Artistic Ink Piercing Suggested Aftercare Guidelines for Body Piercings
Use one or both of the following solutions for healing piercings:
- Packaged sterile saline solution with no additives (read the label), or a non-iodized sea salt mixture: Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz.) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger mixture is not better; a saline solution that is too strong can irritate the piercing.
- A mild, fragrance-free liquid soap—preferably anti-microbial or germicidal.
CLEANING INSTRUCTIONS FOR BODY PIERCINGS
- Wash your hands with warm soapy water EVERYTIME before touching your piercing.
- Saline soak once or more per day. Using a cotton ball or sterile gauze to soak and clean the piercing area. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue.
- Use soap no more than once or twice a day. In the shower, use a small amount of soap to clean the jewelry and piercing area. Don't leave on the area more than 30 seconds.
- Rinse thoroughly to remove all traces of the soap from the piercing.
- Carefully pat dry with disposable paper products. Cloth towels can carry bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury and slowing the healing process.
WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
- Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
- During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue can tighten around the jewelry as it heals.
- Once healed: the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily cleaning routine, smelly bodily secretions can accumulate on the piercing and around the piercing areas.
- A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains unhealed and could get infected or be damaged if you start removing your piercing or try to change out the hardware too soon.
- Even healed piercings can close after having been there for years! This varies from person to person; if you want to keep your piercing, keep jewelry in—do not leave it empty.
WHAT TO DO
- Stay healthy; the healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal. Maintaining a healthy body will speed up the healing process!
- Make sure your sheets and pillow cases are washed and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.
- Showers are safer than taking baths. Bathtubs can harbor bacteria and germs from other parts of your body can come in contact with you piercing. If you bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Avoid cleaning with Betadine®, Hibiciens®, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other harsh soaps, as these can damage cells and can kill the normal flora which can protect the piercing from harmful invading germs.
- Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). These can be irritating and are not intended for long term wound care.
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
- Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.
- Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.
- Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygenic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc.
- Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.
- Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.
PIERCING CARE THAT APPLIES TO PARTICULAR AREAS
- A hard, vented eye patch (sold at pharmacies) can be applied under tight clothing (such as nylon stockings) or secured using a length of Ace® bandage around the body (to avoid irritation from adhesive). This can protect the area from restrictive clothing, excess irritation, and impact during physical activities such as contact sports.
EAR, EAR CARTILAGE, AND FACIAL:
- Maintain cleanliness of telephones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats, and anything that contacts the pierced area.
- Use caution when styling your hair and advise your stylist of a new or healing piercing.
- When applying makeup around the piercings, be careful not to get directly into the opening and clean thoroughly when removing makeup and cosmetics.
- Women: The support of a tight cotton shirt or sports bra may provide protection and feel comfortable, especially for sleeping.
- Men: Avoid loose fitting tank tops as they can snag on the piercing and cause damage.
- Genital Piercings can bleed freely for the first few days.
- Urinate after using soap to clean any piercing that is near the urethra.
- Wash your hands before touching on (or near) a healing piercing.
- In most cases you can engage in sexual activity as soon as you feel ready, but maintaining hygiene and avoiding trauma are vital; all sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.
- Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, and waterproof bandages, etc. to avoid contact with your partners’ body fluids, even in monogamous relationships.
- Use clean, disposable barriers on sex toys.
- Use a new container of water-based lubricant; do not use saliva.
- Avoid lotions, vaseline, and petroleum based lubricants.
- After sex, an additional saline soak or clean water rinse is beneficial to help the healing process.
Disclaimer: Healing time for piercing and tattoos varies from person to person. The rate of infection is minimal if the aftercare is followed appropriately. It is very important to remember not to touch the pierced or tattooed area without first washing your hands. Normal body reactions to piercing and/or tattooing may include:redness, swelling, and/or minor discomfort at the site. If after 48 hours more severe complications occur (increased redness, swelling or hardness at the site, pus-like drainage, onset of fever, and/or prolonged pain at the site or respiratory difficulty following tongue piercing), contact your personal physician or dentist (following an oral piercing).