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The time required for a piercing to fully heal varies but in most jewellery cases the jewellery should remain and intact and undisturbed for approximately 3–6 months depending on the location of the piercing and your personal healing rate. If your piercing must be removed earlier for medical reasons have a trained professional conduct the procedure to ensure that you do not lose your piercing.
Proper cleaning and hygiene reduce the risk of infection from occurring but some common problems may arise if:
- Your piercing is not completed in a sterile hygienic environment.
- Dirty hands or saliva touching the piercing before it is healed.
- Using improper cleansing solutions which may damage the piercing.
- Using cheap unsterile jewelry.
- Daily hygiene aftercare is not performed.
- “Playing” with your jewellery before it is healed.
Please be advised that we at Ink-Tegrity Tattoo Studio are not physicians and if complications shall arise we advise that you seek medical care from your physician.
We suggest that you use a mild, fragrance-free liquid antibacterial/germicidal medicated soap and distilled water for cleansing. Try to avoid liquid soaps with the active ingredient Triclosan (Dial) which are more damaging to new skin cell formation and will affect the healing of your new piercing.
SEA SALT WATER SOAKS
Sea salt soaks are highly recommended at least once a day to accelerate healing and reduce discomfort of your piercing. Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt into one cup (8 ounces) of warm distilled water in a clean cup. The concentration of the seal salt solution is important, if the solution is too strong (too much salt) then it may burn your piercing and cause more harm than good and if the solution is too weak, you may not experience the benefits of the seal salt soak.
Soak a sterile gauze pad in the salt solution and apply to the pierced area for at least 10 minutes. Next rinse the piercing with distilled water and pat dry with a paper towel. This procedure should be done on a daily basis and additional soaks can be brief (a minute) followed by the rinse and pat dry.
Sea salt soaks help to promote air and blood circulation to aid in the healing process. We advise that sea salt soaks be completed before any sort of physical activity. The soak will prevent crusts that naturally form being pulled into the piercing as movement occurs.
Body piercings can require cleansing on a daily basis for the entire healing period. Do not over-clean, this may irritate your piercing and delay the healing process. If you can only clean your piercing daily, clean it at the end of your day and the frequency will depend on skin sensitivity, activity level and environmental factors.
Before cleansing your piercing ensure your hands are clean. Wash your hands thoroughly with a liquid antibacterial soap and warm water. Never touch your piercing with dirty hands; this is a common route leading to infection.
To prepare your piercing for cleansing rinse your piercing with warm water and be sure to gently remove any stubborn crusts using a cotton swab and warm water. Do not pick at the crusts with your fingernails, our fingernails house bacteria and although you’ve washed your hands you can never be too careful. Apply a small amount of your cleanser to your piercing area, cleanse your piercing area and jewellery, you do not need to rotate your jewellery for cleansing. Cleanse for a minute and then rinse the area with running luke warm water to completely remove all the cleanser from your piercing. Gently pat dry with a paper towel or gauze.
Remember to be patient with your piercing; everyone heals at a different rate so healing times will vary considerably. Remember to seek professional care from your physician if your piercing becomes infected, highly swollen and/or painful beyond the normal threshold. We at Ink-Tegrity Tattoo Studio are always available for support or advice regarding your new piercing.
- Wash your hands prior to cleansing or contact with your piercing.
- Leave your piercing alone for the healing process except for when cleansing.
- Leave your starter jewellery in for the entire healing process. Jewellery should only be switched by a trained professional in a hygienic environment using sterile equipment. If you like your piercing then leave your jewellery in at all times. Decorative accents (captive bead/ball) can be switched at any time but the main piercing hardware must remain.
- If you must remove your piercing for medical purposes then contact your piercer. A microfilament nylon or non-metallic tool can be inserted until the jewellery can be reinserted.
- Consider where you sleep! Make sure Your bedding is clean and changed frequently.
- Wear a comfortable, breathable fabric on the pierced area.
- Opt for a shower over a bath for the sake of your piercing.
- If your piercing becomes infected see your physician for treatment and leave your jewellery in to create drainage for the pus unless removal is advised by your physician. Removal of jewellery will cause the hole to close creating a pus filled abscess which will require drainage.
- Living a stress-free, healthy lifestyle will help promote the healing of your piercing.
WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER YOUR PIERCING
Bleeding, bruising, discolouration and/or swelling at the site of the piercing are not uncommon. For piercings above the neck area sleep with your head propped up to help reduce the amount of overnight swelling. Try to avoid or reduce the intake of acetaminophen containing pain relievers, alcohol and caffeine. For pain relief or reduction of swelling ibuprofen pain relievers are suggested.
Your piercing will be tender and cause some discomfort, this is not usual. You may feel stinging, burning and/or aching at the site of your piercing for several days.
During your healing process there may be some itching and fluid secretion consisting of blood plasma, lymphocytes (white blood cells) and dead cells. The fluid is fairly liquid and is a whitish-yellow colour. This fluid is what forms the crust on the jewellery at the piercing openings. Once healed your piercing may secrete a semi-solid white malodorous substance from the oil glands, this is normal and indicates healing of your piercing.
Remember that the healing process of a piercing may take anywhere form 3–6 months depending on the site of your piercing and is not considered seasoned until after a year. Tightness is normal and don’t expect your jewellery to sing freely, even after it is fully healed. Even though your piercing may look fully healed abide by these general guidelines to help ensure that your piercing remains intact and healthy.