All you should know about your Body Piercing:
Sea Salt Soaks
1. Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial or antimicrobial soap
2. Place a pinch of sea salt in the bottom of a small disposable cup. About 1/8 teaspoon.
3. Add hot tap water - as hot as you can stand - to the salt. Use about 3 ounces of water - which is just over half-full in a 5 ounce cup.
4. If possible, invert the cup right over the piercing and allow it to stay there for 5 minutes. This usually works well for nipple and navel piercings. If you can't create a sufficient seal against the skin with the cup, then soak a cotton ball in the salt water solution and apply the cotton ball to the piercing. When it cools down, throw it away and place a newly saturated cotton ball on the piercing. Do this for 5 minutes.
5. Rinse the piercing with warm water and dry with a clean paper towel.
* Only sea salt is to be used. Table salt is not acceptable. Sea salt can be found in many grocery stores and almost all health food stores.
* If you are not sure about the solution strength, put a dab on your finger and taste it with the tip of your tongue. It should be no saltier than a potato chip.
BODY PIERCING AFTERCARE GUIDE
- EYEBROW PIERCING AFTERCARE
- TONGUE PIERCING AFTERCARE
- NOSE PIERCING AFTERCARE
- EAR PIERCING AFTERCARE
- LIP & LABRET PIERCING AFTERCARE
- NAVEL - JEWEL PIERCING AFTERCARE
- NIPPLE PIERCING AFTERCARE
The usual jewellery for piercing the eyebrow is a 1mm ball closure ring, the piercing can also be done with the very small barbells which are used specially for eyebrows; barbells seem to have less problems, most probably because they are knocked around less than rings.
The piercing will take approximately 5-6 weeks to heal, some people may take longer though, the better you care for the piercing the quicker it will heal, and the fewer problems you will have. Eyebrow piercings can sometimes be very problematic, this is for several reasons, the skin where the piercing is done is quite thin, and contains a lot of hair follicles and doesn't have much tissue underneath to give it strength. Eyebrows are there to prevent any dirt from falling into the eyes, and therefore the dirt gets into the wound. The piercing gets knocked around a lot when you sleep, and movement hampers the healing process.
Migration means the movement of the jewellery out of the skin, in the same way that the body forces out a foreign object like a splinter, it can cause the jewellery to migrate. The amount of skin taken by the initial piercing will decrease until the jewellery eventually grows out altogether. It doesn't matter how well the piercing is done initially, migration can still occur. However, I pierce eyebrows with the very small rings and barbells, I believe that this puts less pressure on the wound and I have achieved a very good success rate using this method. If you are really concerned about migration then it's best to get the piercing done with a barbell.
Because of the dirt which gets into eyebrow piercings, movement, and the amount of hair follicles near the wound, eyebrow piercings are prone to infections. You must be diligent with cleaning to prevent infections, however if an infection does occur it can turn nasty very quickly. Because there is no tissue under the skin of the eyebrow, the infection can quickly turn into a large cyst. The area of the piercing can become very red and tender and there can be a large amount of discharge from the wound.
If an infection occurs you must return to your piercer so they can look at it immediately, if you can't return you will have to clean the wound yourself. The easiest method to remove infection from the wound is the application of a hot compress. Get a clean hand towel or paper towel and hold it under very hot running water, test the heat of the compress so that you can just bear the heat on the wound. Be careful not to apply it when it's too hot as this can result in a bad burn.
Hold the hot compress on the wound until you feel the heat dissipate altogether, remove the compress and gently bathe the wound with warm, salty water. Don't squeeze the piercing to remove any infection, just apply very gentle pressure with a clean tissue, and repeat the hot compress a couple of more times until all residue is removed from the wound.
Follow this process twice a day until the wound settles down, if this doesn't alleviate the infection you will have to see a doctor for antibiotics. The doctor may tell you to remove the ring, don't do this as the jewellery allows any exudate to come out of the wound, if you remove it there will be no way of allowing the pus out of the wound. If antibiotics fail to stop the infection you have no choice but to remove the ring, however in my experience this is very rare.
