You may think you're past the hardest bit, when it actual fact it's just beginning. Piercings take a lot of time, care and attention in order to heal them perfectly and safety. Here's everything you need to know:
Do the following steps twice a day.
Do not over clean, or over work the piercing.
This will do much more harm than good!
• Step one: Wash your hands thoroughly with hot, soapy water before interacting with your piercing – remember, it’s a fresh wound!
• Step two: Spray the entrance and exit holes of your piercing with a sterile saline solution, (we stock Neilmed for this). For oral piercings, do this after eating/drinking, for at last 4 weeks.
• Step three: Wipe away any white-yellow lymph fluid or dry matter, using none woven gauze, or clean kitchen roll. (Don’t use anything cotton based (buds/balls) or regular tissue paper. These can ‘crumble’ and leave fibres which can get stuck and irritate your piercing. You want something sturdy, but also disposable.)
• Step four: Dab your piercing dry on both the entrance and exit points with a separate piece of clean, dry none woven gauze or kitchen roll. Try and be as throughout as you can, but be sure to remain gentle. You don’t want to cause any harm, disruption or damage to your piercing.
Optional choices: For awkward, hard to reach areas, I sometimes find spraying the Sterile Saline Solution onto the none woven gauze/ kitchen roll, and then using that to clean your piercing. Sometimes, you may find that your ‘crusties’ are pretty stubborn and caked on, and therefore spraying alone with saline may not do much use in removing them. For this, I advise a warm shower. Do not soak your piercing in still water (more to come on this later), but a constant flow of clean, warm water is fine. This should soften up any dried Lymph, making it easier to wipe away.
For oral piercings: if mouthwash is already part of your oral hygiene routine, be sure you’re using an alcohol free one, and make sure neither your mouthwash and/or your tooth paste contain any whitening agents, as this can also cause an irritation to your piercing.
· Avoid spicy food, and food strong in citric acids for at least 2 weeks.
· Avoid solid foods for at least two weeks for tongue piercings.
· Avoid smoking/vaping/e-cigarettes for the duration of your healing.
· Maintain good oral /general hygiene.
Brush your teeth twice daily, and use a separate soft bristle brush to clean the plaque off your jewellery as needed, it does build up over time. Avoid alcohol based mouthwashes, and avoid any product that contains whitening agents.
• Don’t touch or mess with it. So no twisting and turning, and don’t pick the “crusties” off, clean it as instructed above.
• Avoid chemicals. Savlon, TCP, Tea Tree, Surgical Spirits, Dettol, Chlorine etc. are all very harsh to piercings, even antiseptic wound washes. Only use an in-date Sterile Saline Solution, - do not use Contact Lens Saline. Try to avoid getting any wash/shampoo/conditioner on your piercing during a shower, and be sure to give the area a good rinse of any residue after.
• Stay healthy. Avoid overly stressful situations, eating a notorious diet, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep all to help maintain a healthy immune system which is hard at work healing your piercing,
• Avoid any trauma. Take care not to get towels, face cloths or netted sponges caught on the piercing, and keep make up out of facial piercings for 3 months. Accidents happen, but remember to be as careful and aware of your new piercing as you can. Any knock or trauma can result in complications.
• Don’t sleep on your fresh ear piercings. Sleeping on your fresh piercing can result in a corrupt angle, as well as nasty lumps and bumps. It is vital you do not do this, whether it feels like it hurts or not, especially whilst you have your initial length jewellery in. I strongly recommend investing in a travel pillow, this way you can still sleep on your side, but your piercing will not be slept on. Feel free to ask me more on this!
• No plasters or bandages. Your piercing needs to breathe. Wear loose clothing, and avoid anything that will rub and irritate the piercing. If I have covered your piercing with a plaster after your procedure, leave this on for up to four hours. Do not recover unless we’ve discussed it.
• Avoid heavy drinking for at least 2 weeks. Alcohol will thin your blood, and delay healing.
• Don’t change your jewellery early, least of all by yourself! Visit me again when the time is right.
Piercings heal from the outside in, and depending on the placement, they can take anywhere between 3-12 months to fully heal, sometimes longer. Lifestyle and aftercare play a huge factor in this as well. So, although it may feel perfectly healed to you in only a matter of weeks, there’s still a very long way to go! Pop in for a check-up anytime you are unsure. This way we can monitor the journey of your piercing. You will most likely need your initial longer/wider jewellery switched out to a nicer, more accurately sized piece of jewellery once your swelling has gone down – which is VITAL in the healing of your piercing. After this however, your piercing should be left alone for the duration of the healing to prevent any swelling or inflammation forming again.
• Initially: some bleeding, localised swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
• During healing: some discolouration, itching, secretion of a whitish yellow fluid (lymph fluid) that will crust and build up on the jewellery. The tissue may tighten around the jewellery as it heal.
• Once healed: the jewellery may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing in your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
• A piercing may seem healed before the process is complete. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
• Even healed piercings am shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep the jewellery in!
I wish you a happy healing! Should you have any questions or concerns just contact me. As soon as you’re unsure about something you’re experiencing with your piercing and its healing, get in touch. The sooner we have a look and make whichever changed required to aid healing, the sooner it’ll be back on the right road to recovery. Leaving an unhappy piercing can result in prolonged difficulties and faulty healing. Check-up appointments and changing down your jewellery is key to safe healing.
Thank you again for choosing us, and I can’t wait to see you again!
Shannon Nicola, Amethyst Adornments.
at Minerva Lodge Tattoo Club, Chester.
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