First hours and days after getting your piercing done are crucial. This is when you should take special care of your new piercing so it can heal properly. Many people are unsure what to expect during this time, because even the normal, healthy piercings will show some warning signs during this period.
Here are some handy tips on what to do during this time.
Keep in mind that the healing time is long so you’re definitely not off the hook after the first few days. However, these first days are crucial for ensuring success with your piercings.
What To Do if…
… You don’t know how to clean properly
Many newbies do not know how to clean their piercings properly or how to perform adequate aftercare. This can be very detrimental to the health, so it’s important that you know how to care for your new piercing at all times. This is the job for your piercer, so if there is something you don’t understand, do not hesitate to ask them, even if it means going back to the studio to clarify.
The good news is that cleaning and aftercare are not complicated: the most complex thing about aftercare is that it has to be done consistently! Since many piercings take months to heal, many people may skip cleanings or do them sloppily. This is where things get nasty. However, as long as you stick to the recommended aftercare you don’t have to have any special technique for cleaning. In other words, it’s not difficult to clean properly.
There are only a few things you need to keep in mind when it comes to cleaning:
- Clean as many times per day as recommended (no more, no less)
- Use only gentle cleaners (saline solution works wonders)
- Try to disturb your new piercing as little as possible while cleaning. No turning or twisting the jewelry!
- If you touch your new piercing or jewelry, make sure your hands are absolutely clean
…You notice fluid coming out of your piercing
Some secretion is not uncommon for new piercings. You may notice some fluid coming out of the piercing in the first days after the procedure. This fluid should be liquid, almost clear (or just a bit yellow). It will typically form a crust around the hole and on the jewelry. This is a perfectly normal thing and it’s actually a sign that your piercing is healing properly. All you need to do is to clean your piercing as instructed. It should remove the crusts from the skin and jewelry. However, never scrub hard or try to remove the crusts with force. Just clean the piercing as you always do and leave it alone.
Fluid coming out of the piercing can be a sign of an infection, but it’s usually easy to tell when there’s a problem. You will notice swelling and increased tenderness if that happens. Also, the secretion will be darker in color (darker yellow, white, or another color). This is pus and it’s typically not as liquid as the normal secretion. If in doubt, it’s best to seek medical advice.
… Your New Piercing is Swollen
After you get pierced, you can expect some swelling. Most piercings will swell right after the procedure and in the following days. This swelling is normal and it’s just a body’s reaction to what happened.
Keep in mind, however, that this swelling should be temporary. It should not hurt much and it should go away on its own within a few days. You should definitely see it getting better every day. This is a good sign of healing.
If, on the other hand, the swelling becomes worse or if you experience pain and discomfort, it is a sign that something is wrong. Your new piercing may be infected. The best course of action in these situations is to consult your doctor, not your piercer. Keep in mind that piercers are not medical professionals. Most of the time, these infections and problems are not serious, but only if you get medical help straight away. Never wait for too long to seek help if you experience any prolonged swelling or other signs of infection.
… Your New Piercing Hurts
Your new piercing will definitely be sensitive in the first hours, if not days, after the procedure. This is normal and you should not worry about it. You may take painkillers to ease the pain, but other than that, it’s not a sign that something is wrong.
However, keep in mind that your piercing should get better quickly. The pain should be gone within a day or a few days. The exact time needed for a piercing to stop hurting will depend on numerous factors, first and foremost, the body part and the type of piercing you have. Make sure to ask your piercer about the normal time in which you can expect your new piercing to be painful. This way, you will know if everything is healing normally or if there is a reason to be concerned.
If the pain persists for longer than normal or if it gets worse, it’s important to seek medical help immediately, because it can be a sign of an infection or another problem. It’s vital to react quickly because piercing infections can progress quickly.
… Your jewelry cuts into the skin
The initial swelling after the procedure can make the jewelry become “tight” so it might cut into the skin. If the swelling is barely noticeable this should not cause any problems. However, it can become an issue if the swelling is more pronounced. It can also be a sign of an inexperienced piercer, because knowledgeable piercers know they need to use longer jewelry to account for swelling.
This is the reason many initial jewelry pieces are longer than the regular ones. The longer ones are used for swelling and the jewelry is changed once the swelling is gone. If you feel you didn’t get proper jewelry and if you feel the jewelry is too short, go back to the studio and demand a longer jewelry piece.
What if you have a healed piercing and the jewelry still cuts into the skin? This should never happen with healed piercings so it’s either a sign of improperly fitted jewelry or a swelling. If your piercing is healthy (no swelling or other signs of infection), you will need to get new jewelry. It is vital for your body jewelry to be long enough to sit comfortably: it should never cut into your skin.