Piercing Aftercare

Healing a new body piercing can be a delicate process. Each body piercing can incur unique complications. This page contains general guidelines for aftercare. It does not contain specific procedures for every piercing. It has been provided for reference only. Please ask your piercer for customized care instructions for your piercing and remember that nothing can replace the advise of a qualified physician.

Wash (non-oral)

Wash one to two times daily with a mild (containing no perfumes or dyes) soap like Naked: Natural Alternative Soap or antimicrobial liquid soap such as Provon® Antimicobial Lotion Soap. Apply a dime size amount of soap onto clean hands. Wash exposed jewelry and surface of skin; removing all crusty residue, follow with a thorough clean water rinse.
Remember: Do not move or rotate jewelry that has soap or ‘crusties’on it. This can irritate or damage tissue inside your piercing. Wait until all 'crusties' and soap have been rinsed away.


Non-iodized sea salt soaks are the primary method of care for your new piercing. They are just as, if not more important than washing. Sea salt soaks act to prevent infection, as well as reduce irritation.
To prepare: Mix 1/8-1/4 teaspoon sea salt with 6-8 ounces warm water in a disposable cup. When possible submerge piercing into solution 3 times daily for 5 minutes at a time. If submerging is not possible use a small gauze pad saturated in the sea salt solution as a compress (a folded paper towel can also be used provided it does not disintegrate or shed lint). Follow up by rinsing with clean water and wipe away any buildup or debris. Simply Saline™ Wound Wash spray can also be used to subsidize or, in some cases, replace soaks. Ask your piercer for the best procedure for your particular piercing.


Your new oral piercing can swell for a minimum of 3-5 days. You can treat swelling with the use of cold compresses, cold clean water, and/or one 200mg ibuprofen every 4-6 hours.
To keep your new oral piercing clean rinse with cold clean water anytime you eat, drink or smoke. Also periodically rinse with a mild non-alcoholic oral antiseptic such as Biotene® or Crest® Pro-Health. Oral antiseptics should not be used more than 5 times daily. Carefully and slowly brush your teeth at least once a day and remember to rinse thoroughly with clean water after.

Avoid (oral)

During healing period:

  • Sharing anything orally
  • Spicy foods
  • Large amounts of caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Foreign oral and bodily fluids
  • Playing with the piercing

Avoid (non-oral)

During the healing period:

Physical trauma

  • catching
  • snagging
  • changing prematurely
  • pulling
  • playing with jewelry

Chemical trauma

  • hydrogen peroxide
  • rubbing alcohol
  • antibiotic ointments
  • soaps
  • body washes
  • moisturizers
  • creams
  • pools
  • hot tubs
  • hair care products

What to expect

During the healing period:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Discoloration
  • Dry skin
  • Itchiness
  • Sensitivity
  • Crusties (dried exudate)

The duration of these symptoms can very from a few days to a few weeks. Consult your piercer if symptoms persist or seem excessive.
Hives, in addition to redness and swelling, may indicate an allergic reaction to your piercing jewelry. Your piercer can try to replace it an alternate jewelry option.

When to Worry

See your doctor if you experience:

  • Thick yellow or green discharge
  • Red streaks from the piercing
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing or wheezing
  • A feeling that your mouth or throat is swelling shut


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