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Body Piercing Aftercare

Having a new piercing involves breaking the skin surface so there is always a potential risk for infection to occur afterwards. It is important that this advice is followed so that the infection risk can be minimised. Minimising piercing infection risk - general guidance & information:

• Current medical advice strongly recommends that a new piercing is handled as little as possible, so that exposure to germs is reduced. For the same reason, do not pick at or play with a new piercing.

• Always wash & dry your hands before and after handling a new piercing site.

• Do not use fingernails to move jewellery or manipulate the piercing.

• After removal of any dressing applied by your piercer, clean the piercing twice a day, if possible. It is advisable to shower rather than bathe whilst the piercing site ishealing so that unnecessary water exposure is prevented. Always patthe area dry using a clean dry cotton bud or clean tissue.

• Try to wear loose, cotton clothing to minimise rubbing and irritation toa new piercing site.

• Most piercings swell to some extent and hence jewellery inserted willbe longer than between the piercing holes at first.

• New piercings should be kept as dry and exposed as much as possible.

• Only change the jewellery as directed by your practitioner.

• Only turn/move the jewellery when you are cleaning it.

• Only buy jewellery from a reputable retailer. Your practitioner can advise you on this.

• Only change the jewellery as directed by your practitioner.

• Only turn/move the jewellery when you are cleaning it.

• Only buy jewellery from a reputable retailer. Your practitioner can adviseyou on this.

• A new piercing can be tender, itchy and slightly red and can remain sofor a few weeks. A clear, odourless fluid may sometimes discharge from the piercing and form a crust. This should not be confused with pus, which would indicate infection.

• Please avoid getting any products such as make-up, foundation, fake tan, cleanser or moisturiser around the site of initial piercings as these can collect oil and dirt causing infection.

Basic cleaning for all piercings

Clean your piercing two or three times a day with Metal Morphosis Antibacterial Cleansing Lotion or use a sterile saline solution. If using a sterile saline solution make sure you use a clean or disposable cup or bowl to hold your cleaning solution. After a few days the piercing will start to excrete fluid (lymph), which will dry hard on the jewellery and should be removed using a cotton bud soaked in solution. Clean the visible part of the jewellery at both the entry and exit holes of the piercing. When the jewellery is completely clean gently ease the jewellery through the piercing (once only) to clean the part that normally remains inside the piercing. Make sure you also clean around the piercing area as well. Dry the entire area with afresh cotton bud. Repeat this process two to three times a day. Make sure you clean the area after your daily bath/shower, as bath water and regular soap is not clean. CAUTION: Ointments do not clean or disinfect piercings. Do not use soap to clean your piercing. To ensure your piercing heals as quickly as possible discontinue using antiseptic ointment e.g.: Savlon, Germolene, TCP, Dettol and surgical spirit. All of these products will slow the healing process.

For all types of ear piercing

Clean the piercing twice a day. Make sure the piercing and jewellery is not touched and played with as this will cause problems. Try not to sleep on the new piercing and make sure you keep headphones and phones from knocking the piercing during the healing.

For nipple and navel piercings:

When you leave the studio you will have a sterile adhesive dressing coveringthe piercing. Leave this on until the following morning giving the piercing time to settle. Apply the dressing only during the night; leave it off during the day so it can breathe. Please wear a cotton T-shirt at night to protect it. We would advise you to shower not bathe, as this is more hygienic. Cover with a dressing each evening and repeat this for 4 nights. The navel area tends to collect dirt and can be prone to infections even without a piercing. A small amount of redness and crusting is normal, as is a discharge of a small amount of clear fluid. Clean both piercing holes twice a day with a cotton bud as in the general advice section. Use a separate cotton bud for each hole. Avoid tight clothing around the waist and do not use belts until site is healed. Cover the site with a clean, dry breathable dressing if doing stretching exercises/ contact sports. NB: It is recommended that navel jewellery is only changed on the advice of, and by, your piercer. This is usually done between the first six to twelve months after a navel piercing. Minimum healing time: four months to one year.

Eyebrows and ear piercings.

Clean twice a day and keep all other touching or movement to a minimum during healing. Be careful not to get any cleaning fluid into your eyes when cleaning.

Septums and Nostrils

Clean both piercings twice a day, nostrils clean inside and out, also be careful when washing or dressing not to catch the jewellery as this will harm the piercing.

