Aftercare

Proper aftercare is crucial for normal healing.

Even an expertly done piercing can fester if you never clean it and a DIY piercing (which we would never recommend you do) can be salvaged with good aftercare.

Keep in mind that every body is different and lifestyle can have an effect on how well your piercings heal. Follow your body to find out what works best for you. Be mindful of your body and listen to your piercer’s advice. Some things that can affect how your piercings heal include stress, environmental factors, diet, smoking, your workout habits, etc.

The point of cleaning your piercings is to remove dead skin cells and any dirt or bacteria that may have accumulated throughout the day. You don’t need to “heal” your piercing. Just keep your body clean and it will do the rest.

Healing time

Below you will find the average healing periods
for well-cared-for piercings.

Earlobe 2–6 months
Ear cartilage 6–12 months
Eyebrow 4–6 months
Septum 8–10 weeks
Tongue 4–8 weeks
Nose 6–12 months
Lip 4–6 months
Navel 6–12 months
Nipple 6–12 months

HOW TO CLEAN YOUR PIERCING

You don’t have to keep your piercings sterile. It’s enough if you keep your body clean. Just wash the piercing site with water without removing the jewellery.

In addition to basic hygiene, you may rinse your piercing once a day with saline. We recommend brands that have a spray tip (e.g. Humer in Estonia). That way you won’t need to touch the piercing on a daily basis. Additionally, you should rinse your piercing after swimming, sweating, etc.

Never make your own sea salt solution at home. Medical saline and table salt are two very different things.

If you’re only experiencing minimal crusties, leave them be. Crust protects the wound and if you pick at it on a daily basis, your wound will not be able to heal. However, too much crust build-up isn’t ideal. If you notice a layer of crust forming, gently wipe it away with a napkin or Q-tip (choose brands that don’t spread fibres) after a shower, when the crust has had a chance to soften. Most people will only need to wipe the crust away a couple times a week. Daily cleaning can aggravate the sensitive skin around the piercing.

If you’re experiencing swelling, soaking the piercing area in cool saline or chamomile tea may help bring it down. If at all possible, dunk the entire area in the cool liquid (e.g. put your entire nose in the cup or your ear in the bowl).

If you have a piercing bump, soaks with lukewarm saline or chamomile tea will help bring more blood flow to the area, and may help the bump go down faster. If your bump doesn’t improve on its own in 2–4 weeks, get in touch with us.

THINGS TO AVOID

Alcohol

Cleaning your piercing with alcohol will irritate and dry the skin, prolonging the healing period. It also causes burning and is not as effective against bacteria as old wives tales would have you believe.

Hydrogen peroxide

Although hydrogen peroxide does kill bacteria, it also causes skin irritation. Over longer periods, it will burn the skin and prevent normal healing

Rubbing alcohol

Rubbing alcohol and other medical skin disinfectants are far too harsh for wound care. Frequent use will damage the skin and can also cause discoloration of jewellery.

ORAL PIERCINGS

Oral piercings (e.g. tongue, lip, smiley, etc.) generally heal with little trouble. It’s safe to change jewellery once the piercing has healed, but you should never leave oral piercings empty for longer than a couple hours. If you need to hide your piercing due to work or school, consider piercing retainers.

Oral piercings tend to swell quite a bit, but luckily the swelling begins to recede in a couple of weeks. When it comes to tongue piercings, some people may find that eating and drinking cool things, helps with any swelling and sensitivity. However, we would not advise sucking on ice cubes. Some people find relief from Ibuprofen, but actual pain is uncommon. Avoid blood thinning agents and stimulants (e.g. aspirin, alcohol, certain drugs) for at least a couple weeks. Avoiding spicy, acidic and very hot food and drinks may also be a good idea.

The only way you need to clean the inside of your mouth, is to brush your teeth as normal (twice a day). If necessary, you may use a sugar and alcohol free mouthwash. Mouthwashes with chlorhexidine are sometimes recommended by dentists to help oral wounds heal faster. These may be used, but your piercing will heal just fine without.

If you have a lip or cheek piercing, you should also be cleaning the skin as described above.

Don’t play with your oral piercings – that’s a sure-fire way to damage your teeth. If you feel your jewellery clicking against your teeth, come for a check-up to be fitted for a more suitable length/shape. Don’t touch your piercing, lick your fingers or bite your nails.

Useful tips

Maintain a healthy lifestyle

Make sure you’re eating well and getting enough sleep. Taking zinc and vitamin C supplements will boost your body’s ability to heal.

No touching!

Wash your hands before you clean your piercing and never intentionally twist or pick at your piercing.

Keep makeup and hair care products away

Make sure your makeup or haircare products are not getting on your healing piercing. These contain harsh chemicals and can aggravate wounds.

Reduce or quit smoking

Cigarettes are especially bad for oral piercings. If you must smoke, make sure to reduce as much as possible and rinse your mouth with clean water after every cigarette.

If possible, avoid swimming, saunas and tanning salons for at least a couple weeks

The ocean, public pools, tanning beds and saunas are ripe with bacteria. If you have a healing piercing on your body, make sure to shower as soon as possible after going to any of these places. If showering isn’t possible, bring saline with you to keep your piercings happy.

Don't sleep on your fresh piercing

If you’ve had your ears pierced, do your best to avoid sleeping on that ear for at least two months or as long as advised by the piercer. Some people find that travel neck pillows are a useful friend during this period. Pressure to the piercing may cause migration and irritation bumps. Once a piercing has migrated, the placement cannot be salvaged. Book an appointment for a check-up and downsize as recommended by the piercer.

Yay! Your piercing is fully healed!

Once your piercing is healed, you no longer need to pay special attention to it, but should still be mindful to avoid injuries. As long as you maintain normal hygiene, your healed piercings should remain happy and odor-free. It’s safe to change jewellery in a healed piercing, but we don’t advice you to leave your jewellery out for longer periods of time. Healed piercings will not close up but will become so narrow that you may not be able to insert jewellery on your own. Instead of trying and ending up hurting yourself, just get in touch and we’ll get you sorted.

Listen to the piercer’s advice.