EYEBROW PIERCING CARE
You should clean the piercing in the shower every day. Make some salt water up by dissolving sea salt in warm water, or use Saline solution (available at any Chemist). Soak a clean cotton wool ball in the salt water and apply it to the piercing for 5 minutes or until any crusting is dissolved. It's important to remove all the crusting because it can concrete on the jewellery and tear the inside of the wound causing pain and inflammation. Rinse with fresh water and move the jewellery very gently to ensure that there is no crusting remaining.
You should use a new! Soft toothbrush to remove any crusting if you have a barbell. Run it under very hot water after cleaning the piercing and make sure that it's not used for anything but cleaning the piercing
You should dry the piercing after your shower with a clean tissue or piece of toilet paper (towels harbour bacteria). Be careful to pat it dry, don't rub it as this can aggravate the wound.
You should use Lavender oil as it promotes healing and lubricates the wound reducing tenderness. Apply a small amount with a cotton-wool bud after cleaning (being careful not to get it into your eye) then move the jewellery gently so it gets into the wound. Remove any excess with a tissue as leaving it on can cause the skin to become irritated. It may be purchased at supermarkets (medicine section) or at chemists and must be marked (BP) or medicinal grade.
You should wash the piercing during meal breaks with clean water if you work in a job which is dusty, if there is no tap use bottled water.
You should leave jewellery in the piercing for the first 6 months, or the hole will close up.
You should be careful if you are in crowded places like pubs or nightclubs, people have a tendency to try to pull at the jewellery.
You should try to sleep on the side opposite the piercing, this reduces movement of the ring.
You should keep your bedding clean, especially your pillowcases to reduce the chance of infections.
You should use B-vitamins with a Zinc supplement as they promote healing.
Is it better not to attempt to remove and re-insert the jewelery to hide the piercing, this can hamper healing and lead to infections. If you have to take it out for work see the section below on hiding the piercing.
HIDING YOUR EYEBROW
Because employers and parents are sometimes pretty conservative, some people have no choice but to try and hide their piercing. Luckily this isn't too hard, all you need to do is purchase a small amount of clear 1mm fishing line. Cut a piece which is approximate to the length of the wound, and then push one end against a heated knife to create a flat end like a nail. You should clean this with some disinfectant like cleaning alcohol, Dettol etc. then gently place it in the wound. There should be 2-3mm room to spare so it doesn't get caught in the wound. You can only do this after the piercing is healed, trying this method to hide it while it's healing will lead to infection.
Tongue piercing was practiced in a ritual form by the ancient Aztecs, Mayas of Central America and the Haida, Kwakiutul, and Tlinglit tribes of the American Northwest. The tongue was pierced to draw blood to propitiate the gods, and to create an altered state of consciousness so that the priest or shaman could communicate with the gods.
Tongue piercing is one of the most popular piercings, it's shocking, provocative and fantastic for oral sex (for both sexes), but at the same time no one need know you have it. Janet Jackson, Keith Flint from Prodigy, Mel B from the Spice Girls and Malcolm Jamahl Warner from the Cosby show all sport pierced tongues.
The actual piercing of the tongue is not painful in itself because the tongue is a muscle with striations, the needle slips between them just like pushing a needle through a piece of fabric. However the tongue can swell and become tender afterwards, sometimes quite dramatically, that's why it's usual to pierce the tongue first with a longer barbell, which is replaced for the proper size when the swelling goes down (usually 8-10 days). The further back from the tip of the tongue the piercing is done, the more swelling there is usually. Some people have a dimple on the front of the tongue this is usually the ideal place to do the piercing.
Tongue piercing is not for the faint of heart, you won't be able to eat solid foods, or talk properly for several days; this can sometimes lead to a short period of depression. Make sure before getting the piercing that you have all the things that you won't be able to have for a week such as steak, chips, chocolate, etc. A last meal for the condemned!
The most common form of jewellery for tongue piercings are barbells, which are available in surgical steel, gold-plated surgical steel and colored plastic to name a few. The initial piercing must have a longer barbell with larger balls but once it's healed you can wear a barbell with smaller balls. Labret studs and tongue retainers may appeal to those who need to hide their piercing, they have a flat top which makes them less visible and totally invisible if they are painted with flesh coloured nail polish.
Tongue piercing usually takes between 10-14 days to fully heal, it is almost impossible to develop an infection because the mouth contains an enzyme "Ptyalin" and Lingual antimicrobial Peptide (LAP) which kills bacteria. Overuse of mouthwash destroys these which can cause the tongue to go green or brown, if this happens reduce the amount of mouthwash you use.
