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Piercing Aftercare

A Somewhat Comprehensive Guide on What to Do With Your New Piercing


Getting a new piercing is always thrilling, but being able to properly heal a piercing is even more satisfying. Most piercings follow a reasonably simple guideline on care; however, understanding the intricacies of a healing piercing is critical for the success of your new adornment.


With a fresh piercing, thoroughly rinse it with warm water in the shower and gently spray the piercing as needed, two to three times a day, with sterile saline spray. Sterile saline (not contact solution) and warm water are the only solutions necessary to successfully healing a piercing. Avoid alcohol, tea tree oil, crushed aspirin, etc.— virtually everything except for warm water and sterile saline. Dry it off with a clean paper towel or blow-dry it on the cold setting. Make sure the piercing is completely dry after the rinse because moisture can harbor bacteria, and that can lead to piercing bumps. This is the only time the piercing will need to be touched, otherwise, leave it alone. 


Some bleeding, tenderness, and swelling is completely normal for a fresh piercing. Tightness around the jewelry, itchiness, and discoloration can also factor into a new piercing. While this may be uncomfortable, it is imperative to leave the piercing alone unless you are cleaning it. Keep jewelry in while the piercing is healing as piercings can close up extremely fast, even in minutes. Piercings can feel healed sooner than later because the wound heals from the outside in. In the rare case that the piercing is infected, avoid removing the jewelry as the infection can become trapped inside the piercing. If you have any questions about your piercing, feel free to email for troubleshooting.


For oral piercings: Rinse with alcohol-free antimicrobial or antibacterial mouthwash after eating food or smoking. Discoloration can occur if the piercing is overcleaned; if that happens, rinse the piercing less. Use a fresh toothbrush (gently brush your jewelry as well) and practice proper oral hygiene to ensure happy and healthy healing. Be sure to avoid acidic, spicy, salty, and hot-temperature foods and drinks. Eat and drink foods slowly and carefully to avoid irritating the piercing. Also, be sure to avoid drinking beer for at least three weeks due to the yeast causing excessive swelling and potential thrush (Sorry, but liquor is fine)! Smoking can irritate fresh piercings, so avoiding it during initial healing can benefit the piercing greatly. Downsizing the length of the jewelry is necessary to prevent oral damage. 


Reducing inflammation is crucial to healing a piercing. This can be done by taking ibuprofen (Disclaimer: It is a critical caveat that I am not a doctor, take anti-inflammatories wisely), cleaning the piercing with cold saline, and avoiding sleeping on or touching the piercing itself. Once the swelling goes down, this is when you will want to consider downsizing your piercing. Downsizing a piercing involves shortening the length of the bar that the piercee was initially pierced with. This generally happens around two to three months after the initial piercing. It is vital in the healing process as downsizing prevents the piercing from getting caught or slept on too much, which leads to shifts in the angle of the piercing and migration.


With a new piercing, change bedsheets to ensure a fresh surface to sleep on, especially if you have pets. Avoid touching, twisting, or turning your piercing unless it is being gently cleaned. Overcleaning can also lead to complications but, if in doubt, leave the piercing alone (LITHA). Avoid submerging the piercing in a body of water and keep it away from bodily fluids. If the piercing is located on the ear, be careful with leave-in hair products, sprays, and oils as they can profoundly irritate piercings. If the piercing is located on the face, avoid face wash, face mask, and makeup near the fresh piercing. 


Several weeks after getting a rad piercing, it will be time for a piercing check-up and potential downsize. Check-ups ensure that the piercing is healing well and also give the client a chance to ask any questions and troubleshoot in person. Downsizing a piercing, as aforementioned, involves shortening the length of the original piercing bar and leads to a successful, happily healed piercing. It is also a fabulous time to check out new jewelry in the shop and maybe even get a new piercing!


As always, I am happy to help. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out through email at

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