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THE CARE AND HEALING OF YOUR NEW PIERCING
*If you do not clean and care for your new piercing you run the risk of infection
A new piercing is an open wound -- and must be cared for as such to prevent infection and associated complications.
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS -- Applicable to ALL Piercings
What You Can Expect - The Normal Healing Process
Initially: Some bleeding, localized swelling or tenderness, redness/discoloration and perhaps some bruising.
During Healing: Some discoloration, itching, secretions of whitish or yellow fluid (NOT pus) that will form around the outside of the incision/puncture and the entry point of your jewelry.
Once Healed: Your jewelry may not always move freely in the piercing -- especially in the nipples or septum. DO NOT try and force it (once healed, olive oil or another natural oil may be applied to ease the movement of tight jewelry). If you fail to clean the piercing as part of your daily hygiene ritual after it is healed, normal but "smelly" body secretions will accumulate in the piercing. A piercing will seem healed long before it is actually fully healted -- this is due to the fact that a "tube" of new skin cells grows inward from the incision points -- BE PATIENT -- and continue to clean your piercing through the entire healing period recommended below. Even healted piercings after being there for many years can still shrink and possibly close in a very short period of time -- so be very careful with removing healed piercings.
THE CLEANING PROCESS: Before cleaning, wash your hands throroughly with soap and rinse. Piercings require two (2) daily cleanings with a gentle soap (ex: dial), saline solution (store bought or mix of SEA SALT and water) or an alcohol-free mouthwash such as Biotene. Clean once in the morning and once in the evening. DO NOT REMOVE JEWELRY FOR CLEANING.
The Piercing may discharge a whitish/yellowish secretion. These crusty dicharges may be removed with a Q-Tip and warm water or a saline solution just prior to the actual cleaning. When this matter is removed, you need only a little soap or saline solution and then gently turn or rotate the jewelry back and forth through the Piercing a couple of times. Rinse the area with water to remove all traces of soap. Cleaning is usually easily done in the shower. For some piercings, such as ear or surface piercings, cleaning can be done by placing your cleaning solution in a glass and "cupping" it to your ear or other surface area.
Diet, rest and your general health all affect how your body will heal. The healthier your lifestyle, the quicker you will heal.
AVOID: Hot Tubs, Lakes, Pools, Soaking Baths -- all have bacteria and/or chemicals that can infect or irritate your piercing while it heals. And use COMMON SENSE. If a piercing is likely to be exposed to dirt or debris, wear protective covering. Do not let pets lick a new or healing piercing. Do not "clean-out" your piercing with anti-biotics or products made for cleaning wounds (NO hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alchol, Bactine, Neosporin or petroleum-based ointment) or bandage your piercing like a wound.
WARNING: Over-Cleaning your piercing can prolong the time it takes to heal. The interior of your piercing is like a "tunnel" -- over time, your body creates new cells that line the tunnel and create a new barrier for your sking from outisde exposure. Agressive cleaning, playing with your piercing or stress by tugging or pulling can tear out the new cells while it is healing, making the entire process begin anew and extending the time it eventually takes for your piercing to heal.
SPECIFIC AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS:
NOSTRIL: Be careful of using too much makeup and hard or abrasive facial cleansers. Always pat your face dry; loose or "looped" towel fibers can easily get caught on a piercing and even tear it out. Be careful of your towel catching on it when drying your hair or after getting out of the shower.
NAVEL: Avoid tight clothing on your navel area - this is the most common cause of irritation.
NIPPLES: Again avoid tight fitting clothing. Women report that wearing a bra or A-Shirt for support helps with the soreness, especially in bed and during exercise.
ALL ORAL PIERCINGS: Tongue, Labret, etc. Avoid spicy foods, high grain alcohols, smoking and making out. AVOID ALCOHOL BASED moutwashes (Use, e.g., Biotene).
TONGUE: For swelling or soreness take Aleve or Advil. Eat slowly and think about how you are chewing. NO KISSING OR SEXUAL CONTACT until completely healed. Gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush -- it will help remove mucus and dead skin cells.
LIP/MONROE: Do not play with it! If you leave it alone it will heal faster. Remember to clean the outside too, it is not sufficient to just rinse your mouth with a mouthwash, etc. Consult with your piercing after it has healed about shortening the length of the piercing's post to avoid damage to teeth and gums.
GENITAL: REMEMBER -- ALL PIERCINGS AE AN OPEN CHANNEL INTO YOUR BLOOD STREAM. Sexual contact during the healing phase could b dangerous to you and your partner. Exercise safe sex protocol and be gentle with your new piercing - it will heal faster. Urine may be the best ally to your healing piercing -- urine is sterile to your body and the best rinsing agent you have, thought not to replace general saline aftercare.
MALE: Follow general aftercare and absatin for 4 weeks or as long as possible. On piercings through the head of the penis or urethra expect bleeding for the first few days. If bleeding continued pat this time or an unexpected amount of bleeding is occuring, please contact your piercer.
FEMALE: Femal geneital piercings typically heal fast and easily. It is typical for labia and hood piercings to bleed for the first few days. If bleeding continues past this time or an unexpected amount of bleeding is occurring, please contact your piercer. It is highly advised to abstain from sex for the first few weeks.
ESTIMATED HEALING TIMES -- Please keep in mind that your own experience may vary depending on your body's natural healing process and the diligence you have exercised in caring for your new piercing.
EARLOBE -- 4 to 8 Weeks
CARTILAGE: Rook, Conch, Tragus, Helix, Industrial, Anti-Tragus, Snug, Daith -- 3 to 9 Months
NOSTRIL -- 3 to 4 Months
SEPTUM -- 4 to 8 Weeks
EYEBROW -- 6 to 8 Weeks
TONGUE -- 4 to 8 Weeks
LABRET, LIP, MONROE -- 6 to 8 Weeks
NAVEL -- 6 to 9 Months
NIPPLES -- Male, 3 to 4 Months; Female, 6 to 9 Months
WARNING SIGNS OF AN INFECTION: The warning signs of an infection include prolonged pain, swelling, excessive discharge, severe discoloration or shift of piercing. The most common cause of infection is repeatedly touching a piercing with unclean hands. If you suspect an infection, please consult with your piercer or your physician.