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Friday, 11 April 2014

Diella's general guide to piercings

Hello there,

Diella here with a general guide to piercings.
Please note that I am not a professional piercer so if your piercer or doctor tells you something different rather listen to them. This is just an account of what I do to care for my piercings and what has worked for me. I feel that I am able to write this because I have 12 piercings and I have been caring for my piercings since I was at least 11 although I can't actually remember when I got my first earrings. My second were at 11 years old.

I would also like to note that I seem to heal really quickly! I first noticed this when I went for a 2 month checkup on my navel piercing and they didn't want to believe me that it was only 2 months old. Then also again when I got my second cartilage piercing I realized that it was healing quicker than they are usually said to heal. So if you want to follow my care strategies then you may need to do certain steps for longer than I did. Having so many piercings means that I can usually use my judgement and tell what I need to do at certain stages. If you have any questions or concerns I strongly suggest that you contact your piercer or health care professional. I can't help you to deal with infections because I have never had an infection in any of my piercings!

Getting your piercing
As I said in my first piercing post, I suggest that you think long and hard about whether you do want the piercing and then do lots of research into it. I always get my piercings for me. I don't care if other people like them or not, although if they do like them it is an added bonus. But first and foremost I get my piercings for ME. The sorts if things that I research before getting a piercing is:
1. Any complications that I might expect.
2. How to look after the piercing, some piercings need special treatment.
3. How sore I can expect it to be.
4. What sort of jewelry I can wear once it is healed, and what it should be pierced with.
5. What the ideal location for that piercing is.
6. What the expected healing time usually is.
7. How likely rejection or infection is.
(You could totally ask other questions, these are just the questions that I usually ask)

Then the piercer. In the beginning I spoke to loads of my friends who had piercings to find out where they went to get their piercings done. I wanted a reputable place that had experienced/trained piercers, that adhered to strict hygiene standards ect. Yes, sometimes going to a reputable place means that you will pay a lot more than at another place, but I would rather pay more than risk an infection or an incorrectly done piercing.

So now I don't need to find a place because I have two good places in my city which I trust. (Wildfire and Body Architects)

When I have done my research and I have decided that I do want the piercing I go and speak to one of my piercers. Often when I google articles, they are written by people who have got the piercing. So it can be good to go and ask the person who is giving the piercing, I ask the same 7 questions as I researched.    

When I go and get pierced I always like to have a friend with me for moral support. Often for hygiene reasons the piercer won't allow your friend into the actual piercing room but they will be there for you afterwards. It can be really horrible if you are in pain and then you have to travel home on your own! I don't like to take painkillers before my piercing. I am not entirely sure why or if it is true but I have heard that it is not good to. I know that in some cases some painkillers can thin your blood and then if you bleed when they pierce you then you can bleed more than usual. A couple of hours after though, if I am not bleeding and I am in considerable pain I do sometimes time an anti-inflammatory.

General piercing afterwards:
  • Sleeping on it IS going to hurt so I would advise against it. It hurts... and probably isn't that good for the piercing anyway. 
  • DON'T touch / fiddle with it. If you do need to touch it, for goodness sake wash your hands. I am not certain but I am pretty sure that most infections come from dirty hands touching.
  • This is kinda gross but it needs to be said. Don't get any foreign bodily fluids on it, so if you get a tongue ring... don't kiss your significant other... or what ever. 
  • Try not to get it hooked on things or bump it on things.
  • I prefer to shower rather than bath because I feel that when bathing you are letting your piercing sit in dirty water.
  • I don't swim for a couple of months while the piercing is new. 


First note. When I was young and first got piercings I was always encouraged to use surgical spirits on my piercings. Now days they seem to say that this is very bad, so now I only use Saline Solution/ Salt water. I use this even for ear piercings.

Second note: I have never had infection so I am not sure what that looks like. But crusties in my experience, can vary. They can be clear, yellowish, slightly green when dry. But they never look like pus, to me. They are usually clearish not cloudy. Obviously when they are new they might have a little blood in them. 

First two weeks... okay this period may be longer or shorter depending on your healing time. Everyone is probably different. The only piercing that this period was much longer for me was for my septum, which for some reason took a really long time to heal.
  1. I get all my things ready in a clean bathroom and then wash my hands so that everything is clean! I have some Saline Solution(SS), a little tub or shot glass, some earbuds, and some fresh clean water.
  2. I put the fresh SS in the shot glass and put that on my piercing for about 5 minutes. For my septum I made a little cup of SS and lent forwards with my nose in it. 
  3. After about 5 minuets when all the crusties/scabs are soft I take an earbud (q-tip) and dip it into the fesh SS. Then I take my clean fingers and flatten the tip slightly.
  4. Then I gently wipe away all the softened crusties/scabs.
  5. Because SS tends to dry out my skin I rinse off my piercing with fresh clean water. 

After about 2 weeks:

At this stage my piercing is not usually crusty at all and there is never blood on mine. Also incidentally at this stage my piercing usually don't hurt unless it is bumped or something. So I usually have a shower and then when anything that might be there is all softened I do steps 3-5 from above. As I said usually there is nothing there but I just wipe the surface of the piercing with the SS anyway because I know it is the right thing to do and I don't want infections.
I usually continue this until the expected healing time is up... or until the piercing doesn't hurt at all even when bumped.  

Everyday cleaning:

You might have noticed that I don't move around my new piercings. I follow the school of thought that if there is any bacteria or scabs the you will just be pushing that into the wound by moving the jewelry. Also if there are any scabs that you have not managed to soften, moving the piercing could tear the skin and increase your chance of infection/ slow healing.

BUT when my piercings are all healed up and good then when ever I am in the shower I put a tiny bit of mild soap  (lathered up) on on my piercings and move them around a bit, then I rinse then/ move them under the water. This is because the dead skin cells build up and can become smelly and just unclean. Yes I do this to ALL my piercings, even my lobe piercings. I know many people don't clean their piercings. 

Aaaand I think that that is all that I have to say on general piercing care. If you think that I have left something out please feel free to leave a comment below or to contact me and I will either do a new post or answer your question in a comment as best as I can.

And again I want to warn you that I am not a professional and that my way of doing things may be though incorrect by some people, this is just the way that I do it and it has worked for me for over 12 years.

Keep drinking tea!

To be updated/ future piercing posts:

Diella on Piercings
Morag on Piercings 
General piercing guide (You are here)
Lobe and Cartilage piercings
Navel Piercing
Septum Piercing 

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