Simple ear studs, elaborate earrings, constellation piercings - you’ve gone down the rabbit hole, and the itch to be pierced is something that you can’t wait to scratch.
But before you take the plunge, here’s a quick breakdown on how best to prepare and care for your fresh piercing.
Precare Tips: Making the Right Piercing Choices
Piercing Needle, A Piercing Gun / Pinterest. Featuring our Elemental Five Titanium Stud Bundle in Silver. A Woman Getting Her Ear Pierced / Industrial Piercing what to expect and proper aftercare VERY IMPORTANT - YouTube.
All piercings are done with a needle or an automated piercing gun. If given the option, always opt for the piercing to be done with a needle. A needle offers more control and accuracy. It is also safer and cleaner than a gun since needles can be fully sterilised.
In contrast, the piercing gun forces the earring through the earlobe or cartilage, which may cause unnecessary damage to the tissue or even cause the cartilage to shatter.
Ensure that you get a good night’s rest the day before getting a new piercing, stay hydrated, and try to eat four to six hours before your appointment. Dress in clothes that are comfortable and suitable for accommodating your new piercing - e.g. no high-waisted or tight bottoms if you’re getting a navel piercing, or have a hair elastic ready if you’re having your ears pierced.
When choosing your jewelry, it pays to be picky. For comfortable and durable jewelry, always select high-quality and body-safe materials such as titanium.
Aftercare Measures for Your Fresh Piercings
Sterowash Saline Eye & Wound Wash Pods (NaCl 0.9%), NeilMed Piercing Aftercare / Pinterest
Each new piercing is essentially a wound on the skin. For a smooth healing process, taking good care of your piercing is an absolute must. This includes cleaning your fresh piercing once or twice a day to clear away any ‘crusty’ build-up that may surround your piercing. Before cleaning your piercing, always wash your hands with soap and ensure that they’re clean. Use sterile, lint-free medical gauze soaked in saline solution (0.9% NaCl) and hold it at the front and back of your piercing for five minutes before gently wiping away the softened crust with the corner of the gauze. Once done, it’s important to gently pat the area dry as moisture build-up could lead to bacteria growth and in worst cases, an infection.
Aside from during daily cleaning, refrain from touching your piercing. Often, the best aftercare for a new piercing is to Leave It The Hell Alone (LITHA). Piercings are open wounds, and you won’t want to accidentally contaminate and infect your piercing. Plus, any movement will only aggravate your piercing, which might unintentionally cause swelling or irritation bumps.
The healing process varies depending on the piercing. Piercings heal from the outside-in, so even if a piercing looks healed on the surface, it might not actually be fully healed. Remember: patience is key. Lobe piercings typically take eight to ten weeks to heal. Septum piercings, when done correctly through the “sweet spot”, usually heal in about three months. Other cartilage piercings, such as in the nostril and ear, will take three to twelve months. You’ll know when the piercing has healed once discharge, swelling, redness, flaking, or soreness stops, and the jewelry is able to move freely without causing any irritation.
The initial jewelry you’ve picked at your piercing parlor is typically designed to be much longer to accommodate for swelling. Once the initial swelling has gone down (usually in about six to eight weeks), it’s best to return to your piercer to downsize to a piece of jewelry with a shorter bar to better fit your piercing and anatomy. If you leave the initial jewelry in for an extended period of time, you run the risk of it snagging on something (depending on the length and placement of the jewelry). This will only worsen any inflammation and prolong your recovery time.
Once your piercing is healed fully, you can then remove or change your jewelry at home. If you’re still hesitant to change out your jewelry by yourself, head down to your piercer for a consultation.
Treating Potential Infection
If your piercing is bothering you, refrain from removing the jewelry. Continue with your aftercare routine, and monitor your piercing for unusual discharge. It is normal for lymphatic fluid and some blood to drain from the piercing during the healing process. If an irritation bump forms, ensure your piercing is clean and cared for properly – most of the time, irritation bumps will go away on their own after several weeks.
If you begin to notice thick, yellow or green pus, it could indicate a potential infection. You can manage minor infections with sterile saline soaks. You can even consider taking oral anti-inflammatories or applying a cold compress to soothe and alleviate the swelling. However, if the swelling has progressed beyond the immediate area of the piercing and is hot to the touch, avoid attempting to clear the infection on your own. Instead, head down to a board-certified physician for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.
There you have it! Once you’ve taken note of all the pre-care and aftercare piercing measures, you’re all set to explore and express the alternative lifestyle that speaks to you. If you’re looking for jewelry to adorn your new piercings, take your pick from some of our recommendations!
For newly healed piercings:
Qrissa Bejewelled Titanium Clicker in Silver
Trinity Titanium Clicker in Silver
For fully-healed piercings (approximately a year after getting pierced):
Arctic Lilac Flat Back Stud Set
How To Clean Your New Piercing And Avoid Infection (refinery29.com)
How to Take Care of Piercings the Right Way - Piercing Myths and Tips for Aftercare (elle.com)
How to Treat Infected Ear Piercings: A Dermatologist Explains (byrdie.com)