Congratulations. You’ve just received a body piercing by a trained professional who cleaned and disinfected the area pierced and used sterile needles, sterile piercing instruments, and sterile jewelry. Now it is up to you to take appropriate care of your piercing. 


1. Saline solution. Saline is the key to quick healing – it promotes balance so you heal faster! The easiest, safest, and most accurate way to acquire saline is Wound Wash Saline (available at Vaughn Body Arts, grocery and drug stores). It is sterile and comes in a pressurized can. Do not use contact cleaning solutions or soaking/enzyme solutions. 2. Q-tips®, especially when you have a piercing (such as a nostril) where getting at one side may be difficult. 



CHEMICALS WILL NOT HELP YOU HEAL FASTER! Quite the opposite in fact. Chemicals of any kind will upset the balance within your newly forming cells and create a situation in which your piercing will heal tremendously slower (if ever.) DO NOT USE ANY product containing an active ingredient and/or marked “For External Use Only” including, but not limited to: H2Ocean®, Satin®, Provon®, Rubbing Alcohol, Hydrogen Peroxide, Bactine®, Ear Care Solutions (benzalkonium/benzethonium chloride), Antibacterial soaps (i.e., liquid Dial® or Softsoap®), Neosporin® (or other petroleum-based ointments), Betadine® (povidone iodine) or Hibiclens®. 



Saline Rinse: Soften any “crusties” on the jewelry and the surrounding skin with saline and without turning the jewelry. Gently clean any lymph (crusties) using a clean Q-tip and saline without turning the jewelry. Do this a few times a day, when activity might cause the ring to turn (exercise, etc.), and anytime the jewelry feels “sticky” or uncomfortable until your piercing is healed. Try not to over-clean the piercing (5+ times a day) as that can cause irritation as well. Do be careful that no pieces of cotton from the Q-tip get stuck to your piercing or your jewelry. If you see any cotton on your jewelry, carefully remove it.

Cold compresses: Doing a cold compress for the first week can help reduce the amount of swelling you experience. Take a cold pack (similar to the type you would get for sore muscles from any pharmacy or grocery store) and gently place it over the piercing without pushing too hard. Leave it in place as long as you would like.

Hot compresses: After the first week, take a heat pack (similar to what you would buy from the grocery store or pharmacy for sore muscles) and gently put it on your piercing for as long as you would like. The warm temperature helps to bring more blood flow to your piercing, which will help with your healing process. Remember you want it to be comfortably hot/warm, but not to the point of burning or uncomfortable. 


DO NOT play with new piercings, as physical irritation is the worst. Leave them alone. When clothing will cover the piercing, stay with clean, loose, breathable (cotton) clothes.

Do not take out the jewelry until it is done healing as to avoid unnecessary irritation.

No kissing, sucking, licking or sexual contact in the area of any fresh piercing until it is fully healed.

NAVELS: Waistbands in contact with the jewelry are the most common navel piercing problem. Your clothes must ride below your navel, or it may never heal. Maintain good posture, especially when sitting as to prevent pressure and irritation of navel piercings.

NIPPLES: A bra or snug fitting shirt may help reduce soreness in the days after a nipple piercing. Larger breasted women may be more likely to find this true. Try to wear breathable fabrics and consider wearing a cotton bra top to bed.

SWIMMING: Chlorine is tremendously drying and irritating to new piercings and should be avoided. If you cannot stay out of the water, then do your best to rinse with saline whenever you swim. Avoid hot tubs until the piercing is healed. Lakes and oceans are likely to cause irritation and possible infections. Sewage is frequently dumped into these water systems, and presents an additional risk – lakes, slow moving rivers, marinas, and the like are the most risky areas as the water is not frequently cleared out – staphylococcus seems common in tropical waters.

