Piercing Aftercare Guide.
TL; DR – Too Much Information? For just the facts try reading our quick reference guide here!
It is recommended that you don’t change, twist or fiddle with the jewellery for 6 weeks.
Twisting and fiddling with the jewellery within the piercing breaks the healing tissue trying to form around the bar and grinds dirt and other unpleasant things into the wound causing infection, irritation and prolonging the healing time.
It used to be thought that the skin forming around the bar would cause the jewellery to stick to the inside of the wound but we now know that this is how your body forms a fistula (a tunnel of tissue) and that breaking the new tissue damages this process so it’s best to leave things alone!
The jewellery you have been pierced with should also be made from a good quality metal or hypoallergenic medical plastic (like PTFE) and changing to something else may cause irritation and reactions that can be detrimental to your healing.
This piercing is prone to a large amount of swelling which needs to be carefully treated to ensure your healing goes as smoothly as possible. The best way to reduce swelling is to take regular doses of an anti-inflammatory like Ibuprofen (as long as you are medically able to) and to drink lots of icy cold drinks. Herbal supplements like Arnica are also recommended, along with eating frozen foods and drinking chamomile tea. The piercing may remain swollen for up to two weeks.
Clean your piercing with either an alcohol-free mouthwash or a sea salt rinse. To create a rinse mix ¼ teaspoon of sea salt into 1 coffee mug of boiling water and leave to cool until bearable. It is important to stick to this measurement and to use sea salt as other salts have chemicals added to them to stop them clumping which will irritate your piercing. Also, where possible, boil your water in a microwave to avoid the bacteria that lurk in the bottom of your kettle.
Make sure your hands are clean and then take a mouthful of your wash and swill for a few minutes.
Then take a cotton bud and soak either in the salt solution or plain water. Clean thoroughly around the top and bottom of the piercing removing any discharge or “crusties.” Crusties, caused by a light yellow / white discharge, are perfectly normal to see throughout your healing time.
When you’re finished rinse with clean water.
Now is a good time to ensure the balls on your jewellery are on nice and tight while the piercing is crust-free and your hands are clean! Remember: Lefty Loosy, Righty Tighty.
It is best to clean your piercing twice a day for the first two weeks. After this simply clean whenever the piercing feels sore or has crusties. Don’t clean more than twice a day as over cleaning won’t help your piercing heal any faster – in fact it’s likely to do the opposite!
You will also need to rinse your mouth after eating, drinking and smoking with diluted alcohol-free mouthwash (50/50 with water) or using the sea salt mixture during these two weeks.
It is important not to use any kind of alcohol on the piercing – including alcohol based mouth washes like Listerine as these harm the newly forming tissue and weaken the piercing, making your healing time more difficult. Ideally you should try to wait 2 weeks before drinking alcoholic beverages and to use a straw to try and protect your piercing after this.
During the first two weeks you should avoid exchanging body fluids (kissing and unprotected oral sex) as this can introduce bacteria and infection to the open wound.
It’s a really good idea to change your toothbrush when you get a new oral piercing as toothbrushes can harbour bacteria, dead skin and old food which won’t do your piercing any good!
People who are prone to plaque or scale, or who are smokers, are particularly recommended to use a mouthwash rather than the more gentle sea salt soaks to ensure problem-free healing.
If your piercing gets sore or irritated consider drinking chamomile tea. It is a natural anti-inflammatory, soothing and an analgesic and can be easily found in the herbal tea section of most supermarkets. People who have a ragweed allergy should be sure to do a skin test first before using the tea.
Take care of your general health! Drink plenty of water, sleep well and eat properly. For the first few weeks try to avoid smoking, or drinking alcohol as they are immune system suppressants. Alcohol also thins the blood which can cause additional bleeding.
If you want to do a little extra to help healing try taking a multivitamin that contains zinc, iron and vitamin C as these help support your immune system and aid tissue repair. The healthier you are the better you will heal!