By Mariel Court
Figuring out how to care for your fresh body piercings is just as important as the decision you make to get a piercing in the first place. Rather than scour the web for all the different advice, bookmark this page for the best aftercare practices to keep your piercings healthy and happy.
1. What is aftercare?
2. Best aftercare supplies.
3. Best cleaning techniques.
4. Best lifestyle habits for healing your piercing.
5. Best practices to support your healing long term.
6. If something seems wrong.
What Is Aftercare?
Aftercare for a piercing is allowing your body to heal. Remember: Piercings are wounds! It's easy to believe you're simply installing a piece of gorgeous new BVLA yellow gold and moving along.
But piercings are way more involved than wearing a new necklace. Medical and piercing professionals are deeply trained in their craft to mitigate harm and create intentional wounds, but still - these are wounds. Learning to care for them as intentionally as you would for stitches after surgery is the best way to guarantee your piercing heals well and leaves your aesthetic as beautiful as you intended.
Best Aftercare Supplies
At Agave in Bloom, we recommend and carry NeilMed Wound Wash Piercing Aftercare as the best product available for cleaning your new piercing. Other shops may recommend cleaning with a mild soap mixture, but really, this isn't necessary. NeilMed Wound Wash is an isotonic, preservative free, sterile saline solution.
Worst Aftercare Supplies
Packaged sterile saline solution is the best way to keep your piercing healthy and clean. Occasionally, piercing studios may recommend a specialty solution, different ointments, or even soaps designed for wound care.
Don't use them.
Specialty solutions may contain hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, glyoxide, or even antibacterial ingredients - all of which will kill the white blood cells working to heal your piercing. Unless you are experiencing an infection, saline solution is the best way to care for your piercing.
Occasionally, studios may also recommend mixing your own solution of sea salt and water for piercing care, but this is not good advice. This practice typically results in the solution being too salty, causing your wound to dry out and interfere with the healing process.
If you are experiencing an infection, calling your piercer and/or your doctor is the best route forward.
Best Cleaning Techniques
Before you even consider touching your piercing (or jewelry), wash your hands with soap and hot water.
Use a sterile saline solution to rinse your piercing gently as needed. This can be done with a clean Q-tip or tightly woven gauze saturated with sterile saline, depending on the placement of your piercing.
It is never necessary to rotate the piercing jewelry. Rotation will tear the skin that is healing around your new jewelry, extending the healing time frame.
If you want to dry the piercing, do not use towels which can harbor bacteria and snag on the jewelry. Use only clean, disposable paper products to pat dry. You can also use a blow dryer on low heat for a few seconds to dry the area.
Lastly, avoid overcleaning. It may be tempting to clean your piercing throughout the day, but morning and night is more than enough. The irritation caused by overcleaning can delay healing by disrupting the newly formed skin.
Best Lifestyle Habits for Healing Your Piercing
Let's talk about your health. Not because we have any concerns! But truly, the way you care for your body affects the way your piercing will heal.
Eating an abundance of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to heal. Avoiding risky behaviors like drug use, smoking, excessive caffeine, and alcohol consumption will also help your body heal more efficiently.
Ensuring you get enough water each day, as well as physical movement, will keep your body happy! During exercise, listen to your body. If your piercing is positioned in a way that interferes with your usual exercise habits, change it up. Again; you are healing a wound. Give it the space it needs to heal completely.
Keep your bedding and clothing (pillowcases, especially) washed and changed regularly.
Showers are a better option over baths during the healing period, as bathtubs can harbor bacteria and allow your piercing to soak in soapy water. If you do bathe in a tub, be sure to rinse your piercing with clean water, followed by a saline rinse.
You can also let warm water run over the piercing in the shower to loosen any discharge, but avoid submerging your piercing in any bodies of water (pools, rivers, spas, etc.).
It's also best to keep makeup, hair products, and other body care products away from the piercing. Perfumes, hairsprays, and body sprays all contain irritants that will aggravate your new piercing, delaying the healing process significantly.
Best Practices to Support Your Healing Long Term
Unless you have an issue with the size, material, or style of your jewelry, leave it in place for the duration of the healing period. Your piercer can help with any installation issues.
If you have a medical reason for the piercing to be temporarily removed, contact your piercer! They have non-metal based alternatives to support your healing while your jewelry cannot remain in place.
With clean hands or paper products, occasionally check your threaded and threadless jewelry for tightness.
Stay healthy! Continue eating colorful foods, moving your body, and drinking enough water every day to keep your body on the upward swing toward healing.
Stay in contact with your piercing studio - they are professionals dedicated to supporting you through the process, start to finish! Additionally, aftercare is a changing conversation in the piercing industry. Remaining in contact with your piercing studio ensures you receive the best care and information available.
If Something Seems Wrong
Trust your instincts! Contact your piercing studio right away if your piercing looks swollen (beyond the first few days), bumpy, red, or hot. Even a healed piercing can close if the jewelry is removed, so leave the jewelry in place and reach out right away.
We are more invested in your physical health than selling jewelry, so never hesitate to ask for help.
For more information about piercing care and proper aftercare, read our Frequently Asked Questions.