KELOIDS AND SCAR TISSUE: A large majority of people mistake irritation for scarring. If you suspect you are developing scar tissue – contact your piercer. There are several approaches to dealing with these problems, and your piercer can help point you in the right direction. A bump on your piercing is likely not an infection or keloid, but simply swollen tissue caused by irritation (such as snagging or catching your piercing).

HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO HEAL? Most piercings initial healing time ranges from 3 - 4 months depending on what you have pierced and how well you take care of the piercing. Expect new piercings to be sore or slightly tender for about a month – if there isn’t a marked improvement after that time; contact your piercer for evaluation and advice. After the initial healing, continue to clean your piercing once a day for as long as you have it. 


Remember that your piercing is going to swell, so you have been given a piece of jewelry with longer length or a wider diameter to allow room for swelling. If ever your jewelry is looking like it is too short and doesn't have any extra room for swelling, see your piercer immediately to prevent jewelry from embedding. After 4-8 weeks you should notice the swelling to be considerably less, it is very important you see your piercer to see if you are ready for a shorter, snugger fitting piece of jewelry. Failure to downsize your piercing can result in the piercing healing at an extreme angle (ie., gems pointing up and looking tilted).


Lips, cheeks, and tongues require special care. Care for the external part of lip and cheek piercings is the same as the piercing aftercare on the front of this sheet.


1.WATER: Drink lots of water throughout the healing process to wash away any food and to help keep the swelling under control.

2. Ice for tongue piercings (it may help a little for lips too).


Brush your teeth twice a day and stick to your normal oral hygiene habits. If you normally use mouthwash, keep doing it as you would before having your oral piercing done. Do not over use mouthwash.

TONGUES: Gently suck on ice to keep the swelling and soreness down for the first few days. Eat slowly, and think about chewing. Avoid hot and spicy food and hot drinks which will scald and/or increase swelling. NO KISSING OR SEXUAL CONTACT until it is completely healed. Gently brush your tongue when you brush your teeth – it will help remove dead skin. Yogurt, beer, and wine will not harm your oral piercing, though the latter two may cause you to become drunk and do something idiotic to your piercing. This is not permission to go on a drinking binge….

LIPS AND CHEEKS: Clean the outside of lip and cheek piercings as described on the front of this sheet, and the inside as above. Do not play with your piercing! If you leave them alone, lip piercings heal fast.


More often than not, people who think they have an infection actually have an irritation and adjusting the care will fix the problem. You can recognize an infection by its relatively sudden inflammation and accompanying discharge of pus and/or blood. If you suspect that you have an infection, contact your body piercer or your doctor at once. Do not wait for it to get worse, and do not attempt some home remedy.


All piercings are an open channel to the blood stream. Especially in the case of genital piercings, sexual contact during the healing phase could be dangerous to you or your partner. Utilize a barrier if engaging in sexual activity before your genital piercing is completely healed. Go easy on your new piercings – they will heal faster if you do not irritate them by playing rough.

Vulva genital piercings typically heal fast and easily. Rinse the outside of the piercing and clean the jewelry a few times a day with sterile saline solution. It is normal for inner labia and clit hood piercings to bleed a little for the first couple of days. As long as the bleeding stops when you sit still (perhaps put ice on it), there is nothing to worry about. If it’s still bleeding on the third day, contact your piercer. Abstain from sex for at least the first four weeks.

Penis/Scrotal piercings: Follow the instructions listed above (“How To Clean Your Piercing”). Abstain from sex as long as possible, or for four weeks - whichever comes first. On piercings through the head or the urethra, expect bleeding for a few days. If bleeding continues after that time, or if there is an unexpectedly large amount of bleeding, contact your piercer.


DO NOT take advice from your friends, mothers, acquaintances, relatives, local clergy or psychic advisors on how to take care of your piercings. This is where the worst aftercare information comes from. Remember, just because someone is pierced, DOES NOT make them an expert on body piercings! Listen to your piercer, we have been doing this for a long time and are trained professionals, we know what we’re talking about. They don’t.

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