8 Of Cups And The World As Feelings Body Piercing Aftercare & Healing Essentials

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Body Piercing Aftercare & Healing Essentials

The most important thing to keep in mind after getting a piercing is that you’ve basically just suffered an open wound and you should take care of it just like you would a surgical wound or injury. That means with the same care, cleanliness and attention you would give to a serious injury to make sure you don’t injure a scar or get an infection. There are two different types of piercings to consider: non-oral and oral.

Oral Piercing Aftercare Keeping your piercing clean can’t be over-stressed! It just doesn’t work. Twice a day, every day, without fail. No excuses. Use a gentle fragrance-free antibacterial soap such as Provon® Antimicrobial Lotion Soap or Satin® Therapeutic Skin Cleanser, both of which are approved by the Association of Professional Piercers (APP). The best place to clean your piercing is usually in the shower, where the warm water will help loosen and remove those crusts around the base of your jewelry. Use a cotton swab or Kleenex to remove them, then discard the swab or Kleenex. Never use a washcloth – these things are a breeding ground for germs and bacteria! The same goes for shower towels! Then, with clean hands instead of soap, gently clean and turn the jewelry so that the soap gets into the piercing and let it work for a minute or two. After turning again, rinse thoroughly with warm clean water. Make sure you get all the soap out to prevent irritation. Rinsing is very important, so try to be thorough without irritating the area. It often helps to cup your hands and drip onto the area, as the shower stream may be too strong to direct directly onto the area. Don’t forget the sea salt soak After cleansing, the sea salt soak will help draw out any piercing infection and debris while also soothing the area and calming any inflammation. Mix about ¼ teaspoon of sea salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Using a disposable cup, soak the piercing in it for ten minutes the first time, then for five minutes each time. If your piercing is in a difficult area, apply the solution using cotton swabs, tissues, or another disposable product that is soft and clean. Never use a tissue, washcloth, or any other item that will be reused. Always dry the piercing with cotton swabs, cotton swabs or napkins – do not rub, but pat. This reduces irritation and possible tearing of the skin and helps promote healing. Although it seems like a small step, keeping your piercing dry is actually an essential part of piercing aftercare as it reduces opportunities for bacteria to grow (they love a warm, moist place to play). If you’re unsure about mixing sea salts properly or it’s too inconvenient, there’s a new alternative on the market that’s less messy and portable. H2Ocean® Piercing Aftercare Spray is a pre-mixed sea salt solution containing lysozyme, a natural skin-friendly antibacterial agent. Simply spray on the area and let it drip; easy to use thanks to their patented compressed air delivery system that creates a fine mist. This product is guaranteed to heal navel piercings in just a month and a half when used regularly and is highly recommended by numerous piercing communities such as BME and Prick magazine. H2Ocean® also comes in a portable size to fit in your pocket or purse, making it easy to aftercare your piercing away from home. Also available for oral and non-oral body piercings, X-pressions Piercing Aftercare Spray is a mild antibacterial solution with purified water in a non-aerosol pump spray with a pleasant peppermint flavor. Once a day (not more often, as you will irritate the area unnecessarily), check that the ends of your piercing jewelry are firmly screwed on. But first, wash your hands with antibacterial soap. And now a few “no’s”

  • Never put hydrogen peroxide or alcohol on the piercing – they are too drying and slow healing.
  • Never use Neosporin on piercings – it can actually trap bacteria. Read the label; it actually says, “Not for stab wounds.” Guess what? A piercing is a stab wound.
  • Never remove your piercing jewelry until the piercing is completely healed, which can take months or up to a year. If you suspect a piercing infection, see your piercing professional or doctor first.
  • Do not sleep on your piercing until the initial healing phase is over.
  • Do not wear tight clothing over the piercing during the initial healing phase.

