Piercing Tips You May Not Know

578tHere are some quick and handy piercing and aftercare tips you may not know. All of them will help you maintain a healthy and clean piercing.

Keep in mind: even the little things can make a difference between a successful piercing and a disaster!

Be Mentally Prepared!

In order to ensure the best and most comfortable experience at the piercing studio, you need to know yourself. What does it mean? You need to know what kind of company and circumstances will make you the most relaxed. For example, some people feel better and braver when they go with a trusted friend or a family member. Others feel more relaxed when they are alone. These are all individual choices and piercing studios are often happy to allow other people to be there with you. However, you need to know yourself enough to understand what kind of company you really need. Do not feel pressured to go with friends or to go alone if this isn’t what truly makes you relaxed.

The same goes for other arrangements, such as the time of the day, being chatty or being quiet, etc. If you know that some type of environment will be helpful to you, make sure to talk to your chosen piercer. Keep in mind that they might not be able to accommodate all of your wishes and requests: after all, their first and most important responsibility is your safety and proper piercing procedure. Other than that, however, piercers are typically happy to accommodate your needs and requests, so make sure to talk to them and arrange things before hand. In order for this to work, however, you need to know yourself well enough: you need to know what makes you relaxed.

Never Twist the Jewelry!

One of the most persisting misconceptions about new piercings is that the jewelry needs to be turned and twisted in order to prevent tissue to heal on the jewelry and trap it. While this advice may seem logical, it is actually dangerous to do any twisting, turning or any manipulation of your new piercing or jewelry. In fact, the best thing you can do is to simply leave your new piercing alone. The jewelry won’t get jammed inside the new piercing hole, so there is no need to twist it or turn it. However, it is vital to keep your new piercing clean and to apply a saline solution a few times a day. That will keep your new piercing clean and healthy.

But what about the scabbing, you ask? Some new piercings will produce small scabbing but most of it is just a small accumulation of fluid that a new piercing produces. The best policy is to clean your piercing regularly so the scabbing doesn’t form. If it does form, you can remove it carefully by using a cotton swab with a saline solution on the tip. Resist the urge to move and rotate the jewelry in order to break the scabbing! Always try to soften it using a saline solution and clean it that way. If scabbing persists, you should contact your piercer.

Do Not Overclean!

You may think that the best way to go with your new piercing is to clean it often. After all, you do want to keep your new piercing and jewelry clean. You may also think that cleaning often is the best way to prevent scabbing and other problems.

However, too much of a good thing is bad. While it’s important to clean your new piecing properly and to apply appropriate aftercare, a good approach is to know how to do it. Cleaning your piercing 20 times per day, for example, is not the best way to go. Nor is cleaning your piercing with strong, harsh solutions. Both of these approaches will lead to irritation and other problems, so they are not recommended in the long run. Remember: you should never overclean your piercing! Stick to the standard aftercare advice and do not clean your piercing more than a few times per day. Also, make sure to use only gentle solutions (saline solutions are the best).

Be Patient!

There is an important thing to understand about piercings and other body modifications: they are a great way to change your looks and to make a meaningful mark on your body. It is therefore understandable that you want to see the change immediately. However, there is one truth about most body modifications: it takes a bit of time to get to the look you wish to achieve.

What does it mean? In the case of piercings, it means that it takes some time until the piercing is healed. Only healed piercings are finished peircings you can enjoy properly: they look just how you want them to look and you can change jewelry freely. In the case of tattoos, it often takes some time and effort until they are done completely. In the case of other modifications, such as scarification or ball stretching, it takes time to achieve the desired effect.

In other words, body modifications take time before they look exactly how you want them to look. Which means you have to be patient with them. Do not rush things out and do not expect perfect results overnight. In fact, they will look great only if you take a proper care of them during the healing period. This is why you need to just be patient, perform care instructions carefully and wait until your piercing or body modification is ready.

Be Ready for Small Changes

When you get a new piercing, you need to be ready to accept small changes during the healing time. These changes include small discomfort or paying attention to things you usually don’t notice. For example, you may find it difficult to sleep in certain positions so you will need to find a way to keep your new piercing safe during night. Or you may need to wear loose clothing items in order not to put too much pressure on your new piercing. Those with ear piercings will need to make sure to keep their hair out of the way. More than anything, you need to be ready to dedicate some time every day to clean your new piercing properly.

