Aftercare 101

Aftercare 101

Aftercare 101

By: Lorin Parkinson

After a piercing, the body immediately initiates the healing process, which can vary in length depending on the location and your individual body's response. Proper aftercare is crucial to help this process go smoothly.

These are the tips and tricks that I recommend my clients follow to achieve the best results.

1. Clean hands

Start by ensuring that your hands are clean. Always wash your hands with warm water and soap before touching your newly pierced ears or jewelry. This helps prevent the introduction of bacteria and germs that can cause infections.

2. Clean 1-2x day with Hypochlorous solution or sterile saline wound wash

Gently clean the front and back of the piercing with saline wound wash or hypochlorous solution and Q-tip 1-2x/day. Make sure the Q-tip is saturated with the solution. 

Give it a spray with the solution, allow it to air dry for 30 seconds, and then blot it DRY.

3. Avoid touching and rotating

While it might be tempting to touch or twist your new jewelry, it's important to resist the urge. Touching the piercing can introduce harmful bacteria and delay the healing process.

Rotating jewelry will disrupt the healing process in the channel of the piercing, causing trauma and delaying healing.

4. Avoid Harsh Products

Keep cosmetics, hair products, and perfumes away from your healing piercing. These can introduce irritants that may slow down the healing process.

5. Don't swim

Avoid submerging in pools, hot tubs, or bodies of water during the first 2-3 weeks. This can introduce bacteria and chemicals that are harmful to healing piercings. *For kids, it's important if they take baths to not submerge in dirty bath water.

6. Don't sleep on it

Do not sleep on cartilage piercings for AT LEAST 6-8 weeks (or until post is downsized). It can displace jewelry, cause swelling and infection, and prolong healing. Trust me, it will mess it up! Consider sleeping on your back, opposite side, or purchasing a piercing pillow. 

7. Keep piercings DRY!

After cleaning, showering, or swimming, make sure to blot piercings dry (especially the backside), or even use a blow dryer on cool. Don't allow hair to air dry if it is touching your piercing. Don't sleep with wet hair. Moisture is a breeding ground for bacteria, and large bumps can form if there is excessive moisture present for long periods of time. This also delays healing.

8. Schedule a post downsize appointment!

Initial post length is long to accommodate swelling. It is important to make a "post changeout" appointment 6-8 weeks after a cartilage piercing and 8-12 weeks after lobe piercing (as long as swelling has gone down) to avoid angle changes and irritation bumps from snagging/movement.

 

NORMAL VS. INFECTION

Normal: bruising, swelling, light bleeding (1-2 days), yellowish clear fluid, tenderness, itchiness

Signs of infection: extreme swelling, feeling hot, very painful, draining pus, fever, feeling generally unwell. *Never ignore a suspected infection. Left untreated, certain infections can become very dangerous. There is no way to predict if you will get an infection during the healing process. Your new piercing is, in fact, an open wound, and is susceptible to bacteria.

What to do if you suspect a minor infection:

  • Clean site 4-6x/day
  • Apply warm compress with a clean cloth
  • It's best to keep the jewelry in so there is a place for infection to drain
  • You can use a topical antibiotic cream for no more than 3-5 days

If it is turning into a serious infection: visit your physician. **please keep in mind your piercer is not a medical professional, and cannot give medical advice. Infections can be treated with antibiotics, but early intervention is key.

 

HEALING TIMES

Healing times for piercings vary depending on the location and your body's response. Be patient and consistent with your aftercare routine throughout this period.

Lobes: 8-16 weeks

Nostril: 4-6 months

Helix, flat, conch, tragus, rook, forward helix: 6-12 months

Daith: 12-18 months

 

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