Oral Piercing Aftercare For the first three to six weeks after your oral piercing, rinse your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash after every meal to kill bacteria and make sure that tiny particles of food don’t settle around the piercing waiting to fester and turn into problems later . There are several excellent products on the market, including APP recommended by Biotene and Tech2000 Dental Rinse; they have the right ingredients and the right strength to get the job done without being overpowering. Don’t bother with mouthwash because it’s not strong enough to cover up bad breath, which won’t be much comfort when you end up with a swollen, sensitive tongue due to improper aftercare. You can also use a commercial antibacterial rinse, but dilute it so it’s not too strong. If your tongue takes on a whitish or yellowish appearance, your mouthwash is too strong and will slow healing. Sea salt rinses…oh! Mix the familiar warm water solution of 8 ounces of water with ¼ teaspoon of sea salt and swish it around your mouth for 15-20 seconds after drinking anything other than water and after smoking. Not only does it aid in healing, but it can be very soothing to the pierced area. If your oral piercing is sore or swollen, you may find some relief by letting crushed ice melt in your mouth. Popsicles, ice cream and the like also work, but will need to be followed, like everything else, by a sea salt (or H2Ocean®) rinse. Brush, brush, brush You can keep your tongue and piercings as clean as you want, but if you don’t brush your teeth well, you’ll still have millions of bacteria in your mouth. Try to brush your teeth three times a day during the first few weeks of healing. Buy a new brush with soft bristles that will be gentle on your piercing. Do not use a brush that you have already used before the piercing, as it will contain old germs. You should also gently brush the beads on the ends of your piercing jewelry to prevent plaque from naturally building up on your jewelry. Oral piercing “isn’t”

  • Do not smoke, chew gum, use snuff, or scrub during the healing period; these increase the risk of piercing infections astronomically.
  • Do not play with the piercing jewelry or click it against the teeth; this can cause your tooth enamel to crack.
  • During the initial treatment period of several weeks, do not engage in any activities, including kissing, that exchange bodily fluids.

General Tips to Improve Healing Success Proper piercing aftercare is the primary reason for a successful body modification, but your overall health and how well you take care of yourself also contribute. If you are exhausted or have a weakened immune system, you will not heal as quickly and will be more susceptible to infection. For this reason, there are a few things you should keep in mind whenever you have any type of piercing to ensure that your piercing aftercare measures have the best chance of success:

  • Drink plenty of fluids, especially water. At least eight glasses a day.
  • At least eight hours of sleep per night
  • Try to reduce the amount of stress in your life
  • Vitamin C and zinc supplements help speed up the healing process
  • Lots of fruits and vegetables and multivitamins if needed
  • If the pain bothers you, take Ibuprofen. If you feel comfortable, you are less likely to fiddle with the piercing.

Signs of trouble Even with excellent aftercare after a piercing, there will be swelling at the piercing site for a few days. You will also have a clear, watery discharge and possibly some light bleeding. Bleeding usually stops within 24 hours, while discharge may last for days or weeks. This is simply drainage of the wound and actually helps prevent infection of the piercing. Signs that a piercing is in trouble include:

  • Discharge that is noticeably thicker and yellow or green in color. This is a symptom or infection and should be checked by a doctor.
  • Inflammation that lasts more than a few days, with redness and irritation. See your piercing professional or doctor.
  • Red streaks from the piercing site and fever along with body aches. See your doctor.
  • Hives, redness, itching and irritation around the piercing, which may signal an allergic reaction to the piercing jewelry. Your piercing professional may try replacing it with an alternative metal.
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing after the piercing, or feeling like your mouth or throat is closed. Call the emergency room immediately!

So how long does the whole treatment take? If you do your piercing aftercare correctly, your piercing will heal cleanly, leaving you with a beautiful new piercing without scarring, migration or keloids. However, the time required to achieve this will vary depending on the type of piercing. The general timeframes below are indicative only. It all depends on your body’s individual response, how stressed you are, and thousands of other variables. Ear lobe or eyebrow: 6 – 8 weeks
Genitalia: 4 weeks – 4 months
Labret/lip: 6 – 8 weeks
Navel: 6 – 18 months
Nipple: 3 – 6 months
Nostril: 3 months – 1 year
Counter: 6 – 8 weeks
Language: 4 – 6 weeks
Cartilage: 3 months – 1 year Disclaimer: All piercing aftercare information provided here is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to be a guide for piercing aftercare, but a starting point for making an informed decision about piercing. If you have any questions or are approaching a piercing, be sure to discuss the procedure with a medical or piercing professional, and at that time get complete and clear instructions for piercing aftercare. Evaluseek Publishing takes no responsibility for the accuracy of this content, which is based on the general consensus of the body piercing community, which is constantly evolving and changing. This article on “Body Piercing Aftercare & Healing Essentials” reprinted with permission.
Copyright © 2004 Evalueek Publishing.

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