Congratulations on your new piercing! Here you'll find and overview of exactly what you need to do to take care of your new adornment!
Treat your piercing like a fresh wound.
Expect some soreness, tenderness, and secretion of a clear to white or pale yellow fluid throughout the healing process. (This lovely healing goo is called lymphatic fluid - and is a completely normal part of healing!)
Please do not expect too much from your piercing too soon! Our bodies are incredible, however proper healing takes time, please don't be tempted to rush the process by applying lotions and potions which are known to be damaging long term for happy, healthy piercings. I must say this loud and proud, no matter what other internet resources tell big capital N - O to tea tree oil or rubbing alcohol.
How does the body take to heal a piercing?
The body heals any wound by sending white blood cells to fight off bacteria whilst your body produces new cells to repair damage skin. In the case of a piercing, this is a puncture wound.
Ordinarily, this would heal super quickly, however, we are asking the body to create scar tissue to permanently accommodate jewellery, (a 'fistula') meaning we must be extra careful to avoid knocks, bumps, tears, or uneven pressure (sleeping on your jewellery, ill fitting jewellery, headphones, etc.), as this can cause complications - but, we'll get to that later!
In summary, the golden rules:
- No touching/ twisting / turning /picking
- No aftercare alternate to sterile saline solution
- No sleeping on your fresh piercing
- Be careful!
How and why do I clean my piercing?
General aftercare should involve a gentle clean twice a day using a sterile saline solution only which can be purchased from your piercer. We do not recommend anything other than a 0.9% sterile saline spray - especially 'three week' rapid healing solutions. These often contain chemicals such as alcohol or peroxide which can cause drying and cracking.
The act of cleaning your piercing should be seen as an irrigation of any dried matter (the secretions mentioned above) or unhealthy bacteria sat on the skin. For this reason, we ask that you refrain from twisting and turning your piercing as this will cause a) further contamination, pulling any of the bacteria or dried lymphatic fluid (the clear/white to pale yellow crust that forms around your jewellery) into the fistula (the hole in which your jewellery sits) and increases the risk of irritation and infection.
We also ask that if you must touch your piercing (to check your jewellery is secure) you do so only with clean hands.
To apply your saline solution, spray directly onto the front and back of your piercing and take some gauze or kitchen towel to gently remove any crusting. Repeat with a dry piece of gauze or kitchen roll. Dispose and wash your hands again. Voila. Done.
How long do I need to clean my piercing for?
Sterile saline must be used for the whole healing time. Once your piercing is healed, it needs to be cleaned the same way you'd clean every part of your body - regularly! (Though take care not to use any harsh or scented products as these can build up in around your jewellery and cause problems - Alcohol free anti-bacterial hand soap works a treat!)
When can I change my jewellery?
You can change your jewellery by yourself once your piercing is fully healed. Changing jewellery too soon can undo all the hard work your body has been doing to create your fistula. We do however insist on checking in regularly to have your jewellery downsized by a professional as eliminating excess length is an important part of keeping your piercing healing well.
Your piercing will require a minimum of one to two downsizes to ensure the jewellery is an appropriate length for the current stage of healing. (The prices of which is the cost of chosen jewellery (if you are still happy with your choice, only a new post is required – at the cost of £5), we do not charge for the fitting itself.
Please do not attempt to downsize your own jewellery during healing.
Step by step:
Clean your hands with soap and water.
Apply sterile saline to soften dried secretions / 'crusties'
Use a piece of gauze to remove dried secretions / 'crusties'
Gently pat dry piercing with disposable paper towel.
Do not neglect downsize instructions
Do not sleep on your piercing during healing
How long will my piercing take to fully heal? How do I know?
Healing times can vary vastly due to a variety of factors. These times based on the averages, don't worry if you take a little longer - if you're unsure as to whether or not your piercing is healed, come by the studio for us to provide a check up, free of charge.
It's also important to note that these average are based on having downsized jewellery at appropriate timing.
Lobes – 6-8 weeks
Forward Helix/ Helix 6-8 months
Tragus/ Anti Tragus/ Daith – 6-8 months
Rook – 6-8 months
Snug – 6-12 months
Nostril 4-6 months
High Nostril - 6+ months
Eyebrow – 3-4 months
Industrial/scaffold 6-12 months
Septum – 8-12 weeks
Tongue/ Smiley/ Lips/ Web 4-8 weeks
Nipple/Navel 8-12 months
Is it infected? / Lumps, bumps, and how to treat them.
Angry looking bump forming on your piercing? Don't panic. These are often believed to be infections, but more often than not it is not the case. If you suspect your piercing may be infected, please call into the studio so we can advise the best course of action.
See aftercare leaflet for symptoms of localised infections.
What is a fluid build up/ irritation bump, and why have I got one?
A fluid build up/ irritation bump is a collection of sebum (dead skin cells, sweat, and lymphatic fluid) that is unable to drain efficiently. They are not usually sore - but soreness can be one of the direct indicators as to why the bump has formed. (Sleeping on it, ill fitting jewellery, etc)
Most of the time, they are caused by irritation of some kind, and by removing the source of irritation and some LITHA treatment (Leave it the hell alone!) they often dissapear.
Do not try to squeeze/pop otherwise poke around at it for risk of causing infection.*
The bump needs to drain properly without any trauma.
This process can be helped by using hot saline compresses instead of your two daily cleans with a spray. The heat helps to pull the fluid to the surface and begin the draining process. Saturate some gauze in the saline solution and heat it up as hot as you can stand it - please check on your forearm first so as not to burn your piercing! Hold the compress to the affected area for around 10 minutes until the gauze is stone cold. Pat dry thoroughly with another piece of gauze. If your piercing isn't fully dry after soaking or general aftercare, moisture irritation can be the root cause of these bumps and the reason it's 'not working'
This needs to be done daily. The bumps can appear get 'bigger' and 'angrier' once this starts, but don't worry, that's just the fluid coming to the surface ready to secrete. Like a pimple, lovely.
Second thing to do is work out what could be the source of irritation - the main offenders are often:
Movement from twisting/turning/ sleeping on the jewellery.
Jewellery that isn't appropriate material, thickness, length, or style for the area (a prime example would be a nostril ring that's too small and thin), or a super long conch barbell that hasn't been downsized at the appropriate stage.
Using an aftercare alternate to saline solution. A lot of people turn to the internet to find all sorts of fix it quick lotions and potions. These may work temporarily, but your bumps will always come back with a vengeance and can lead to heavy scarring if not treated properly.
Not drying the area properly after cleaning / sleeping with wet hair (very common!)
If you are still unsure of the cause of your irritation bump, please pop yourself by the studio or send us over some photographs detailing any information you have. We're more than happy to help.
* If an infection is suspected, we always would recommend booking an appointment with your GP. Symptoms of infection include but are not limited to:
- Severe redness and swelling surrounding the piercing site
- A brown/green secretion with odour
- Area of skin hot to the touch
- Swollen lymph nodes/ feeling unwell.
Any queries about anything, don't hesitate to get in touch.