For Oral piercings

Dilute alcohol free mouthwash with water 1:4 after eating, drinking or smoking. Brush teeth gently while the piercing is healing. Ice will help to reduce the swelling. Taking arnica and Ibruprofen can also help to reduce bruising and swelling. Kissing or any other oral contact should be avoided for at least 6 weeks. Chewing gum should not be used until the site is healed or you feel confident with the piercing. Care is needed when using cutlery, so as not to damage the piercing. Spicy food/ alcohol may need to be avoided for the first week as they may cause problems. Oral sex should be avoided until after the first 2 weeks. The bar size should be changed after 2-4. The tongue may swell to the length of the inserted bar, particularly in the first two weeks. Iced water may help to reduce the amount of swelling that occurs. If the bar becomes too tight please see your piercer. If out of hours, contact NHS Direct or a Walk-in Centre. If you have problems with swallowing or any neck pain, however, you must contact a medical practitioner. Minimum healing time: two months.

Lip, Cheek, Labret, Madonna 

Clean the outside of the site twice daily with a cotton bud as in the general advice section. Minimum healing time: three months.

For all surface piercing

Follow the normal cleaning advice but be extra careful not to knock, touch or move the jewellery/piercing as little as possible. Your piercer will advise you of additional aftercare instructions specifically related to surface piercings. Follow these to aid healing. For all surface piercing follow the normal cleaning advice but be extra careful not to knock, touch or move the jewellery/piercing as little as possible. Your piercer will advise you of additional aftercare instructions specifically related to surface piercings.

Follow these to aid healing

For all piercings except Oral: Swimming in chlorinated pools or the sea should be avoided for 4 weeks. If excessive redness, swelling, bleeding, changes of colour in tissue or soreness persists DO NOT remove jewellery. Contact the studio where you were pierced if this is not possible seek medical help.If you have any queries, problems or worries please do not hesitate to contact us on the number on the back of this form. Out of hours seek medical attention either through your GP or local walk-in centre. In emergencies you should attend the local A & E Department. Try to avoid removing the jewellery before being assessed.

For Microdermal Aftercare

If your piercer has told you to use micro pore tape to keep the jewellery taped down then do so, if they have not do not. Some positions on the body will heal differently and need to be treated in different ways. Clean the jewellery and surrounding area twice daily with cleaning lotion and a cotton bud and then use a dry cotton bud to dry the area. Clean the area for a 8 week period, if you have any problems or concerns with your implant please contact your piercer. Common Complications Infection if aftercare advice is not followed correctly, infection can occur at the site. Possible indications of an infection are:

• increased redness and/or swelling

• the piercing is painful to touch

• there may be a painful throbbing sensation or a feeling of “heat” at the site

• the discharge becomes yellow or green in colour and smells offensive

Jewellery Migration

This is when the jewellery starts to move outwards through your skin. Eyebrow and navel piercings can be particularly prone to this. Please see your piercer if you notice this occurring, if left unchecked, it can lead to the piercing being pulled/ torn out of the skin. This may then lead to permanent scarring. Possible Complications to Specific Piercing Sites Ear & Nose. Small ‘lumps’ may form around the piercing site, To reduce, try to keep the site of the piercing clean and dry as these lumps are usually the resultof a build up of dirt and oil clogging the piercing site. Avoid getting makeup and product around your piercing and apply a salt water soak daily, 1/4 tsp of sea salt into 1 mug of boiled water (that’s cooled down so it won’t burn you) soak clean cotton wool, gauze or tissue into the solution and soak the piercing site for 5-10 minutes. Dry the skin clear of solution afterwards. These are not dangerous but left untreated they can become more problematic to your piercing. Nose and septum can be very tender for the first few weeks but this should lessen. Eyebrow can be problematic as the skin is quite thin. Migration can also occur forcing the piercing out. Please see your piercer if this occurs.

Tongue Piercing may cause permanent damage to teeth due to the constant friction of the jewellery against teeth enamel. This can be reduced by using the correct sized jewellery in the first and making sure you change the jewellery to a smaller size when your piercer advises you to.If you have any problems/queries please contact your piercer initially. He/she will refer you onto your GP if there are signs of adverse reaction/ infection. However, in an emergency, you must seek urgent medical help by going to your nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) Department.