Care of your new piercing

Correctly caring for your new piercing is vital to promote proper healing. After I’ve pierced you, you will be given aftercare sheets to take home and follow. It’s the aftercare that I find works best, but do feel free to contact me or come into studio to ask me any questions regarding aftercare and your piercing. While I am always free to help, please remember that coming into the studio is by appointment only

Standard piercing aftercare

The first important thing to remember when caring for a new piercing is that it is never, under any circumstances, okay to touch and fiddle with the piercing with dirty hands – not only does this delay the healing process by irritating the new wound, but it also has the ability to transfer bacteria into the new piercing which could cause infection. Many people say that you need to twist your piercing to heal it, or to stop the jewellery from getting “stuck” – don’t. The jewellery will not get stuck and turning it has absolutely no benefit; it only irritates the piercing. Basically, keep your hands off the piercing at all times during the day and also avoid others touching it. Remember that we are trying to heal a wound with a foreign object inside it, and there are different phases to the healing of your piercing (1) the inflammatory phase, where there is bleeding, swelling, and tenderness. During this phase the blood clots, platelets, and plasma infiltrate the wound to stop the bleeding. As the wound begins to heal in this stage, the body lays down and forms basal cells – the foundation for the layer of the epidermis (the skin). 2) The growth phase, which lasts several weeks for most piercings. This phase involves the growth of new skin cells on the piercing to form the fistula. 3) The maturation phase. To get here can take months – this is a stage where the fistula strengthens and forms from end to end.

Remember, secretion is completely normal and it’s inevitable to have plasma leak from your piercing. It often dries around the piercing and looks like “crust”. Secretion of plasma does NOT mean your piercing is infected; it is not pus, which is a more colored, thick, and foul smelling fluid. If you suspect an infection, come straight to see me – only I will be able to tell. Many people often mistake irritation and inflammation for infection, which is normal as you don’t know.

Wash your hands thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap before cleaning your new piercing. After I have pierced you, you will get to choose from a variety of aftercare products to suit your budget – from brand name and imported products, to basic (but brilliant) products made by me.  All of these contain pure, 0.9% saline. This stuff is literally the biggest miracle for your healing piercing that you will ever get your hands on. It is basically salt water, but with sterile water, correct pH levels, and is isotonic – which means it matches the salt content naturally found in the human body. This saline is also available at most pharmacies, and you’re always welcome to get more from me – I will not charge you. You can also use this amazing solution to give your piercings a soak (soaking your piercings in warm saline – brilliant thing to do). Contact me for more information on how to soak. In addition to saline solution, I also stock a saline spray that is imported from the USA, in addition to aftercare kits. If you are on a tight budget or otherwise unable to get saline, you can follow this recipe:

You can make a salt water (saline) solution by putting 1/4-1/2 a teaspoon of natural sea salt into a cup (250ml) of boiling water. Wait for it to cool before using it. Please make sure that the salt you are using is completely natural and not “iodated” or “iodized”, these salts and table salts can potentially irritate your piercing.

Once the solution has cooled and hands are thoroughly cleaned, you can proceed to taking a cotton bud (ear bud) and soaking it in the solution, bending the end of the cotton to make a more pointed end can be helpful. Clean your piercing (very gently and carefully) wiping away any plasma (looks like crust around the piercing) away.  When you clean your piercing, you don’t need to move it or fiddle with it. Basically, just be very gentle with it.

Follow this routine twice a day (morning and evening) for the first 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, only clean the piercing when necessary (if there is crust around it). Following the routine for more than 2 weeks is over-cleaning, which can cause irritation.

It is very important that anyone who gets pierced is fully aware that it is NEVER acceptable to use surgical spirits (rubbing alcohol) on a piercing (including earlobes, and even under extreme circumstances such as infection). Surgical spirits has zero benefits for a piercing, and does a lot of harm, as it is too harsh to put on a wound that the body is trying to heal. It also kills away all healthy bacteria that the piercing needs in order to heal. Telling people to use surgical spirits on a piercing is malpractice, and it is shocking that it is still so commonly instructed to piercee’s to this day.  Please do not use it, and the same goes for peroxide and any other harsh soap or antiseptic.

Try to keep a healthy lifestyle while healing your new piercing, avoid sleeping on it, and don’t take the jewellery out when you clean, but instead clean gently around your piercing. Feel free to make an appointment to return to the studio at any time should you need assistance. And lastly, congratulations on your new piercing!

Tongue piercing aftercare

Oral piercings, like standard piercings, need close care and attention. For the initial piercing, you will be started with a long bar. This is necessary because the tongue swells to a large extent during the first week or so.  It is normal for your tongue to feel uncomfortable for this first week.

Eat only soft foods for the first 5 days (custard, cold soup, yoghurt, etc.). Eating will be difficult at first, so take your time. Eating non-soft food is possible, but very painful, so is not recommended.

Rinse after every time you eat, drink (apart from water), or smoke.  You can rinse with a non-alcoholic mouthwash (eg. Listerine Zero), but it is advisable to water the mouthwash down so that it is not too harsh on your new piercing. Please avoid mouthwash containing alcohol. I stock a variety of mouthwashes that are best practice for your healing piercing – I have different types to suit all budget types, including brand names and imported products. Alternatively, you can make a salt water (saline) solution by mixing 3 teaspoons of natural sea salt into 1 cup (250ml) of boiling water and wait for it to cool. Once cooled, you can keep it in a soft drink bottle, or any type of clean bottle that suits you. This tastes horrible, so after you rinse with the saline, rinse with water afterwards.

Your tongue will turn white and slightly yellow – this is normal, so don’t panic. It will also swell to a large extent, and speech will be difficult for the first week or so. The healing will be difficult and nasty for this piercing; there isn’t really a way of getting out of it. Just try your best to persevere and keep your mind off of it.

Carrying ice-cold water wherever you go and drinking it as much as possible is a lifesaver, as it soothes the piercing and calms it down.  Sucking on ice helps a lot, but just be cautious to make sure that the size of the ice cube is not too large. Crushed ice is good, too.

I personally recommend taking 2 anti-inflammatory tablets routinely for the first 1-2 weeks, 3 times daily (morning, afternoon, evening) just to get through the worst easily. “Myprodol” or “Gen-Payne” is my personal recommendation, although some people choose not to take it due to a codeine allergy or other personal reasons. This medication can be addictive and can mess with the digestive system if overused, so please be careful. You can take this instruction sheet to the pharmacy if they ask why you need the medication. It is the best choice.

Do not exchange bodily fluids with anyone (especially strangers) until the piercing is fully healed.

After 2 weeks, and the swelling has gone down, come back to the studio and get the long bar replaced with a shorter one. This will be completely free of charge. Congratulations on your new tongue piercing!