Piercing Aftercare

Remember, DON’T TOUCH your piercing OR TURN your jewelry while HEALING. It’s not necessary or helpful.  It serves no other purpose but to contaminate the piercing with germs from your hands and is the most frequent cause of infected piercings.

Also, wash hands before going to bed while piercing heals. Touching new piercings while asleep is common.

Fecal matter, staph and Pseudomonas germs are on faucet handles, toilet handles and doorknobs. After you wash your hands, turn off faucets and turn doorknobs in the bathroom with a paper towel so you don’t recontaminate your hands. Infections of piercings are almost always caused by touching.

You have purchased either Anatometal or Industrial Strength jewelry. These are the two best brands of body piercing jewelry.

Be good to your piercing. Please don’t put externally threaded jewelry in. We wouldn’t dare use it, and we hope you won’t either.


For the first ten years that I pierced I suggested that clients use salt water soaks to heal their piercings. For over 20 years now I’ve found that soap and water once daily will heal your piercings just fine. This, for several reasons:

1. Sea salt is often overused by piercing clients, both in frequency of use, and strength. This, of course, injures the piercing.

2. Having to do sea salt soaks can get to be a hassle for clients with busy lives. (most of us)

3. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a method of aftercare that works just as well, or better, than sea salt soaks without being time consuming? There is.

Some of my more fearless and adventurous clients volunteered for my experiments with alternative methods of aftercare many years ago. Here’s what we came up with.

once a day, wash hands first. then,

1. WASH ONCE DAILY WITH SOAP AND WATER! Pat dry with a clean paper towel.
3. PLEASE DON’T TOUCH WITH UNWASHED HANDS (with this method of aftercare there’s really no need to touch your new piercing).

It works great! (proven by thousands of our clients over the years). I know that many fine piercers suggest sea salt soaks. I won’t debate the matter, but i’m just trying to make your life easier regarding healing your piercing. So, I invite you to give this method a try the next time you’re taking care of a new piercing. Oh, and did I mention “NOT TOUCHING YOUR NEW PIERCING WITH UNWASHED HANDS”? (Definition of a new piercing is usually about 60 days). You can touch after that without worries. I know I sound like a broken record regarding this “no touching with unwashed hands while healing” issue, but there’s an invisible world of bacteria living on our hands. Please don’t introduce these bacteria into your new piercing by touching with unwashed hands!

I do have an additional thought on the daily washing with soap and water. Just as sea salt can be very drying to skin, so too can soap and water. So, unless you’re mud wrestling, or working as an auto mechanic or coal miner, after a couple weeks of once daily soap and water, try this – just let the shower run down on your piercing and thoroughly irrigate it once a day. Of course, this last suggestion is for those of you who’ve been being diligent about not touching.”


Bleeding, bruising, discoloration and/or swelling is not uncommon. Any break in the skin, including a new piercing, can bleed or bruise. These are NOT indications of any complication.

Some tenderness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. You may feel stinging, burning, aching or other unpleasant sensations off and on for several days or longer. During healing there may be some itching.

Once healed your piercing may secrete a semi-solid white malodorous substance from the oil glands called sebum. This is not pus, but indicates a healed piercing.

Piercings may have a tendency to have a series of “ups and downs” during healing by seeming healed and then regressing.

Tightness is normal. Do not expect jewelry to swing freely in most body piercings, even after they are thoroughly healed.


LEAVE THE PIERCING ALONE except for when you are cleaning it. It is NOT NECESSARY OR ADVISABLE TO ROTATE THE JEWELRY while healing. Leave the initial jewelry in during the entire minimum initial healing time!

If you like your piercing , leave jewelry in at all times. Even old, well-healed piercings can shrink or close in minutes after having been there for years if jewelry is removed. This varies from person to person, and even if your ear lobe piercings stay open without jewelry, your body piercing may not! Contact your piercer if your jewelry must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure).

Mono filament nylon or another inert non-metallic substance may be able to be inserted to maintain the piercing until jewelry can be reinserted.

Reduce intake of aspirin, alcohol, and caffeine. For above-the-neck piercings, try sleeping with you head elevated above your heart (prop up on some pillows) to limit overnight swelling. Products such as Advil, ibuprofen, Aleve or Tylenol are helpful for any discomfort.

Make sure your bedding is clean and changed frequently while you are healing, ESPECIALLY if pets get into your bed.

Showering is safer than taking a bath, as bath tubs tend to harbor bacteria. Don’t soak in a bath during the healing time; you’ll be soaking in germs.

In the event that the piercing drains a thick pus discharge instead of the normal liquid secretion, you should see a physician for evaluation and possible antibiotic treatment. If you do have an infection, the jewelry SHOULD BE LEFT IN THE PIERCING to allow for drainage of pus, the exception being that the jewelry is sunken into the piercing and is tight.


DON’T use alcohol, peroxide, Betadine or Hibiclens to heal a piercing as they are overly strong and drying, which can hinder healing. The exception being that if an infection develops, you may use hydrogen peroxide three times six hours apart.

Don’t over-clean. Cleaning more often than three times a day is NOT better. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.

Avoid oral contact, rough play, and contact with others body fluids on or near your piercing during healing.

Don’t use bandaids on a healing piercing. The adhesive can irritate the piercing if it gets in it.

Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.

AVOID submerging your piercings in water such as rivers, ponds, oceans, baths and hot tubs unless you feel confident that the water is clean enough for you and an open wound (which is what your piercing is while it is healing.) MOST bodies of water harbor large amounts of bacteria. If there is sea life, motor oil or children in the water IT IS NOT clean enough. CHLORINATED POOLS ARE OK for an unhealed piercing. Exercise during healing is fine, just “listen” to your body. Try to avoid activities that put undue stress on the area. Your own sweat and bodily fluids are not harmful to your piercing, provided you clean daily as directed.



Avoid tight, cinching belts and waistbands and inflexible clothing on the area during healing. Situps do stress a navel piercing and can cause migration.


Shield piercings from hair spray and avoid getting lotion, make up and other foreign substances in piercings. Make sure pillow cases are clean and changed frequently. Clean your telephone receiver with a disinfectant and avoid contact with public telephones.