Piercing Aftercare

Basic Piercing Aftercare

Always wash your hands right before touching or cleaning your piercing.

Clean your new piercing twice daily and continue to do so for the entire healing period unless told otherwise by your piercer.  The purpose of cleaning your piercing is to remove any discharge that occurs at the piercing site in addition to any dirt or bacteria that has accumulated.

Clean your piercing by using sterile saline spray (sold at Fattys).

Do not use alcohol, peroxide, ointments or any other type of cleaning agent in or around your piercing.  Also do not use Q-tips or cotton balls.

Oral Piercing Aftercare

For the first few days after you receive your oral piercing put ice in your mouth periodically to reduce swelling.  You can also use anti inflammatories that do not thin your blood.  Right after you eat, smoke or drink anything besides water while your oral piercing is healing rinse your mouth for 1 minute with saline solution.

Your oral piercing will be done initially with a piece of jewelry that is longer and can account for the predictable swelling that will occur while healing.  Make a follow up appointment with your piercer as soon as your oral piercing has healed so they can change your jewelry out to a shorter piece to avoid damage to your teeth and gums.

Spicy and highly acidic foods and beverages should be avoided while your oral piercing is healing.  Avoid all activities that could introduce unclean or pathogenic substances to your oral piercing while healing.

For all lip and cheek piercings clean the outside of your piercing as well as outlined above for basic piercing care.

Genital Piercing Aftercare

Clean the outside of your piercing as outlined above for basic piercing care.  Do not clean a healing genital piercing with soap.

Avoid all activities that could introduce unclean or pathogenic substances to your genital piercing while healing. 

If your genital piercing continues to bleed after the procedure, loosely but securely wrap the pierced area in gauze.

For piercings around the urethra irrigate the piercing with saline solution after urinating.

Surface Piercing/Anchors Aftercare

Clean your piercing as outlined above for basic piercing care.  These piercings require maintenance during their entire lifetime because matter can build up underneath the threaded top causing the piercing to become irritated. Saline and/or shower rinses may be helpful with removing matter from underneath the threaded top.  Avoid putting makeup on these piercings even after healing.

Even with proper care, surface anchors may be less permanent than other body piercings.

How Do I Take Care of My Piercing Over the Long-Term?

Always wash your hands before touching your piercing and jewelry.   Periodically clean your jewelry with warm water.  You can scrub your jewelry gently with a SOFT toothbrush (made for babies) to aid in the cleaning.  If your healed piercing becomes irritated you can view piercing troubleshooting in the sections below.

Piercing Issues and Solutions

It is normal for a new, healing piercing to secrete a white or pale yellow liquid during healing. This is not a sign of infection. If your discharge is light in color and not accompanied by pain, swelling, redness, or warmth it is most likely not a reason to be concerned.

However piercings can become infected and you could be allergic to certain types of metals or cleaning solutions.  Piercings can also become irritated even after the piercing has healed so you need to pay attention during healing and throughout the life of your piercing.

Piercing Irritations

Usually what many people think of as an infection is actually the result of irritation. If your piercing is red, swollen right around the hole, peeling, excreting white or yellow fluid, bleeding slightly, or seems to have a solid (not fluid-filled) bump around the jewelry, it is probably irritated. These are all signs that the piercing is not being cared for properly

Irritation is typically caused by touching or playing with your piercing (particularly with unclean hands), excessive cleaning, wearing clothing that is too tight or rubbing against the piercing (navels and nipples), body position while sleeping, glasses or phone use (ear cartilage), chewing gum, grinding teeth, or playing with the jewelry (tongue piercings), having sex too soon (genitals), or any other behaviors or activities that chafe, pull, or put pressure on your piercing.

If your piercing is irritated, consider your behavior to try to figure out what’s causing the irritation. Once the cause of the irritation can be determined and eliminated, symptoms will often disappear. Warm salt water soaks work well to help soothe irritated piercings and helps to prevent a worsening of symptoms. 

Piercing Infections

Infections come from exposure to bacteria and other contaminants and can typically be avoided with basic hygiene (and common sense). You will usually know if your piercing becomes infected if the surrounding tissue becomes red, painful, swollen and warm to the touch, or if you get discharge that is dark yellow, greenish, bloody, or has a bad odor. A small, fluid-filled bump (which looks like a pimple) will often accompany facial piercing infections.

If you think you have an infection, contact your piercer directly for advice and do not remove your jewelry.  Your piercer may want to meet you in person. Infections are easier to treat if the piercing remains open.  Hot salt water soaks are the best way to keep minor infections from getting worse.

If you have allowed your infection to persist and becomes serious or life threatening then you should see a doctor.  Just keep in mind that your doctor may not be familiar with treating body piercings and not fully understand the best course of action for piercing irritations and treat them the same way which they would an infection.

Allergic Reactions

Usually simple piercing irritations are mistaken for allergic reactions.  When using high quality, implant-grade piercing jewelry (as we do at Fattys) and appropriate cleaning solutions, allergic reactions are rare. However it is always possible for your body to have an allergic reaction to any foreign substance that it is exposed to, including metals and piercing cleaning solutions. Allergic reactions will often appear as rashes, excessive clear fluid discharge, redness, itchiness, or (with some metal allergies) the skin pulling away from the jewelry. These will usually show up immediately after being pierced or right after starting to use a new cleaning solution.

An allergic reaction to your cleaning solution will usually appear as a large, red patch around the piercing.  In this case switch to a basic sea salt or saline solution. If you suspect a metal or cleaning solution allergy please contact your piercer directly who may ask that you come into the shop for an expert option and possible jewelry removal.

Jewelry Embedding, rejection and migration

Occasionally jewelry embedding occurs when skin grows over the top of a healing piercing.  This is usually caused by excessive swelling from an initial piercing.  In this case contact your piercer directly to set up an appointment so they can change your jewelry until the swelling subsides. It is important that you contact your piercer as soon as possible to avoid further complications.
On rare occasions your body will reject (push out) or migrate a piece of jewelry from its original placement. Before this takes place, the piercing will become sore and irritated and will not settle no matter how well you care for it.  If you suspect your piecing is attempting to reject or migrate please contact your piercer directly so they can assist you and try to save your piercing.

Check and Tighten You Jewelry Regularly

If you have a piece of jewelry that is screwed together you will need to check and tighten it daily to avoid having it fall out.  Threadless pieces should be also be checked daily and pushed together to ensure they are flush and secure.  Wash your hands before tightening your jewelry.  Consider using gloves to tighten oral piercing jewelry to get a better grip on the piece.  Remember that maintaining your jewelry after you leave the shop is your responsibility so please be vigilant and pay attention to your jewelry.