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    Body Piercing Aftercare

    Your body wants to heal

    3 Steps to Success


    • Touching your fresh or healing piercing is the most common way that problems and infection start.
    • Try not to touch on or around the piercing, but if you must, make sure your hands are clean.  
    • Keep your piercing protected during physical jobs or activities that may make them dirty.
    • Keeping your sleeping environment clean can really make a difference. Replace bed linens regularly and try to not let pets in your bed while healing.
    • Avoid soaking in water like baths, pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes or oceans. Showers are fine.
    • Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.


    • Friction or physical stresses can really complicate healing.This means touching, turning, tugging, or otherwise moving your jewelry around in the piercing. Physical stresses like these would be similar to picking a scab off a cut everyday. Like the cut, the piercing will react badly to this disruption resulting in longer healing times and scarring.
    • No rotation of the jewelry is necessary, your skin will not "grow" onto the jewelry. Some days the jewelry will feel stuck in place, other days it will move freely, both are normal and should be allowed.
    • Sleeping on a piercing can cause numerous problems, try to avoid it whenever possible. We have found a U-shaped neck pillow, like one you may take on an airplane, is helpful to avoid sleeping directly on fresh ear piercings.  
    • As your piercing heals and swelling subsides, it is important to have your piercer replace the original piercing jewelry with a shorter, more fitted piece of jewelry. Downsizing your jewelry in a timely manner avoids unnecessary pressure from longer posts that can cause migration and unsightly bumps. When you get pierced, you will be told a good timeframe for downsizing and it is recommended that a piercer helps with this jewelry change since it is usually done while the piercing is still healing.


    • A fluid is produced by all wounds as part of the natural healing process. These "crusts" come out clear, pale straw yellow or pale pink and tend to dry to a darker honey amber tone. These are normal and healthy.
    • Red, dark yellow, green or grey liquid could be a sign of an issue and we encourage you to talk to us for further information.
    • Carefully reduce "crusties" and contaminates with warm, clean running water. A daily shower is suggested.
    • Wetting the piercing briefly at the beginning of the shower will allow the "crusties" to soften as you continue the rest of your normal showering. At the end of the shower, point the spray of water to run directly onto the piercing for a full minute or two. This copious flow of water will safely remove the softened debris and surface contaminates without moving the jewelry.
    • It is ok if some debris is left, you'll get it next time. Harsh or over cleaning can be more problematic than just leaving it for the next day.
    • Avoid cleaning with Betadine, Hibiclens, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other antibacterial soaps, especially those containing triclosan, as these can damage healing tissue.
    • Also avoid Neosporin and other ointments as they will sit on the surface of the piercing and prevent necessary air circulation.
    • Avoid Bactine, "pierced ear care" solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK).


    • Finish each shower cleaning with a quick full rinse with 0.9% Sterile Saline Spray like  NeilMed Aftercare Spray. We sell this in-store with a fine misting tip specially made for piercing use. Or it can be found in the first aid aisle of most drug stores labeled as "Wound Wash" . Please double check that it has no additional ingredients.

    • Saline for contacts or products for nasal spray should not be used.
    • Piercings may then be air dried or gently blotted dry with a single use lint-free paper towel or gauze.
    • Special attention should be paid to a piercing in a small enclosed area, like the rook or navel. It is important to avoid allowing the area behind the jewelry to remain wet for prolonged period. A hair dryer on a cool setting can help dry the area without disturbing the piercing with too much movement.

    Oral Piercing Aftercare:

    Lip piercings can be taken care of just like a regular piercing, with the addition of these two steps:

    • After eating or smoking, swish your mouth out with bottled or distilled water.
    • Oral piercings can swell quite a bit. To keep that swelling under control, you can drink cold drinks, use cold compresses or take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory.

     Tongue piercings can be taken care of by just following these two steps, no need to use saline:

    • After eating or smoking, swish your mouth out with bottled or distilled water.
    • Oral piercings can swell quite a bit. To keep that swelling under control, you can drink cold drinks, use cold compresses or take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory.




      These guidelines are based on a combination of vast professional experience, common sense, research and extensive clinical practice. This is not to be considered a substitute for medical advice from a doctor. If you suspect an infection, seek medical attention. Be aware that many doctors have not received specific training regarding piercing. Your local piercer may be able to refer you to a piercing-friendly medical professional. For more information, see the APP Brochure Troubleshooting For You and Your Healthcare Professional.

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