Those are all small changes but they can be frustrating and tedious. It is not unusual for people to do it properly in the first week after getting a piercing but once the first swelling and discomfort is gone, they become lazy. Don’t be that person. Piercings take longer time to heal: weeks, sometimes even months. You need to be responsible and make the appropriate changes to your daily routine in order to accommodate your new piercing. This is the only way for your piercing to heal properly.

Piercing Blowout

Piercing BlowoutOne of the worst things that can happen to you when you try to stretch your piercing is blowout.

This is a relatively rare thing, but you need to know that it can happen.

That’s why it’s so important to go slowly when it comes to stretching and be very responsible in this aspect.

What is a Blowout?

A blowout can happen when a piercing is stretched too fast. It usually happens when your piercing is not ready but you force it to stretch anyway. Typically, it occurs when you force a taper or a jewelry piece through your piercing to stretch it to a larger gauge.

What happens is that a piercing that’s not ready gets hurt. The skin from the piercing gets forcibly pushed through the piercing and it exits on the back o the piercing hole. As a result, you get a flap of skin or tissue hanging from the back of the piercing. That is what is considered a blowout.

This happens when a skin tunnel (called fistula) is forced on the back of the piercing through the pressure applied. This is what creates a lip around the edge of your piercing. This blowout may be very small initially, but it may grow significantly, especially if you continue to stretch your piercing even further.

A blowout is a huge aesthetic problem, but it gets even worse than that. Once you get a blowout you won’t be able to stretch this piercing further and it might affect the piercing completely so you won’t be able to wear any jewelry anymore.

A blowout can also cause further medical issues, such as tingling and discomfort. In some cases it can even lead to an infection. It’s clear a blowout is a nasty problem you don’t want to have.

Luckily, there is a way to remedy this problem. However, it’s important not to freak out and to be patient.

How to Treat a Blowout

One of the first things you can do is to downsize your piercing. The easiest way to achieve this is by inserting smaller jewelry (jewelry of the smaller gauge). This can help the blowout tissue to get reabsorb into the body so the problem is remedied. It is vital to replace the jewelry straight away or else the stretched piercing will heal in this blown-out shape. Once it’s happen it will be very difficult to remedy the problem.

In addition to this, it’s vital to make the tissue heal the best you can in order to remedy the problem. Wash your hands carefully and make sure to use only sterilized jewelry for your blown-out piercing. Use gentle saline solution to soak your piercing with a blowout in order to make it heal. This is similar to usual piecing aftercare, but it’s worth to keep the saline solution for longer. Make sure to use a cup with a saline solution that is tall enough to cover all of your piercing (in the case of stretched earlobes, make sure that the cup covers your whole ear). This is a good way to make your tissue heal and remove the bad effects of a blowout. Just make sure to use a new plastic cup every time you apply the saline solution.

In addition to this, you should also use plenty of oils to massage into your ear. The best oils to use are vitamin E oil, jojoba oil, emu oil, caster oil, tea tree oil, olive oil and coconut oil. Use the oil of your choice about 2-3 times per day. Rub it gently on the blowout and massage it. It’s best to use it when the blowout is new and fresh, so it’s important to start doing that straight away.

While you’re doing this cleaning and rubbing the oil, make sure to observe your piercing to see how it’s doing. Notice the shape and size of the blowout and see if it’s getting better. It should show the signs of healing after several days. If it stays red and swollen or if it hurts, you should seek medical help.

Whatever you do, do not attempt to stretch your piercing again until your blowout is gone and your piercing is fully healed. It’s important to be patient. It will take about one month before you can attempt to stretch your piercing again.

Common Questions about Surface Piercings

2005pSurface piercings are very popular and varied.

The most common surface piercing type is eyebrow piercing.

But there are many other surface piercing choices, such as corset piercings, nape piercings, and more.

Here are some common questions you might have before you get a surface piercing:

What’s the main difference between surface and regular piercings?

The main difference is that surface piercings are made on a flat surface of the skin, so both the entry and exit hole are located on this same flat surface. Regular piercings, on the other hand, are made on a fold of a skin: they enter the skin on one side and exit on the other. This makes regular piercings more stable and long-lasting. Surface piercings, on the other hand, are temporary. This is a very important think you should keep in mind.

How long will a surface piercing last?

It is never possible to tell for sure. Some surface piercings are made to be very temporary: some are removed after only a few hours, for example. This is often the case with decorative piercings such as corset piercings. These are often used for photographs and art, so they are removed as soon as the photographs and videos are made.