You will experience swelling the first day you get the piercing, but the worst swelling will be from 2-5 days after the piercing, during which time your tongue will be very uncoordinated and you may find it very hard to talk. The only food you will be able to eat during the first 3-5 days are things like mashed potatoes, canned spaghetti mashed up etc. or fruit and milk drinks made in a blender.
During the healing process you may experience one or several of the following problems, don't be alarmed they will all stop once the piercing is healed. Your salivary glands will overproduce saliva and this will cause you to constantly swallow, this may last for up to 5 days during which the salivary glands (under the chin) can become swollen. The taste buds on the end of your tongue may become tender and you might experience a tingling or burning sensation. You may experience tenderness where the balls on the barbell make a depression on the palate of your mouth and on the lower inside gum of your mouth. You may see a white fluid being excreted by the wound, don't be alarmed is just dead white blood cells it's a normal part of the healing process, all wounds heal by secreting plasma which forms a scab, but because of the saliva in the mouth a scab can't form.
After 3-5 days the swelling will start to reduce, and between 7-10 days after the piercing you will have to insert the shorter barbell inserted, your piercer can do it for you or you can do it yourself. Usually the shorter barbell can be inserted after 8-10 days, although some people's tongue may heal quicker. The amount of swelling depends on how long your tongue is (longer tongues swell more), where the piercing is placed (the further back from the tip, the more swelling) and how well you follow the aftercare instructions.
CHANGING THE JEWELLERY
Rinse you mouth with water while changing barbells as this helps remove saliva and makes it easier to change the jewellery. Remove the initial barbell after 10 days, remove the barbell by unscrewing a ball ( the top one is usually easier ) take your shorter barbell insert it in to your piercing from the top down and screw the ball on to the bottom and tighten as much as possible. This can be done by holding the top ball and bottom ball wearing surgical gloves for cleanliness and grip, and firmly tightening the balls.
INVISIBLE TONGUE PIERCING
Many people wish to get their tongues pierced but feel they are prevented by the negative reactions they may get from their employers. This can be solved by having your tongue pierced by a barbell painted with flesh coloured nail polish as this is less likely to be seen. For extra precaution after it's healed you can wear a labret stud or tongue retainer (flat on top) painted with flesh coloured nail polish. Once it's healed you can change the jewellery yourself, so you can wear one to hide the piercing from your boss (and relatives!), and one to impress your friends at night.
TONGUE PIERCING CARE
You should use Difflam-CT throat lozenges (or some other antibacterial/anti- inflammatory lozenge) until you have the smaller barbell inserted. They perform two valuable functions, firstly, they are anti-bacterial which prevents infections; secondly, and most importantly they are anti- inflammatory which helps relieve swelling and promotes healing. Using these will greatly reduce the period your tongue will be swollen for.
You should rinse your mouth with a disinfectant such as Listerine or cepacol after eating any food (for 14 days), the mouthwash must be diluted to 1/4 of normal strength with water, using undiluted mouthwash reduces the mouth's natural enzymes and peptides which help healing.
You should wait a minimum of 10 days before attempting to change over to the shorter stem, if you do so before that period your tongue can swell up all over again.
You should remove plaque which can form on the jewellery, remove this very gently with a soft toothbrush during the healing period. After the piercing is healed use an ant plaque mouthwash, and you may remove the jewellery to clean it once a month.
You should check that the jewellery is screwed on tight once a week, clean hands with a germicidal soap before handling. The ball that screws off should be on the bottom, and it must be turned clockwise to tighten it.
You should be careful when you first start eating solid food to take very small bites and be careful when you chew to keep your tongue level in your mouth while eating, so the jewellery doesn't knock against your teeth, and so you don't bite the barbell and shatter a tooth! This is less of a problem after you get the smaller barbell.
You should keep cold water in the fridge, and add lots of ice to make it really cold, drink this when you first wake up in the morning. The swelling will be worse than usual because when you lie down more blood goes to your head, sip the iced water very slowly, this will help alleviate the swelling.
You should eat lots of cold foods i.e. ice cream, frozen yoghurt, suck on chipped or crushed ice, or very small ice blocks and drink lots of ice water this will alleviate pain and reduce swelling. Frozen ice blocks in packs from the supermarket are cheap and you can suck on them all day.
