Cleaning the Piercing

A new piercing should be cleaned one to two times per day during the entire healing period; however, do not over-clean the piercing. Cleaning more than two times per day, unless directed by a professional piercer, can irritate the piercing and increase the time it takes the piercing to heal.

Wash your hands thoroughly with antimicrobial or antibacterial soap before touching the new piercing at any time, especially when cleaning. Allow warm water to bathe the piercing to loosen the discharge that has crusted around the jewelry. Using antimicrobial, germicidal or antibacterial fragrance and color-free soap, form a lather around the piercing. Slide the metal through the piercing, making sure the soap reaches inside the wound. Afterwards, rinse well, continuing to slide the jewelry. This process removes dirt and bacteria from the piercing which may cause infection.

Salt Water Baths

Sea salt water baths are preferred for oral, facial and body piercings. Infinite Body Piercing recommends ¼ teaspoon in a regular sized cup or a pinch of sea salt in a shot glass. Tilt the glass against the skin around the piercing so your body forms a seal. Let the water sit around the period for a few minutes, soaking into the wound. Sea salt baths are also very calming to sore piercings, particularly genital piercings.

Oral Piercings

It may not be the best idea to swish your mouth out with soap to clean a tongue piercing or to clean the inside of your new labret piercing. Instead, oral piercings can be cleaned with an antibacterial mouthwash that does not contain alcohol. If you have just received a new oral piercing you may also swish with warm salt water. Oral piercings must be cleaned every time you eat, drink, smoke, kiss or give oral sex.

The Association of Professional Piercers says it is vital to replace the original jewelry used in oral piercings because the piercing jewelry is longer than the standard jewelry. Failure to replace the jewelry can lead to expensive oral problems such as chipped teeth. The jewelry can be replaced once the swelling goes down and should be replaced by a professional piercer because it will still be during the healing process.

Healing Times

Facial Piercings and Oral Piercings

Eyebrow – 6 to 8 weeks

Septum – 6 to 8 weeks

Tongue – 4 to 6 weeks

Beauty Mark – 8 to 10 weeks

Nose – 6 months – 1 year

Lip/Labret – 8 – 10 weeks

Cheek – 3 – 4 months

Body Piercings

Belly Button – 6 months – 1 year

Female Nipples – 6 months – 1 year

Male Nipples – 4 months – 6 months

Female Genital Piercings

Inner Labia – 2 – 4 weeks

Outer Labia 2 – 6 months

Clitoris – 2 – 4 weeks

Clitoral Hood 2 – 6 weeks

Male Genital Piercings

Prince Albert 4 – 9 weeks

Scrotum 6 – 10 weeks

Don’ts of Piercing Aftercare and What to Avoid

When cleaning your piercing do not using rubbing alcohol. The substance is too harsh for a new piercing, will delay healing and dry out the skin around the piercing. Hydrogen peroxide and antibiotic ointments are two other first aid kit necessities to stay away from.

Hydrogen peroxide not only kills bacteria but will also kill the healthy cells your body is try to build to heal the piercing. Antibiotic ointments, such as Neosporin, are petroleum-jelly based, which prevents water and helpful cleaning solutions from reaching the inside of the piercing.

The blockage provides a warm, moist environment conducive to the growth of bacteria. The label also warns not to use on puncture wounds, which is precisely what oral, facial and body piercings are. Ear piercing solution should never be used on any other type of piercing. For on-the-go cleaning, try individually wrapped saline pads sold at local pharmacies.

As much as possible, avoid stress, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine, all of which will slow the healing process.

Piercing Aftercare Tips

If it becomes necessary to change your jewelry during the healing process, go to a qualified jeweler. Trying to change it yourself may lead to your piercing healing crookedly.

Remember to carry a clean, spare ball sized for your piece of jewelry in case yours breaks because it can take a manner of minutes for both new and old piercings to close.

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