Other surface piercings are more long-lasting. Eyebrow piercing, for example, can last for years. In this sense, they can be almost as long lasting as regular piercings. However, it will all depend on various factors. In order to prolong the life of your piercing you need to take a good care of it, especially during the healing time. It means proper aftercare and cleaning. That being said, keep in mind that surface piercings are just not made to be permanent.

How to prevent rejection?

As you probably know, one of the main problems about surface piercings is a high rate of rejection. Since these piercings are placed directly under the skin, it is very easy for your body to push the jewelry out. Think about a splinter: the jewelry is moved up the skin until it’s out.

One thing you need to understand about surface piercings is that they are not as long-lasting as other piercing types. This simply goes with the territory. Sometimes there is nothing you can do to prevent migration and rejection so do not be too sad if it happens.

The only thing you can do is to monitor your piercing carefully. Make it into a habit to inspect it regularly to notice any potential changes. Usually, the rejection starts from the edges and it moves to the center of the jewelry piece. Another telling sing of impeding rejection is redness, tenderness and swelling.

The best thing you can do to prevent rejection of your surface piercing during the healing process is to perform adequate aftercare on a regular basis. While it is not a guarantee that rejection or migration won’t happen this is your best chance to prevent it from happening.

It is rejecting! Now what?

Take the jewelry out. This is the best course of action for any piercing that’s rejecting. Once the process starts there is very little you can do to stop it, so it’s best to simply retire your piercing. Failing to do so can result in scarring and infection, which is something you definitely want to prevent.

So, simply take the jewelry out and let the piercing heal.

Do surface piercings leave scars?

Surface piercings are shallow so they do not leave scars if you don’t let them reject or get infected. Marks and potential scars depend on the type of the surface piercing, though: an eyebrow piercing will leave a different type of a scar than multiple corset piercings across your back. So this is definitely one factor to take into account.

However, if you are careful and take a good care of your surface piercings they should not leave huge or noticeable scars. Typically, these piercings are retired without a problem, but you need to treat them for what they are: temporary (or semi-temporary) tattoos.

Can I get repierced multiple times?

As long as you retire your surface piercings properly so they don’t leave notable scar tissue yes, you can get repierced. This is exactly what many people do. However, keep in mind that you have to let your piercings heal properly before you attempt to repierced or else you’re at risk to develop infections and other problems.

Surface piercings have a high rate of rejection. Your body can see the jewelry as a foreign object and slowly pushes it out of your skin as it would a splinter. These piercings can slowly migrate to the surface of the skin. Surface piercings will start to grow out, or reject, from the outer edges slowly in towards the center of the jewelry. Key signs of rejection are redness, swelling, tenderness, and gooey discharge. Following the correct aftercare will give you the best chance of your piercing being a part of your body for years.

Studio Etiquette

Inside a Piercing StudioPiercing studios are great places. This is where you can get that piercing you’ve been dreaming about or pick a fancy jewelry piece.

Whatever you do, keep in mind that there are some guidelines you should follow in order to make the experience better for everyone.

Learn More about Studio Etiquette

  • Before going to a piercing studio it’s best to have at least a vague idea of what you want. Your piercer needs to start from somewhere, so it’s best to visit a studio once you have at least some ideas in mind.
  • Piercers and other staff are there to answer your question. Do your best to ask questions related to their job and something that’s actually relevant. In other words, do not waste piercer’s time.
  • It’s best to do some research beforehand (see above). If you do that you will be able to ask more specific questions and get a better picture of what you need.
  • Listen. As much as questions are important, so are the answers. Listen to what your piercer has to say, especially if it’s about aftercare and health.
  • Do not touch your piercing or jewelry in the studio’s common room. Some people like to take their old jewelry out or to simply touch their piercing, which is not safe because it can pose a health danger. Keep in mind that a studio has to stay clean. Do not  touch or handle your piercing in any way, even if it’s a healed one.
  • This warning stands for all common areas of the studio, including the restroom.
  • It is very, very dangerous to change your jewelry in the studio, so it should be avoided at all costs (see above).
  • If you wish to change your jewelry, let the piercer do it in the piercing room.
  • Old jewelry should always be handled in a sealed container, such as a bag or a box. Never take it out, even in the common rooms.
  • Ask where to put your bag, coat and other personal belongings. It is important that the piercing room stays clean. Do not just assume that you can take your bag or another item into the piercing room. Ask to know what’s expected of you.
  • Be cooperative. Piercing procedures tend to make people anxious and nervous, but that’s not the reason to misbehave. If you feel you could not go through the procedure, communicate this to your piercer.
  • During the procedure, try to stay focused. Your piercer will want to talk to you and walk you through the entire process, so do your best to listen.
  • Questions are more than welcome. In fact, they are expected. However, you need to let the piercer do their job.
  • Ask if it’s ok to have a friend or a family member with you. This is usually allowed, since piercing artists know how important is to have moral support.
  • If visitors are allowed, they need to behave. They are not allowed to compromise the procedure in any way.
  • Ask before you use a camera or a phone in the piercing room, especially during the procedure. The same goes for your companions. You will probably need to skip flash. Flashes are very distracting for the piercers.
  • Don’t drink or take drugs before getting a piercing. The piercer will refuse to provide the service if you are under influence.
  • Mind your manners. Do not yell or disrespect your piercer, staff or other customers.
  • Tipping is typically welcome and highly appreciated. It is not necessary to do so but it’s a nice thing to do if you are satisfied with the service.
  • Do not bargain. Do not ask your piercer to match the price from the mall kiosk or another shabby place. The prices are there for a reason.