Is it better not to talk too much while you have the first (longer) barbell in, because the barbell is longer (to accommodate swelling) excess movement will cause the barbell to cut the top of the wound. This problem will get better once the swelling goes down and a shorter barbell is inserted.
Is it better not to eat food that's hot in temperature i.e. Coffee, tea, soup, as this can be painful during the healing phase. Don't eat spicy hot food i.e. chilly, curry because this can increase the swelling during healing.
Is it better not to use undiluted mouthwash as this destroys the mouth natural enzymes which promote healing and it can cause ulceration.
Is it better not to put anything dirty in your mouth such as fingernails, pens, etc. And you must refrain from oral sex for the first 10-14 days, this includes kissing even if you are in a monogamous relationship.
Is it better not to play with the piercing or chew on it during the healing period as this can lead to excess scar tissue formation and delayed healing.
Is it better not to remove or replace the jewellery during the healing period, as the hole closes up very quickly and it's painful to reinsert the jewellery once this happens. Even after the piercing is healed it will close up within a day if you remove the jewellery.
Nose piercing is very attractive, and can accentuate the face, because the nose is the face's most prominent feature; Leonardo Da Vinci believed that the nose set the character of the whole face.
Nose piercing was first recorded in the Middle East approximately 4,000 years ago, it is mentioned in The Bible in Genesis 24:22 Abraham requested his oldest servant to find a wife for his son Isaac, the servant found Rebekah, and one of the gifts he gave her was a "golden earring" the original Hebrew word used was Shanf, which also translates as "nose-ring"
This practice is still followed among the nomadic Berber and Beja tribes of Africa, and the Bedouins of the Middle East, the size of the ring denotes the wealth of the family. It is given by the husband to his wife at the marriage, and is her security if she is divorced.
Nose piercing was bought to India in the 16th Century from the Middle East by the Moghul emperors. In India a stud (Phul) or a ring (Nath) is usually worn in the left nostril, it is sometimes joined to the ear by a chain, and in some places both nostrils are pierced. The left side is the most common to be pierced in India, because that is the spot associated in Ayuvedra (Indian medicine) with the female reproductive organs, the piercing is supposed to make childbirth easier and lessen period pain.
In the west nose piercing first appeared among the hippies who travelled to India in the late 1960's. It was later adopted by the Punk movement of the late 1970's as a symbol of rebellion against conservative values, and conservative people like parents and employers still don't react well to it, so consider their reaction carefully before getting it done.
Nowadays nose piercing is gradually becoming more socially acceptable, and many celebrities have their nose pierced i.e. Madonna, Lenny Kravitz, Sinead O'Connor, and Slash from Guns & Roses.
The original piercing can be done with either a stud or a ring. There is a definite spot on the nose for a stud, but a ring can be placed in various spots. I recommend that a piercing with a ring be done in the place for a stud, just in case you want to change to a stud at a later date.
The jewellery must be Hypo-allergenic, meaning that it should have no adverse affects on the body, so the only metals you should use are Niobium, Titanium, 18ct White & Yellow Gold, Platinum, or Palladium. Silver should never be worn in the nose during healing, because it oxidises inside the wound, and can cause allergic reactions, lumps, and can leave a permanent black mark on your nose.
Once the piercing is healed you can change the jewellery as easily as changing an earring, you can wear gold and coloured niobium rings and studs, studs set with gemstones, or studs with tiny shapes i.e. moons, dolphins, hearts.
THE GUN VS. THE NEEDLE
Before there were professional Body Piercers around, some people used to get their nose pierced using the Ear Piercing Gun. Now there is no excuse for this practice, all nose piercing should always be done using a needle, there are a host of reasons for this.
The Gun was designed to be sterile because of the no touch principle, no skin came in contact with the gun and therefore it was safe to be used repeatedly, because it is made of plastic it can't be Autoclaved, and is therefore unsterile if the gun comes in contact with the inside of the nose. Potentially fatal micro-organisms (Staphylococcus Aureus), can therefore be transmitted between customers, and as approximately 30% of the population have resident colonies of Staph. Aureus in their noses, you have a 1 in 3 chance of developing a potentially fatal infection, because of the proximity of the nose to the brain.
