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We own and run the Real Piercing Studio in UK - and are very serious about aftercare. Here is a quick guide to looking after your body piercing.
After a body piercing it is important that you look after it – Below are some general body piercing aftercare tips:
Don’t touch your piercing until it is healed without first washing your hands with an antibacterial liquid soap. Nipple piercings, Navel piercings and some surface piercings should be dressed (covered with a low tack dressing) only during the first 6/10 hours, and at night for the first 4 nights only to prevent bacterial contact with your bed clothes and/or partner. All body piercings should be left dry, exposed to air and not restricted by tight clothing as this could lead to migration of the piercing, with the obvious exception of internal oral piercings.
Most piercings will secrete body fluid called lymph; this will dry in a hard deposit around the jewellery. It is an important to ensure that all the lymph is soaked off twice daily until your piercing has healed. We recommended using an antibacterial cleaning solution with arnica to speed up the healing for the first few weeks. After this, as the piercing begins to settle, a sea salt and water mix can be used however it is important not to use too much salt (one quarter of a teaspoon of sea salt per full cup of cool pre-boiled water). You can start to clean your piercing on the first morning after you are pierced. The easiest way to clean the lymph from your piercing is to shower first; this will soften the lymph and enable you to remove it with a clean cotton bud. If you have been pierced with a ring you can start rotating the jewellery through the piercing (gently) after about two weeks. Please ensure that all external lymph has been completely removed from the ring before you rotate otherwise you will scratch the internal part of the piercing which will cause itching and discomfort.
Here are the aftercare instructions we give to our piercing customers:
At the Real Piercing Studio we go to great lengths to ensure our service is of the highest standard & your piercing is conducted under sterile conditions. On leaving our premises you can be assured that the area of your piercing is clean. The Jewellery & equipment used will have been sterilized & your piercing will have been done with your own disposable needle. Now it is your responsibility to look after it & keep it clean. Remember that touching it with unwashed hands & fiddling can cause infection. Always be aware of toilet door handles. You may have washed your hands but has everyone else?
1. The after care of your new piercing is of the utmost importance.
Continue to clean for a month after it has healed. You are much less likely to have any problems if you follow everything in this sheet & have purchased the recommended after care products.
2. Infections can develop easily on a new piercing since it is an open skin wound. Be sure to keep dirty fingers & tight or dirty clothing away from the area. Avoid excessive tugging or pulling. Hair can be a problem since it holds dirt & oil. Due to the fact that viruses, bacteria & germs can pass through the wound, refrain from oral & sexual contact until the area is healed. Remember it is your body & an infection will hurt.
3. Clean your piercing three times a day with the Antibacterial Cleansing Lotion. After a few days the piercing will start to excrete fluid, lymph. This will dry hard on the jewellery & must be cleaned off. Wash your hands preferably with an antibacterial liquid soap, dry them with a clean tissue:
With a ring, hold it to stop it moving, clean the ring with the cleaning solution then gently move it through the skin just enough so you can clean off the lymph at one end with a cotton bud soaked in the solution. Reverse it back through & clean the other side using a fresh bud. Now dry the area using clean tissues.
With a bar or banana bar, place a clean finger on one end & gently push the bar so that the other and sticks out a bit, just so you can see the bar, clean off the lymph with a cotton bud soaked in the cleaning solution & repeat for the other end using a fresh bud. Now dry the area especially behind the balls using clean tissues for each ball. With piercings that are part concealed such as the navel, this is of particular importance so you don't leave a damp area ideal for bacteria growth.
4. CAUTION: Ointments do not clean or disinfect piercings. They are only a safe lubricant & are not suitable for cleaning with. Do not use soap. To ensure your piercing heals as quickly as possible do not use antiseptic ointment such as Savlon, Germolene, TCP, Dettol or Surgical Spirit. All of these products will slow the healing process. Ensure you clean with our Antibacterial Cleansing Lotion. After the initial adjustment period, piercings heal faster when dry. The daily use of Zinc speeds up the healing process (this you will find in the After Care Pack) or can be purchased separately from us.
5. Bathing. If possible shower rather than bath (when bathing you are sitting in your own dirty water). Avoid shampoo, soapy water, deodorant etc getting near your piercing, if this occurs; wash with tap water & clean immediately. Swimming should be avoided for the first few weeks as chlorine & sea water contain irritants & unwanted bacteria.
6. Nipple & Navels. Please wear a clean cotton T-shirt to bed or cover them with a porous swab such as Melolin as found in the After Care Pack. As these dressings are non-adhesive allowing air through, they should be taped over the nipple or navel using micropore tape (also found in the After Care Pack). Do this before bed after cleaning for the first four nights, by this time the piercing should be settling down. When you leave our premises you will have a low adhesive dressing covering the piercing. Leave this on overnight & preferably for 24 hours to allow settling time within a sterile atmosphere.
7. Facial piercings & Ears. The only form of cleaning is with Antibacterial Cleansing Lotion, three times a day removing the lymph from the bar or ring with a cotton wool bud using a clean bud for each side of the piercing. Our skin paint should be used if inflammation or redness occurs.
8. Oral piercings. Antiseptic mouthwash is to be used every time, yes every time you drink, smoke, eat, sleep or after any kind of oral contact. Rinse the mouth throughout & hold the liquid inside the mouth for at least 30 seconds ensuring all areas of the mouth & throat have been covered. As our mouthwash requires diluting it is a good idea to make some up into a separate small bottle so that you can keep it with you for easy use at all times, when you are out & about. Also remember you will need to spit out the liquid. If you are going somewhere this may cause embarrassment, take an empty vessel to use for this purpose.
Gently brush teeth 2/3 times a day with toothpaste.
When pierced, your jewellery will be quite long to help the healing process & allow for swelling. You should return after 2/3 weeks & have it changed for a more appropriate size, free of charge. Please bring this leaflet with you as proof of purchase. If you are unable to visit us for your change, just call so we can make alternative arrangements.
To avoid dramatic swelling:
a) Avoid chatting, the more you talk the more it's going to swell
b) Don't stick it out, if it's your tongue we pierced
c) Sucking ice will help to control & reduce the swelling
d) Avoid kissing & any other type of oral contact for at least five weeks.
e) Eat soft food & nothing too spicy, for the first few days.
9. GENERAL If excessive redness, swelling, bleeding, change of colour in tissue or soreness persists, DO NOT REMOVE JEWELLERY. Contact your piercer. If you are unable to contact them, visit your GP. Do not take aspirin for pain relief. An aspirin substitute such as Ibuprofen or Cuprofen is advised & are available from chemists in variable strengths. 1 or 2 Paracetamol may also be taken.
Note: Class A drugs may have severe effects on new piercings under 2 weeks old.
Your piercer should be able to give you any information athat you need about aftercare, but we are always happy to help if not.