Piercings, like many other forms of body modification, can be symbolic, an aesthetic choice, or you can get them ‘just cos you felt like it’. There is no one right reason to choose to get a particular piercing, however there is a right way to go about taking care of a new piercing while it heals.
It can be very easy to forget that a new piercing is a wound and like all wounds, it must be properly tended to. If you don’t take proper care of a new piercing, it is likely to reject and you may need to take it out, or – if it gets badly inflamed – get it surgically removed in worse case scenarios.
Clean it Regularly
Brand new piercings require regular care. Owners of new piercings are given a small bottle of saline solution by their body piercer – which is a simple part sea salt part water solution – that should be used to gently clean the piercing twice a day. You should use a cotton bud or cotton wool, but take care not to leave any cotton residue behind when cleaning the piercings.
The saline solution will sting a little, but that simply means it is doing its job. It is as easy as brushing your teeth, and you make sure to do that every day! Make sure to sterilise any new jewellery before switching it out with the existing body jewellery. You can sterilise the jewellery in saline solution, or (if you don’t mind the smell) TCP.
Wear Loose Clothing
if you can help it, try to wear loose clothing around the site of piercing so that you don’t accidentally bump or scrape against the piercing. As the site will be swollen and tender already, any bumps or knocks are likely to cause bruising. If you can’t wear loose clothing, get a large plaster that covers the piercing and take it off at the end of the day to give the piercing time to breathe.
Give It Time
Always listen to the professionals. If you fell and broke your ankle, you wouldn’t take it out of the cast or put weight on it before the doctor gave the all clear, so why would you replace a healing piercing with a new piece of jewellery ahead of time? If your body piercer has given you a time frame, leave the original in for at least that long!
When you disturb a piercing before its it is properly healed, you could end up slowing down the entire healing process, or worse; causing inflammation. It is better to leave it alone in order to give it time to heal properly before fiddling around with a shiny new piece of body jewellery.
Don’t Go Overboard!
Try to let one set of piercings heal properly before you decide to get any more, particularly if you are looking at getting them near the first piercing. It may take a little while for your body to accept its new modification, so some pus or scabbing is to be expected. Be vigilant, keep cleaning your piercing daily and wait at least a few months before booking your next piercing appointment.
Unfortunately for some people, their skin can simply reject all piercings so having this first one as a ‘trial period’ is a great way of seeing whether or not piercings are right for your body. If you storm ahead getting piercings here there and everywhere, there is a higher chance of infection later on down the line. You end up wasting money when all you’ve got to show for it, in the end, is a bit of scar tissue. It is simply not worth it.
Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Sussex-based body jewellery specialist Body Matters Gold.