The most important thing to remember about piercing aftercare...NEVER TOUCH THE PIERCING DURING HEALING!! NEVER TURN OR MOVE THE JEWERLY DURING HEALING.
I think it is important for you to understand why aftercare is recommended for piercing. If you understand why aftercare is recommended, you will understand why it is not a good idea to use improper aftercare products or techniques.
Unlike a skinned knee or elbow, a piercing is a "tube". It is what is referred to as a deep puncture wound. When you "skin" your knee or elbow (a flat wound on the skin), body fluid leaks out from the injury. Air then hits the body fluid as it leaks out, and the body fluid dries on the surface of the wound forming a scab.
Because a piercing is a "tube" (deep puncture wound)...you have open tissues inside the "tube". However, no air gets to the inside of the wound, therefore the body fluid that leaks out does not dry inside the wound. No scab forms INSIDE the piercing hole. Rather, the body fluid that leaks out of the tissues rolls outside of the piercing hole. Once the body fluid gets outside of the piercing hole, the air then hits it and the body fluid dries on the outside of the piercing hole, causing a "scab" or a crusting on the outside of the piercing and around the jewelry and it also dries or sticks to the jewelry.
Once you have a crusting or scabbing around the jewelry post on the outside of the piercing...no air circulation can get to the wound. Air circulation is important for the tissues to heal. Therefore, the ONLY reason for doing any aftercare on the piercing site, is to remove that crusting or scabbing, allowing air to get to the wound.
(If you have a "skinned" knee or elbow, you should never remove the scab! The scab protects the flat wound and keeps bacteria out of the wound while it is healing. The scab falls off from the outside edge moving towards the center as the wound heals. (There is air circulation around the outside edge of the scab.) Once the scab completely falls off, that wound is usually completely healed and you have a scar.)
A piercing is constantly draining body fluid that rolls outside the wound until it is healed. This process is constantly flushing out the wound.
You should NEVER use any foreign liquids to "clean" a piercing. Never use things such as alcohol, peroxide, items containing benzylconium chloride, soaps, etc...(the first three I mentioned cause tissue breakdown).
The only thing that should be used to remove the crusting or scabbing around the jewelry post is 0.9% saline solution. There are many on the market. 0.9% saline spray is provided to you when I perform your piercings. I prefer using a spray. Cotton swabs and cotton balls can irritate the wound. When you use the saline spray, I recommend on quick spritz to make the area wet. That loosens the crusting and it will fall off as it dries.
I NEVER recommend "soaking" a piercing site!! Think about it like this:
If you take a glass of salt water and set it on your table. Then take a piece of raw steak and cut a piece of the steak off....then drop it in to the glass of salt water; wait for a few moments. You will see the saltwater begin to turn pink as the blood from the steak mixes with the saltwater. You will also notice, after a short time, the steak tissues begin to kind of open up and the steak will also begin to turn a greyish color...(this is because the blood is being pulled out of the steak by the saltwater). When you "soak" a piercing, the saline or salt water begins to infiltrate the wound, pulling away the natural body fluid containing healing cells. The wound is disrupted from healing when you soak it.
Remember, the only reason for aftercare on a piercing is to remove the crusting or scabbing around the jewelry. That crusting or scabbing is ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE WOUND!!! There is never a reason to put any foreign liquid or salt solution inside the piercing hole!!! That simply causes the piercing to take much longer to heal, and if you use a cytotoxin (such as alcohol or peroxide) the wound may never heal or worse, you could wind up with tissue necrosis! Necrotic tissue cannot heal as it is dead tissue! The ONLY thing inside the piercing hole, is a sterile piece of jewelry and healthy healing tissues. The piercing doesn't need anything else inside the hole!!!!
Question: "How many times a day should I spray my piercing with the saline?"
Answer: I recommend spraying (the saline spray I provide), three times a day, just until you run out of the spray. Then no more aftercare! Just leave the piercing alone. A piercing (as with the skinned knee or elbow) heals from the outside moving in towards the center. Once a piercing heals in towards the center, the crusting on the outside slows down and eventually stops...you don't need to do aftercare anylonger. In fact, when you do aftercare incorrectly or for too long, it can slow down the healing process.
Question: "What if I forget to spray my piercing?"
Answer: Just spray it when you remember. It doesn't really matter if you forget. The wound will heal anyway, as long as you don't use any other products on the piercing. I always tell my clients...You are better off doing absolutely nothing (no aftercare) on a piercing, than doing WRONG aftercare on a piercing.
Question: "Should I turn the jewelry?"
Answer: NO!! Do NOT touch your piercing while it is healing. Hands are the number one carrier of infection causing bacteria! Most infections happen in piercings because people won't leave their hands OFF their piercings while they are healing!!!! Additionally, when you turn the jewelry in the piercing, you are disrupting the healing by tearing the tender tissues trying to heal inside the wound.
Question: "What about showering or bathing?"
Answer: Showering is fine. Be sure to rinse the piercing site for a few seconds before getting out of the shower...just to rinse away any soap residue or shampoos or conditioners that could irritate the wound. During healing, it is best to competely avoid any soaking in water! No baths, no hot tubs, no pools, no natural bodies of water such as lakes, oceans or rivers!!!
Bacteria is the cause of infection. There are other things that can cause problems, such as funguses, etc...but bacteria is the main cause of problems. It is impossible to avoid bacteria. Therefore piercings can get infected at any time during healing. It is important that if you get an infected piercing, do NOT try to treat it at home. Always seek medical attention immediately! Infections can be very dangerous and any infection could potentially turn deadly. If you have a problem with your piercing, never try to "guess" what the problem might be. Seek professional advice.
It is a good idea to launder your bedding after receiving a tattoo or piercing. Clean bedding can help reduce the risk of getting an infected wound. Also, wash your hands BEFORE going to bed (and in the case of tattooing, prior to applying aftercare ointments). The reason to wash your hands before bed (especially with piercings) is because we don't know what we do in our sleep. I, myself have woken up and found myself trying to remove jewelry from my piercings!!
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