The studs used in the gun were designed to pierce the flesh of the ear, the nose is quite thick cartilage, and in some instances the gun fails to pierce the nose on the first attempt. A needle produces a very quick, short, sharp pain, but because the studs in the gun are quite blunt they are forced through the wound by brute force, this results in trauma to the wound and it can cause pain for several days afterwards.
The whole reason for getting your nose pierced is for aesthetics, it is very hard to sometimes get the proper placement using the gun, and you have a very large unsightly stud in your nose. The needle method gives minimal pain, exact placement, and you can have a tiny stud inserted immediately.
Source: "Life Threatening Staphylococcal disease following ear piercing" Paediatrics Vol 46 pp. 301-303 (July 1970)
Even provided that you have the piercing done properly with a needle, have proper jewellery and look after it properly you may still develop a problem with healing; this is because the nose is cartilage and it doesn't heal in the same way as flesh. The most common problem is small lumps which form around the piercing, these are called granulomas and usually occur because the piercing has been knocked or the jewellery has been taken out and re-inserted damaging the wound.
The best course of action to heal Granulomas is to apply hot compresses to the wound once or twice a day. Put a clean paper towel under hot tap water, make sure that it's not hot enough to burn the skin, but hot enough to penetrate the wound. Leave on till the heat dissipates, do this twice a day. If that doesn't work the best course of action is to remove the jewellery for a short period of time to allow the wound to heal. When the lump goes down (usually 4-5 days) the jewellery may be reinserted, however, if the lump starts to come back it's best to leave it heal and have it re-pierced at a later date.
If you develop any problems see your piercer, they should help you free of charge, that is the service that you pay for when you get the piercing, don't be embarrassed to see them, it's their job to help you!
INVISIBLE NOSE PIERCING
Many people want to get their nose pierced, but feel they can't because of the reaction of their parents or employers. Trying to hide it by taking it in and out just leads to delayed healing and infections, so here's a trick to help people get their nose pierced without letting anybody know. The piercing can be done with an invisible stud (a normal nose stud covered with flesh coloured nail polish). Once it's healed this can be changed at night for a normal stud.
The biggest cause of people's studs coming out is drying their face with a towel they rub their face dry and dislodge the stud, you must pat your nose dry as long as you are wearing a stud. Other reasons are scratching their nose in their sleep and pulling tight clothes over their head.
NOSE PIERCING CARE
The piercing usually takes approximately 8-10 weeks to heal, you must follow these instructions carefully or you could have trouble getting it healed. If you have any problems you should go and see your piercer so they can help you. Small problems left untended become large problems.
THE NUMBER ONE REASON FOR INFECTION IS TOUCHING OR PLAYING WITH THE PIERCING, ONLY TOUCH THE PIERCING WHEN YOU ARE CLEANING IT!
You should clean the piercing every day in the shower, soak a cotton wool ball or tissue in Saline Solution (available at any chemist) or 1/2 teaspoon Sea Salt dissolved in a 1/4 glass of warm water. Place the wet cotton wool ball or tissue on the piercing and soak for 3-4 minutes until any crusting is removed, be careful not to pull the stud out!
You should remove any crusting from the inside of the stud/ring by cleaning it with a cotton-wool bud soaked in salt water. Be gentle, don't rub it roughly as you may cause the stud to come out. Any crusting must be removed from a ring before you turn it or you can damage and inflame the piercing.
You should dry the piercing afterwards carefully by "patting" not rubbing the piercing dry with a clean tissue, piece of paper towel or toilet paper. Don't rub your face dry with a towel as they harbour bacteria and can pull the stud out.
You should use Lavender oil as it promotes healing and lubricates the wound reducing tenderness. Apply a small amount with a cotton-wool bud after cleaning then move the jewellery so it gets into the wound, if you have a ring rotate it gently. Remove any excess with a tissue as leaving it on can cause the skin to become irritated. It may be purchased at supermarkets (medicine section) or at chemists and must be marked (BP) or medicinal grade.
You should remove it at night so you don't lose the stud, but not till it's healed fully.
You should use B-vitamins with a Zinc supplement as this promotes healing.
Is it better not to pick at or pull at the scab as this can cause lumps to form, and cause infections.