How to Care for your Body Piercing
THIS PAGE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND CONTAINS THE BASICS, NOT THE FULL INSTRUCTIONS AVAILABLE IN THE CARE SHEET YOU RECEIVE AFTER YOU ARE PIERCED. IT IS ALWAYS ADVISABLE TO CHECK WITH YOUR PIERCER IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS, PROBLEMS OR CONCERNS ABOUT YOUR PIERCING.
Unique Ink Professional Piercers are highly trained in anatomy, jewelry placement, and sterilization standards. Getting your piercing done professionally at our studio gives you the best chance of having a successful experience!
Body Piercing Facts
Things to be careful of during the healing period:
- Clean your hands before touching or cleaning the piercing during the healing process, and don’t let others’ hands touch the piercing at all during healing.
- Avoid contact with other people’s body fluids (saliva, sweat, etc.). Even your own sweat may irritate the piercing. Be sure to rinse the area after all exercise to remove all sweat.
- If you have genital piercings, always use a condom or dental dam during healing.
- Always wear clean clothing and change bed sheets during healing.
- If you have an ear piercing, clean your telephone with some rubbing alcohol.
- Check any threaded jewelry (such as barbells) twice a day to make sure the ends are tight, otherwise you may find yourself trying to digest your tongue bar.
A piercing is healed by your body, not by cleaning agents. Aftercare simply helps your body be in the optimum state for healing. All pierced areas should be clean and free of contaminants. An antibacterial soap is a good starting point for the cleaning of most (not all) piercings. Be sure that your regular soap does not contain any fragrances, moisturizers or deodorants. These can irritate the area. In addition to keeping the area clean, you should eat well, drink a lot of water, take your vitamins and be well rested. These things will all help your body heal. Salt water soaks can be used, but are not generally recommended for piercings other than the mouth.
TORSO PIERCINGS AFTERCARE
Gently wash piercing and surrounding area with antibacterial soap. Carefully remove all crusty formations from the piercing and jewelry. Rotate jewelry. Rinse off soap and rotate jewelry again, making sure all soap residue is gone. If piercing is slightly infected or irritated, soak it with antiseptic solution and work it into the piercing by rotating the jewelry, and allow it to soak for one or two minutes. Always rinse off all cleaning agents after cleaning your piercing. Warm saltwater soaks remove crusty deposits and secretions during healing. General healing times are:
- Nipple, men: 2-3 months;
- Nipple, women: 3-4 months;
- Navel: 3-9 months.
FACIAL PIERCINGS AFTERCARE
These piercings are best cleaned with Bactine twice a day. Any crusty formation around the piercing and on the jewelry should first be softened and removed with a cotton swab dipped in warm water or warm salt water. Apply and rotate the cleaning agent through the piercing. Allow piercing to soak for one to two minutes before rinsing with warm water. Avoid heavy lotions, make-up, foundations or powders during the healing process. Cover piercing with hand or tissue when using hair spray. General healing times are: Ear lobe: 4 weeks; Eyebrow: 4-8 weeks; Nostril: 6-12 weeks; Ear cartilage: 8-12 weeks; Septum: 6-12 weeks.
MOUTH RELATED PIERCINGS AFTER-CARE
Tongue – Use a 50/50 solution of antiseptic mouthwash and water for at least 15 seconds after putting anything in your mouth other than water (this includes cigarettes). Avoid giving oral sex (receiving is fine) and wet kissing during the initial healing period. Try to avoid alcohol and spicy foods, and try to do everything slowly (i.e. Eat small bites slowly and speak slowly at first). Do not use straws for at least two weeks. General healing time: 1 week for your tongue to become “mostly functional” again, and 4-6 weeks for total healing.
Lip, Labret, Cheek – Should be cleaned on the inside as described for tongue piercings, and on the outside as described for facial piercings. Occasional warm salt water rinses can be used. General healing time: 6-8 weeks.
GENITAL PIERCINGS AFTERCARE
Genital piercings should be cleaned following the instructions for torso piercings. However, the cleaning products may irritate the urethra in both men and women. For piercings that pass through the urethra (Prince Albert, Apadravya, Ampallang), drink a lot of water and urinate often, especially after cleaning, to flush out any residues in the urethra opening. Your urine is sterile to your body. Women should take care not to let any cleaning agent enter the vagina, as yeast infections may result from the depletion of bacteria. Genital piercings should be cleaned after intercourse as well. Use of a condom is necessary during the healing period, and oral contact should be avoided. Also, certain lubricants and spermicides may irritate piercings. How long does a piercing take to heal? General healing times are:
- Prince Albert, Clit Hood, Labia Minora, Clit: 6-8 weeks;
- Ampallang: 6-12 months;
- Labia Majora, Frenem, Scrotal: 2-3 months;
- Dydoe, Apadravya: 4-6 months.
INFORMATION ON CLEANING AGENTS FOR PIERCINGS
- Betadine – may discolor gold or plastic jewelry. Strong antiseptics need only be used in the case of infection, and are not generally required.
- Salt Water Soak – good for loosening up crusty formations. Sea salt is best; do not use table salt.
- Bactine – Bactine is an appropriate cleaning agent for facial piercings, since it contains a small amount of lidocaine. It is good for ears.
- Also appropriate for infected piercings is Neutrogena Antiseptic Cleanser – a good alternative to Bactine for those people with sensitive skin or an allergy to lidocaine.
- Dilute soap 50% with bottled water, shake and apply as a liquid. Fragrance-free and color-free are best.
- Provon Soap – gentle on the skin.
- Antibacterial Dial – Not for sensitive skin.
- Lever 2000 Antibacterial Soap – This is the best type of cleaning agent to start with. For most piercings, it is enough to keep it clean and bacteria-free, and allow the body to do its healing unassisted.
MOUTH-RELATED CLEANING AGENTS
- Gly-oxide, Peroxyl – Used by oral surgeons and dentists to enhance healing, these rinses should be used only in the case of mild infection.
- Mouthwash – There are many suitable brands of mouthwash, but it is important to choose an antiseptic one that does not contain alcohol. Tech 2000 is a good example. For some people, too much use of mouthwash can kill the mouth’s own bacteria (if this happens, you’ll notice bad breath and an off-color tongue).
- Anbesol – Anbesol is appropriate for tongues and the insides of lips. Although it stings a bit when you apply it, it also numbs the area and is good if the piercing is particularly sore. Anbesol may also help reduce keloiding.
- Zinc supplements are not generally recommended.