If you're thinking about getting a new piercing, there are several factors you should consider. While the actual piercing process may take only minutes, the healing process can take months.
A new piercing is a long-term commitment, even after it has healed. It's prone to infections, scarring, and complications. However, with proper cleaning, a new piercing can be easily cared for.
Where to Go
Choosing a safe parlor is essential to avoid risks of diseases and infections. Pick one that is registered, those are the most reliable and safe. According to health regulations, the shop is required to be clean and the piercing tools should be sanitized with an autoclave.
Ideally, the shop should have good lighting and ventilation. Look for a licensed technician who checks for I.D. because in most areas, you must be eighteen or older to get a piercing without parental consent. The more comfortable you are with the person, the better you will feel about it.
The Piercing Process
The operator will first provide you with medical information as they are required by law to do so. The area on you body will be disinfected and the piercing site will be cleaned with antiseptic to kill any germs and bacteria. You'll wait a few minutes, allowing the the antiseptic to cleanse. Before piercing, the technician must wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water. They will then put on disposable gloves before touching you or the needle.
Piercing guns are only to be used for the ears because they cannot be fully disinfected. A new sterile needle will be used on other areas of the body. After the procedure, the freshly pierced site will be cleaned and new jewelry will be inserted. If you have any allergies to certain metals, be sure to inform the piercer. Avoid using cheap metals and jewelry, they are more likely to cause allergic reactions.
Caring for an Oral Piercing
A good technician will tell you how to care for your new piercing, what danger signs to look for, and give you an instruction sheet to take home with you. They will encourage you to give them a call at the first sign of trouble. Here are some general guidelines:
An oral piercing on the tongue or lips takes approximately four to five weeks to heal. For the first three days, keep ice on it often. This will reduce swelling and discomfort. Eat soft foods that require little chewing. After you eat, smoke (please don't) or put anything into your mouth, rinse it out with an antibacterial mouthwash to kill germs. Try to avoid mouthwash that contains alcohol.
For a lip piercing, apply antibiotic ointment cream at least twice daily with a cotton swab or ball. Do not play with or twist the jewelry because this will prolong the healing process and could cause tearing. Because oral piercings close quickly, the jewelry should not be taken out until it is completely healed. Refrain from chewing on your jewelry or hitting it against your teeth. Common side effects of this are chipped teeth, swelling, pus, and jaw cramps.
Other Body Piercings
Always wash you hands before touching the piercing area. Expect to see lymph discharge which forms a crust around your jewelry. You will need to peel it off gently after soaking it in warm water to loosen it. Apply antibacterial soap and work it into a lather. Carefully twist the jewelry a few times to fully clean the piercing tunnel. After a few minutes, rinse off the residue. Next, use a solution that is compatible with the type of piercing you have. Apply it with a cotton swab about two or three times a day and do not rinse it off. Do not over-clean as this can cause irritation.
- Keep your bed sheets, pillowcases and clothing clean.
- Pools, saunas and baths are full of bacteria and should be avoided.
- If you have a naval piercing, do not wear tight clothing while it heals. It will block air flow and tug on your jewelry.
- Don't sleep on a fresh piercing. You risk getting your jewelry torn out.
- Shampoo and hair products should be kept away from the piercing area.
- If you have a new ear piercing, keep instruments such as your phone and headphones clean.
Should you try a piercing kit? It depends on the type of piercing. The best thing to do is have it done professionally. They can advise you of the risks and proper care for healing.
*This page is provided as an information resource and is in no way intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice.