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How to Keep Your Fresh Piercings Happy and Healthy!

A few tips and tricks to ensure your new piercing will heal smoothly and quickly

You've taken the time to carefully research your piercer and studio to ensure you have a safe and healthy piercing but lets take a moment to go over how to care for your new piercing. Like all industries, we are continuously learning and growing our knowledge of the best piercing aftercare practices and products. Proper piercing aftercare, as well as a skilled piercer and quality jewelry goes a long way in having a successful and healthy piercing.

There are two main principles to any happy piercing; keep it clean and leave it alone!

Tip #1 - Don't clean with cotton swabs

Keeping your piercing clean helps to prevent infection, irritation and keeps your jewelry sparkly and gorgeous. But what is the best way to clean your piercing?

First, lets talk about what not to do. Cotton swabs like Q-tips are generally a no no when it comes to piercing aftercare. Regularly rubbing your piercing with a cotton swab will irritate the surrounding tissue and will leave little fibers behind on your jewelry. Cotton swabs are linked to the development of piercing bumps and are not generally required.

When are cotton swabs ok? It is perfectly normal for your piercing to produce 'crusties' during the healing process. If you have a particularly stubborn crusty built up on your jewelry that your aftercare spray will not remove, you can wet a cotton swab and gently sweep it away.

Tip #2 - Clean with Saline

What is the best product to use to clean your piercing? Normal Saline (0.9% sodium chloride) You don't need anything fancy to clean your piercing. Normal saline is the best product to use on healing piercings. We love a pressurized spray can like the Neilmed piercing aftercare bottles. They give enough pressure to remove crusties and debris off your jewelry but doesn't hurt your piercings.

With a fresh piercing you should be cleaning your piercing 2-3 times per day. It is also super important to take a moment and dry your piercing after cleaning it. A hair dryer on the cool setting is the best way to get rid of the residual moisture but you can also fan dry your piercings.

"We use saline solution for piercing aftercare for a number of reasons. Its two ingredients—salt and water—won’t irritate your skin like other chemicals might. It’s also an effective disinfectant. Without going too deep into the science of it, the salt essentially sucks water from bacteria, killing it off.." – Neilmed Piercing Aftercare

Tip #3 - Leave Your Piercing Alone

This can not be stated enough. The less we touch, bug and move our piercings, the faster they will heal. Back in the day, people were advised to spin their piercings while healing, to prevent them from "being stuck" this common myth has been dispelled. We have learnt that the more we disturb our piercings, the longer they take to heal. To properly heal a piercing fistula (channel) the cells go through many stages of healing which include stages of inflammation and contraction. The less we disturb these healing cells, the faster they will heal and the happier your piercing will be.

Tip #4 - Do Not Sleep on Your Fresh Piercing!

One of the fastest ways to make your piercing angry, especially cartilage piercings is to sleep on them. Fresh cartilage piercings (and almost all piercings) are started with a longer post to accommodate for swelling. When direct and prolonged pressure is applied, this can cause the jewelry to migrate in the tissue. Once a piercing has migrated (shifted position) there is not much that can be done. So prevention is key!

Piercing pillows or travel pillows are the best way to prevent direct pressure on fresh ear piercings and will make a world of difference in healing.

Tip #5 - Downsize your post

As we just mentioned, piercings are started with longer jewelry to accommodate for initial swelling. Your piercer will have recommended when is an appropriate time to downsize your post. Typically cartilage piercings are downsized 4-6 weeks after the piercing. Why? Cartilage piercings may fluctuate in their swelling during the first 4-6 weeks. Typically after this time frame the swelling has settled and it is safe to downsize.

Not downsizing can increase your risk of migration and the development of irritation bumps.

Proper Aftercare will Help You Heal Your Piercing Faster!

Following these few tips will make a huge difference for your healing piercing. Check out our Piercing Aftercare Sheet for more information and when in doubt, stop by the studio to chat with our professionally trained and knowledgeable piercers for assistance.

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