Can You Over clean Your Piercing?

Piercing CleaningEach new piercing is sensitive and has to be cleaned properly. The initial healing time is when your piercing is the most sensitive and prone to infections and other problems. In order to avoid these problems and to speed up the healing process, it’s vital to perform adequate aftercare.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the aftercare is cleaning. Your new piercing has to be kept clean in order to remove any dirt, bacteria and other agents in the new piercing. It is important to keep the piercing properly clean so your piercing can heal as quickly as possible.

However, it’s important to understand that cleaning should not be overdone. Overcleaning can bring numerous problems so it should be avoided at all costs.

What is Over cleaning?

Simply put, “overcleaning” is any cleaning that is more extensive than needed. You have to keep your piercing clean, but you don’t want to hurt the tissue with too much cleaning. Remember: too much of a good stuff is bad, so you have to resist the urge to clean your new piercing more than it’s needed.

Some people think that their new piercing will be kept clean only if they wash it every hour or so. Nothing can be further from the truth. Exposing your tissue to water and cleaning products so often will only cause more trouble.

As a rule, you should only clean your new piercing a few times per day. Up to 4 times a day during the initial healing time (a few days after you getting your piercing done) and about twice per day during the rest of the healing period.

In some situations, you might want to clean your piercing more. For example, your tongue piercing and other oral piercings should be cleaned after every meal. That being said, a few times per day is enough. You should not clean your piercing more than that. Remember, it will bring more harm than good.

Improper Cleaning Products

Another problem may come from the improper cleaning products. Not all cleaners are created equal and you should not use them all to clean your new piercing. Just because a product is suitable for use on body and face doesn’t necessarily mean it’s suitable for cleaning your piercings.

The best cleaning solution is a mixture of salt and water. You can easily make this mixture all by yourself. It’s affordable, easy to make and very handy. Anyone can make a basic saline solution so you don’t even have to spend much money on it.

Never use harsh chemicals or strong cleaners on your piercing, even if they are otherwise allowed to be used for washing body and face. These cleaners contain chemicals that are not good for your piercing and will harm the tissue.

Signs of Overcleaning

There are several common symptoms of overcleaning or cleaning with improper products:

  • Tenderness. Your piercing and skin around it may become tender to the touch.
  • Soreness. The piercing and tissue around it may feel sore.
  • Damage. A piercing may produce a puss-like liquid.
  • Redness. Sometimes, an overly cleaned piercing will become red.

These are just some of the signs to watch for. If you experience any of these problems it’s a sign that you’re overcleaning. Reduce the number of times you clean your piercing and switch to a gentler cleaner. In case you use a saline solution to clean your piercing, it might be too strong. In order to prevent further problems, dilute the mixture and use sterile water with salt.

LITHA Aftercare Approach

Aftercare ApproachMany piercing enthusiasts know about the LITHA strategy for aftercare. What is LITHA and how to perform it?

Good news: it’s actually very easy to follow this aftercare approach. Not to mention this is the best way to ensure that your new piercing heals properly and without problems.

What is LITHA?

LITHA stands for: “Leave It The Hell Alone”. A simple concept, isn’t it? This approach basically says that the best way for your piercing to heal is to manipulate is as little as possible. It means that you should not touch it, twist the jewelry or rub it in any way. However, it also means you should not use a lot of cleaning products on it.

