The Association of Professional Piercers (APP) has a meeting every year to unveil and discuss new innovations in all areas of piercing. As such, the body piercing industry is known for always progressing with current changes in healing piercings. Many of these guidelines are well known, but worth repeating for anyone getting pierced for the first time. This also applies to anyone who hasn’t gotten pierced in a while. Procedures might have changed since the last time, and it’s important to stay aware so you don’t unintentionally harm your piercing. A stable healing period will guarantee your piercing stays intact and stable until you’re ready to take it out.
How Long Does Healing Take?
The healing process usually takes somewhere between two and ten months depending on your immunity and your body’s healing response. This can even be extended slightly if the piercing goes through a lot of tissue or has the chance of migrating.
You should be prepared to clean your piercing once or twice per day with the appropriate products and keep your hands off it as much as possible. Within the first week or two of healing you will get an idea of what works for your piercing and your body as far as cleaning frequency and irritation. It’s important to remember that getting any body piercing is an investment that should be cared for accordingly.
Can I Touch my Piercing?
The first rule after getting any piercing is to touch it as little as possible. While the temptation is there to spin, rotate or pull on your new jewelry, you should avoid this at all costs. Leaving your piercing alone helps it to heal far faster than when you mess with it. Your body knows how to heal wounds effectively, so let that process happen with minimal interference!
Picking at a fresh piercing is like picking at a scab. Messing with your piercing just causes trauma to the piercing in addition to introducing new dirt and germs to the healing environment. Excess movement can also cause a build up of scar tissue over time. Many of these hazards can be avoided by simply leaving your piercing alone as much as you can.
Can I Swim with a New Piercing?
Another thing you’re going to want to avoid during the healing period is swimming in public areas. This includes open bodies of water such as oceans or lakes as well as public pools or jacuzzies. The introduction of a wealth of new bacteria, as well as harsh chemicals like chlorine, makes healing far more difficult for your piercing. Exposure to these environments can also lead to infections or excess scar tissue.
For body piercings like nipple or navel rings, you may be able to get ahold of waterproof bandages to try and keep your new piercing safe while in the water. However, if your piercing is not one you can easily cover up this way, consider pumping the brakes on swimming until your piercing is mostly healed after two to three months.
What Should I Avoid?
There are a lot of questions about how to keep your piercing and jewelry as clean as possible during the healing phase. For starters, don’t use any products like hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, Bactine or Neosporin. These products are incredibly harsh and damaging to a new piercing, and they will only irritate it and cause complications. The only time your piercing should be exposed to outside interference (barring accidents) is during daily cleaning or while taking a shower.
How Do I Keep my Piercing Clean?
As of 2019, the recommended approach is using saline spray to keep your piercing clean. Saline spray is affordable and can be acquired at your local piercing shop after you get pierced. The best option according to professionals is a brand called NeilMed. H2Ocean is another great brand that achieves the same purpose. Both sprays are made up of a sterile saline solution that is easy and simple to use. If you’re in a more rural area and do not have access to a piercing shop, you can always find saline wound wash in the first aid section of any pharmacy or drug store. Any of these three options will do a great job irrigating your piercing regularly and keeping it clean for the duration of your healing time.
How Do I Use Saline Spray?
There are two basic ways you can use your can of saline spray on your piercing. The first way is to hold the can up to your piercing and gently spray some saline on it. A small amount of spray should do the job. Give it a minute to soak in and then dab the area around it with a paper towel to ensure it’s clean. Try not to touch your piercing directly and just let it soak in. Paper towels or tissues are ideal for this process since towels with fibers can carry more bacteria.
The second way is best if you find yourself with a build-up of debris around your jewelry. Get a paper towel and fold it so you have a thick corner to work with. Spray the corner with the saline solution and gently wipe away the debris on the ends of your jewelry. Try to be as gentle as possible to not move the jewelry around too much. You can always try both approaches if the debris is stubborn – soak your piercing first and then wipe it down with a wet corner. This ensures a clean piercing and the ability to safely wipe off any build-up.
Healing a piercing can sometimes be difficult. It might be a source of discomfort for the duration of the healing period, but not picking at it will be worth it in the long run. Remember to leave it alone as much as possible, spray it with sterile saline a couple of times a day and let your body heal it accordingly. Your body has healed countless wounds before this one, and a piercing will be no different if you decide to be gentle with it!
Disclaimer: If you have any questions or concerns about your piercings please visit your local Professional Piercer or Medical Doctor.