1. STOP TOUCHING IT! This is probably the number one cause of irritation. After previously touching god knows what throughout your day, you may want to reconsider absentmindedly fidgeting with your new piercing. Any irritation you cause to the piercing, will delay its healing process. If you wouldn’t stick your hands in your mouth, why make contact with an open wound that is your piercing? Check out this article on things you touch everyday that are filthier than a toilet.
2. Max and Mr. Snuggles. I love animals. You love animals. We all love animals. However, pet dander is a leading cause of infection. So while you’re snuggling with kitty cat who’s affectionately seated right on your new navel piercing, you’re slowly infecting your piercing with millions of microscopic cells. It doesn’t matter whether you’re naked or fully clothed frankly, because dander is microscopic, and it is airborne. Maybe re-think having your favourite furry friend sleeping in your bed with you, too.
3. You’re using WHAT to clean it with? I’ve recently encountered a lot of new clients come to me from other shops who have either been misinformed, or simply not informed at all. In my experiences, i have found this to be most alarming. You have to remember, a piercing is technically an open wound. Bare, vulnerable flesh is exposed, and highly susceptible to infection. And when it comes to cleaning, I’ve heard it all: a bar of soap, antibacterial soap, hot water, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, your own saliva, tap water, and my favourite, “I was told i didn’t have to clean it.” I hope as you read your way down, you have invested some time in the useful link I had posted earlier. With that said, I hope “bar of soap” scares you. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are extremely harsh chemicals—the latter more than the first. If you had a deep open cut, would you pour alcohol in it? No. Same rule applies for a piercing. I have always recommended sea salt to naturally and effectively clean and cleanse any and every piercing. It is a natural disinfectant, reduces swelling and redness, and eases any discomfort commonly found after getting a new piercing. Table salt, iodized salts, epsom salts and kosher salts are not appropriate. I’ve come across a great solution exclusively sold at Dreamworx Ink which is highly effective at cleansing, and preventing infection.
4. Your shiny new FAKE jewellery. When it comes to a piercing, take note of the required healing times, and leave the original jewellery in until fully healed. Irritation can easily be caused by constant jewellery removal and installation, especially if the wound is still fresh. Avoid causing unnecessary trauma to the area. In addition, remember that nice shiny nose bone you bought at that little dingy shop for $5? Yeah, well, its fake, and its clearly irritating your nose. I cannot stress enough how important jewellery is. When initially pierced, there should be nothing else in you but surgical steel. Not even gold! Surgical steel is non-porous, and therefore will not react to your body fluids and discharges while healing. Furthermore, plated jewellery commonly has lead as its core structure, and can discolour the area, and lead to black, permanent keloid bumps. Patience is a virtue. Always wait until you’re fully healed to start swapping jewellery.
5. Is this right for you? Sometimes our bodies naturally reject piercings, and sadly there is nothing that can be done. This is not an uncommon phenomemon. However location, gauge, and method of piercing can be a factor as to why your piercing is not doing so well. Some body parts can only take so much trauma before it keloids, or just gives up. If you walk into a shop, and you want your cartilage pierced, make sure the piercer knows what they’re doing. Typically 18 to 16 gauge needles and jewellery are used for this location. If you’re pierced with a 14 guage needle, this may be too large of a hole, and your body may freak out. Always do your research before getting a piercing, and most importantly as the piercer as many questions as possible pertaining to your potential new piercing. If the answers given are not satisfactory, walk away. You need to trust the person who you are paying to modify your body.
6. No gun policy. It truly amazes me that people are still piercing, and being pierced with piercing guns. What frightens me even more are the mothers that i encounter who offer me their great wisdom and highly suggest that i pierce with a gun. Thank you. Shall i hand over my piercing licence and degree to you now, or have an official graduation for you? To put it bluntly, piercing guns cannot be sterilized properly. The reasons why I use one-time use cannula needles are as follows:
a) They are pre-packaged, sterile needles, which are discarded into a sharps container after use. No needle is EVER re-used.
b) Piercing guns cannot be effectively sterilized, therefore risking many people to cross-contamination of blood born pathogens (AIDS, HIV, Hepatitis, and so on and so forth).
c) Beveled needles glide through the tissue, whereas guns cause blunt force trauma to your flesh and surrounding cells. This leaves you with permanent scar tissue. Feel that little ball on the inside of your lobe? Yeah, thats what I’m talking about. You are being pierced with a flat-backed stud. HELLO!?
7. Where did you go? The type of shop that you get your piercings at matters. Is the shop clean? What are the staff like? Do they open everything in front of you? Are they receptive to your questions and concerns? Most of all, do you feel safe and comfortable there? Do they have a set spore-test schedule, and have they continuously passed? Do you see an autoclave? If you find that you’re answering no to any or all of these questions, then leave. If strict health and safety procedures are not followed, you are at high risk for infection.
8. Use your head. The majority of piercings requested are facial and on the ear. With that said, everything you do and use in and around his are will dramatically affect the healing process, and overall outcome of your piercing. Make-up around nose, eyebrow, labret piercings, etc will find its way into the area and create inflammation, redness, and more commonly than not, an infection. Powdered make-up when applied becomes air-borne and will travel to your piercing as well. The same concept applies to hair products such as mousse, gels, and hairspray. Remember that all of these cosmetic products are chemicals, and will therefore irritate your piercings. The same goes for lotions and body products around any body piercings such as nipple, navel and surface piercings. If you wouldn’t apply it near an open wound, don’t apply it near a healing piercing.
9. Summer Fun. What better way to spend those hot summer days then tanning and swimming! If you’re bearing a new piercing, the latter may not be such a good idea. Tanning beds, as well as tanning in its general outside form, can cause added unnecessary stress to the skin surrounding it, and dry it out. Sunburns cause your body to deter attention to the piercings healing process because its main focus now becomes to heal the sunburn as quickly as possible. In addition, it can cause excess trauma to the already sensitive tissue. Swimming pools, hot tubs, and other bodies of water of the sort, carry many different types of germs and bacteria. Moisture, especially in warm temperatures, becomes a prime breeding ground for bacteria, and thus infection. Many bacterias which host in improperly disinfected hot tubs can be fatal, such as the Legionella bacteria.
All in all, keeping a piercing clean and promoting a healthy healing environment for your new body modification is all about common sense. If you have to question something before doing it, chances are you shouldn’t do it.