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Post Piercing Maintenance to Avoid Infection

Jodi Benson
by Jodi Benson

Tattoos and Piercings have gone from being a fad or trend to being a way of life over the past decade or so. With this has also come an increase in piercing related infections from improper after care. These types of infections can easily lead to more severe types of infections or injuries. That is why it is critical to follow through with all after care procedures and cleaning maintenance.

What to Use

image1Some mall style piercing locations such as Claire’s provide an aftercare product to their piercing customers to take home with them as part of the piercing service. If the retailer or piercing professional that does your piercing does not provide this, they should at least give you written instructions on how to clean and maintain your new piercing. Usually these instructions will instruct you to use a salt soap wash applied with a cotton swab or cotton ball, several times per day.

You can make your own salt soap solution at home, using sea salt (avoid salt with iodine as that will cause it to sting), and a mild glycerin soap or antibacterial hand soap. Glycerin is preferred as it is less irritating to the skin than antibacterial soaps can be. To make your own soap, simply mix about 1/8th of a teaspoon of sea salt with your soapy water until the salt is dissolved. You can then saturate a cotton swab and clean the newly pierced area. Remember to clean all open surfaces and then rinse any residue after you’ve thoroughly cleaned the area to avoid soap irritation from developing.

Never use a harsh antibiotic ointment or cleanser on fresh piercings. Besides the fact that it will burn and hurt badly, it can also be an irritant to the freshly pierced skin, or cause the plastic or metal jewelry to tarnish or deteriorate into the open wound, which would lead to infection.

When to Use

image2Piercings should be cleaned at least three times per day until they are fully healed. This helps keep any dust, dirt, sweat, or other particles from gathering in the open wound leading to infection; after each cleaning you should twist your piercing (depending on the type of piercing) to keep the skin from adhering to the new jewelry.

What are the signs of infection?

It is important to be aware of the several different signs of infection that can present themselves. Some of these signs are:

  • Fever
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Heat at the Sight of Puncture
  • Yellowish Discharge or Discoloration
  • Nausea

image3If redness or signs of infection should occur, make sure to seek medical assistance. Infection is nothing to be taken lightly, as it can lead to much more severe illnesses.

Piercings are one of those things that help us represent who we are to the world; however because of the invasive nature to the body that piercings create it is vital to your health to maintain and properly cleanse all piercings regularly in order to avoid serious infection and health issues.