapped in a femine napkin. They work well for this use for the first 1-3 days. Do not be surprised if you get a lot of bleeding, especially the first night; this is perfectly normal. Change bandaging as needed.
 
Healing Times
Everyone heals at different rates and healing times can vary a lot from person-to-person. To help avoid confusion, the following healing times are the suggested timelines to keep cleaning your piercing. Please continue cleaning the piercing with the sea salt solution for the amount of time listed for your piercing. After this amount of time has passed, if your piercing still does not appear or feel healed, continue the cleaning as suggested.
 
  • Ampalang: 2 - 4 months
  • Antibrow: 4 – 8 months
  • Appadravia: 2 - 4 months
  • Bridge: 4 - 8 weeks
  • Cartilage: 2 - 6 months
  • Dydoes: 2 - 4 months
  • Ear Lobe: 4 - 6 weeks
  • Ear Project: 4 - 8 months (Orbitals & Industrials)
  • Ear work Inner: 3 - 6 months (Conch, (Anti) Tragus, Daith & Rook)
  • Eyebrow: 8 - 10 weeks
  • Forchette: 2 - 4 months
  • Frenum: 2 - 4 weeks
  • Hood: 2 - 4 weeks
  • Inner Labia: 2 - 4 weeks
  • Navel: 6 - 12 months
  • Nipple: 4 - 6 months
  • Nostril: 2 - 4 months
  • Oral External: 2 - 3 months (Beauty Mark, Cheeks, Labret, Lip, & Monroe)
  • Outer Labia: 2 - 4 months
  • Prince Albert: 2 - 4 weeks
  • Scrotum: 2 - 4 months
  • Septum: 6 - 8 weeks
  • Surface Anchor: 2 - 4 months
  • Surface Barbell: 4 -12 months
  • Tongue: 4 - 6 weeks
  • Triangle: 2 - 4 months
 
Changing Your Jewelry
A piercing heals on the outside first, so it may appear to be healed long before it actually is. Changing or adjusting jewelry too soon can cause irritation, prolong healing and increase the likelihood of rejection. Unless the jewelry you are wearing is irritating your piercing, you should not change your jewelry or have it adjusted until the piercing is healed. Even after a piercing is well-healed, it could close or shrink when you remove the jewelry. It is always suggested to have a professional change your jewelry for you, especially the first time. Jewelry varies greatly in size and shape, therefore a professional fitting may be necessary when changing styles of jewelry. The piercers at Blue Star Tattoos are always happy to help you change your jewelry.
 
DISCLAIMER:
By using this information you understand and agree that Blue Star Tattoos Inc., its employees, agents, or assigns, will never offer medical advice or diagnosis, and that any information provided by or printed, verbal or other means is purely anecdotal, and that any such information is never intended as substitution for professional medical advice or diagnosis. You are advised to seek professional medical attention should such become necessary in your opinion and at your sole discretion. The products described are not meant to treat or diagnose a disease. The following statements have not been evaluated by Health Department or the FDA; they are based entirely on hands-on experience and observation at Blue Star Tattoos Inc. and the opinions and observations of numerous other reputable professional piercers. Be aware that many doctors have not received specific training regarding piercing.
 

 

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