Body Piercing/Piercing Aftercare
There are as many and varied approaches to piercing aftercare as there are reasons why people get pierced so while this article will present a few different views it is hardly comprehensive.
General/Body Piercing Aftercare
'LITHA (Leave it the hell alone)' – This method is exactly what it sounds like. After you get the piercing you leave it alone. Some people hold very strongly to the LITHA method and don’t do any type of cleaning during healing, though many people using this method will clean the piercing with them in the shower.
'SSS (Sea Salt Soaks)' – With this method you soak your piercing in a warm salt mixture. The appropriate ratio for the mixture is ¼ a teaspoon of non-iodized salt in 8oz or 1 cup of water. For this method you would do one to two soaks a day for five to ten minutes. During the soak the piercing needs to be completely submerged in the sea salt mixture. After the soak simply rinse your piercing with warm water and pat dry. This method works with your body’s natural salinity to push out any bacteria inside your piercing. For this reason it’s very important to mix the solution in the right proportions. This is also the recommended aftercare method presented by APP. The APP also recommends the use of anti-microbial soap. Satin and Provon are good, gentle soaps to use in conjunction with sea salt soaks.
'Chamomile Presses' – This is a method similar to sea salt soaks, but better suited for some piercings. The navel for example would be difficult to soak. With this method you steep a plain chamomile tea bag in a mixture of ¼ teaspoon of non-iodized salt and 8oz of water. After about five minutes you remove the tea bag and place it over your piercing, applying only enough pressure to hold it in place. For things such a navel it might be easier to simply lie down and avoid unneeded pressure being put on your piercing. For this method you leave the tea bag resting on the piercing for five to ten minutes before rinsing with warm water and patting dry with a clean paper towel.
Oral Piercing Aftercare
All of the methods above can and should be used to heal oral piercings however there are other things that need to be done for oral piercings specifically.
'Rinsing' – During the course of healing it’s important to rinse your mouth after eating, drinking or smoking. Rinsing out with mouthwash is unnecessary and will likely lead to over cleaning unless you use alcohol free mouthwash. Instead warm water or a salt mixture should be used. Mouthwash can be used in the morning and at night if desired.
It’s important while healing an oral piercing to avoid using a mouth wash with alcohol in it. There are a few options. Crest Pro Health, Tech 200, Biotene, and Listerine Zero are all mouthwashes that don’t contain alcohol.
Cartilage Piercing Aftercare
While there is little that needs to be done specifically for cartilage piercings I thought a note on patience was prudent. These piercings are notoriously fussy and healing is long. Stress bumps are very common with cartilage piercings. The best means to deal with these bumps is to find the cause and try and avoid it. Other than that, in time they will go away as the piercing heals. So, the most important thing to remember is BE PATIENT.Don't twist the piercing this only sets back the healing process about a few weeks. Doing 1-2 sea salt soaks a day is also very helpful for the after care and will help to speed up the healing process. You can do this by using one cup of water and 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Do not use more salt then the recommended amount otherwise it could dry out your piercing. Soak your ear in this solution for 5-10 minutes once or twice a day and you should be safe.
Never touch a healing piercing with dirty hands.
Don’t play with a healing piercing.
Do as much research on aftercare as you can BEFORE you get pierced.