Of course, you SHOULD clean it twice per day (or more, depending on the piercing type and your piercer’s instructions), but that should basically be it. When cleaning, use only non-invasive cleaning mixture that is approved for new piercings. Absolutely the best is to use plain saline solution.

Avoid strong chemicals and invasive cleaners on your new piercing. They can do more harm than good. You may use anti-microbial soap or a specialized cleaner made for new piercings, such as H2Ocean cleaner, but make sure that whatever you use is suitable for new piercings.

Other than that, follow LITHA. Leave your piercing. Do not touch it, do not manipulate it in any way. Do not even clean it more times than necessary, or a using a stronger saline solution than recommended. All these things can compromise the healing process and increase the risk of infections and other problems.

The idea behind the LITHA approach is that, as long as you keep your new piercing clean, your body will heal it perfectly on its own. No additional cleaning agents and products are needed. Nor is needed for you to touch or manipulate your new piercing in any way, except when you clean it (and even then the contact must be minimal).

What Not to Do

Here are some things you should avoid during the aftercare:

  • Twisting and turning your jewelry. This is not necessary and can compromise the healing process.
  • Strong products and chemicals. A new piercing is best cleaned with a saline solution. Never use invasive products on your new piercing. Also, make sure that the saline solution you use is not too strong for your piercing.
  • Overcleaning. You should not clean your piercing more than several times per day. It will only irritate it.
  • Rub it on clothes. This is tricky, because you need to be careful at all times. Do not let the jewelry on your new piercing get caught on clothes. Also, make sure not to rub it during sleep. In case of an ear or facial piercing, remove the hair away from it.
  • Change jewelry too soon. You should wait before you change your initial jewelry, unless a new jewelry piece is needed after the first swelling is gone. In this case, go to your piercer to change the jewelry for you. Never attempt to do it by yourself.

All in all, keep in mind that”less is more” is a good strategy during the healing time. In case you notice something wrong (such as prolonged pain, redness, swelling and other signs of infection) you should consult your doctor. In case everything looks and feels fine it’s best to manipulate your piercing as little as possible.

Cleaning Solutions for Your New Piercing

H20cean Piercing Aftercare Spray

H20cean Piercing Aftercare Spray

Cleaning is an integral part of piercing care. When you get pierced, your new piercing will start to heal, and the healing process is crucial for the future of your piercing. If you want to have beautiful and attractive piercing (and, even more importantly, if you want your piercing to be safe and healthy) you need to follow aftercare instructions carefully and take a good care of your healing piercing. It’s also important to keep your body jewelry clean.

Cleaning is one of the most important things you need to perform during the aftercare. It’s very important to keep the piercing hygienic. It’s therefore important to have a quality, body safe cleaning solution for your piercings. You need to be careful: many commercial cleaning products are just not suitable for piercing care.

Good Cleaning Solutions

There are some body-safe cleaning solutions you may use:

Saline Solution. Packaged sterile saline solution is probably the easiest product to use. It’s important to check that it has no additives, so you need to read the label. It’s very gentle to the skin and it does the job perfectly. This solution is not expensive and it’s very easy to use, so it’s a handy choice for people who want to keep their healing piercings clean and healthy.

Non-Iodized Sea Salt Mixture. This is a mixture you can prepare all by yourself. Take about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt (make sure it’s iodine free) and mix it with one cup (about 8 oz) of water. It’s best to use warm, distilled or bottled water. Make sure not to make your saline solution too strong – it can irritate the skin and your healing piercing.

Anti-microbial soap. You may use a liquid, anti-bacterial soap but you need to be careful with it. Make sure it doesn’t contain any strong chemicals. Also, keep in mind that you should not use a lot of it on your healing piercing (don’t apply it too often and in large quantities).

The H2Ocean Spray. This is a commercial product we can recommend because it’s safe and contain chosen body-safe ingredients. It’s specially formulated and it uses ingredients natural to your body. This spray is made to prevent infections in your healing piercing. The spray uses purified water, sea salt, Lysozyme and Sodium Benzoate. These ingredients not only clean the piercing but also help with the healing process. Just keep in mind that the spray is designed for external body piercings (don’t use for oral piercings).

Care-Tech Laboratories Agrees to Stop Making Unapproved Antimicrobial Products

Here is a press release from the FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today announced that St. Louis-based Care-Tech Laboratories Inc. and its principal officers, John C. Brereton and Sherry L. Brereton, have signed a consent decree, agreeing to stop the illegal manufacture, marketing, and distribution of over-the-counter (OTC) antimicrobial drugs used to treat and prevent infection. Continue reading