Your piercing was done using aseptic technique and the highest quality jewelry available so you’re off to a good start. I’ve done my part to make the beginning of your piercing experience as gentle and easy as possible, now it’s up to you to make the healing process just as comfortable and as quick as possible.
The most important thing to consider is that there is nothing you can do or put on a piercing to make it heal — it’s up to your body to heal the piercing. What you CAN do is to keep the piercing clean and trauma-free to allow your body the best opportunity possible for healing.
How a piercing heals:
Your body will heal your piercing by forming a tube of skin called a fistula from the outside-in, so it’s not uncommon for your piercing to look and feel healed well before it truly is. Even once completely healed, this fistula will thicken slightly over time, so keep in mind that even once your initial minimum healing time is over your piercing will may be a bit “fragile” for several months still so be extra gentle with it especially when changing jewelry not to damage the new tissue.
The minimum healing time for piercings can vary quite a bit. If the piercing is bumped, pulled on, irritated (chemically or physically), or just not taken care of your healing time may be longer. If your piercing still has any redness, swelling, secretion/lymph (‘crust’ buildup on your jewelry), or tenderness it is not through this initial healing phase yet and the jewelry should be left in place at all times and aftercare followed strictly.
What to expect:
For the first few days, your piercing may be a bit tender, sore, or even swollen. This is all fairly normal. Drinking lots of water can help reduce swelling as can over-the-counter anti-inflammatories. After the first few days your body will excrete lymph as it begins to form the fistula inside your piercing. This lymph ‘crust’ will likely collect on the jewelry or around the piercing. Do not pick at it, soak it, or try to otherwise remove it with q-tips, cotton balls, or paper towel.
Piercings do tend to swell slightly — some more than others — during healing. You have been fitted with jewelry that is long enough to allow for any initial swelling. Jewelry that is too long can irritate the piercing so as soon as the initial swelling and tenderness have subsided it is important to return to get a shorter piece of jewelry if necessary.
What NOT to do:
The main thing to consider when healing a piercing is to keep from irritating it. Irritants to a piercing can be either physical or chemical. They can prolong your healing time, making the healing unnecessarily uncomfortable or lead to scarring around the piercing site. Physical irritants could include the jewelry getting bumped or moved, pressure against the piercing by clothing or sleeping on it, or an accidental bump. Chemical irritants most often come in the form of harsh cleaning products (Dial soap, alcohol, peroxide) but can also include things like scented soaps and body washes, lotions, sunblock, or any other product you are applying near your healing piercing.
To avoid all these potential irritants, here are a few tips:
- Don’t touch, move, turn, or twist your jewelry at all during the initial healing time
- Don’t wear tight-fitting clothing over the jewelry, and try to avoid anything that will rub
- Be careful of seatbelts, hairbrushes, or anything else that could potentially snag a new piercing
- Try not to sleep directly on a new piercing.
- Avoid getting any products such as soaps, lotions, etc. on your new piercing
- Avoid soaking your piercing for long periods in baths or showers. Getting the piercing wet is fine and wash the area around the piercing, but try to keep it as clean and dry as possible. A quick rinse in the shower won’t hurt anything, but don’t soak the area for prolonged periods.
What to do:
Keep the piercing as clean and dry as possible. Think of a piercing like clean laundry — if your laundry is clean and stays clean in your closet, you don’t have to take it out multiple times a day and repeatedly wash it. Neither do you need to wash your piercing (or “clean” it with some other harsh product) multiple times a day if you’re not getting it dirty. So avoid touching it at all during the healing. If you do have to touch the piercing, accidentally get something on it, etc. wash the area around the piercing with a mild soap free of fragrances, dyes, and moisturizers. Work a circle around the piercing, and try to avoid getting soap directly on the jewelry or piercing, then rinse well.
We also sell an all natural Aftercare, Wound Wash Spray to aid in this process.
Do the same once a day in the shower to keep the area around the piercing clean. More cleaning isn’t better — rather than washing it multiple times a day to try to speed up healing, keep it clean in the first place to avoid the slight trauma altogether.
Your mouth does an excellent job of maintaining itself and healing wounds on its own. Harsh mouthwashes can actually cause more problems than they help by disturbing the balance in your mouth. If you’ve ever seen a healing tongue piercing accompanied by a white tongue and bad breath that’s exactly what is happening — over-cleaning with harsh chemicals kills all the ‘good’ bacteria and allows the ‘bad’ to thrive. So to avoid that:
Start your healing with a brand new clean toothbrush. Brush your teeth, but be gentle around your new piercing. If you normally use mouthwash, make sure it is alcohol free or just don’t use it until your piercing is healed. Carry a bottle of clean water, and any time you eat or drink anything other than plain water rinse your mouth out to remove any debris from the jewelry. After the initial healing, your jewelry may acquire plaque. Brushing your jewelry gently with your toothbrush (only once the piercing is healed and comfortable) will keep plaque from forming on your jewelry.
Downsizing to a shorter piece of jewelry is especially important for oral piercings because the excess length on the jewelry can damage teeth and gums. It is not uncommon for many oral piercings to need to be downsized twice as the piercing heals in order to keep a proper fit — once as soon as the initial swelling has gone down and a second time after the piercing has had time to heal fully. With labret/lip piercings the disk sinking into the lip tissue slightly is not uncommon and can actually help keep the jewelry away from your teeth and gums, but the jewelry should never be so tight that the tissue begins to grow over the disk.
If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to contact us.