Artistically Done Monroe and Labret Piercings. Photography by Victor F Rodriguez Jr

Congrats on your new piercing! Do you love it? Is it everything you dreamed it would be? Whether its your first or 21st, if you really want to love it over the long term, you have got to take care of it properly from the start. After you are pierced, your piercer will definitely go over the different steps necessary to make healing a success. And, from one piercer to the next, these instructions will not vary from one professional to the next. However, if this was your very first piercing, (or even if it was far from being your first), you may have been in an adrenaline-heavy fog afterwards, and cannot recall the explicit instructions! This is totally common, and even if you were given written instructions, they are easily lost.

Nose Piercing in Action

Body piercings go through a phase of healing. Under normal circumstances, there will be redness, the area may hurt, itch, and form crusties. The first few days there may be swelling, which should receed after a couple days.

A Variety of Different Piercings Around the Mouth

Generally, from one piercer to the next, you will be given somewhat standard instructions for allowing your piercing to heal as quickly and thoroughly as possible. As with having a piercing, you should have a good idea of what you may be in store for, before you actually get your piercing done. This way, you are prepared ahead of time, and will not feel like a little deer in the headlights of a Mack truck afterwards.

For most body piercings, aftercare can include the use of these items:


Cotton Balls

Cotton-Tipped Swabs

Sea Salt

Small Disposable Cups

A Gentle Antibacterial or Antimicrobial Soap

Paper Towels

Cleaning a Nose Piercing

Before doing anything related to your piercing, while it is healing, make sure you always handle it with clean, just-washed hands, with the antibacterial/ antimicrobial soap. Never, ever, not even once by mistake, touch your jewelry or piercing site with dirty hands. It is so absolutely imperative to avoiding infection, that the area remains as clean as possible.

Nice and Clean: A Piercing in the Shower

When cleaning your piercing, the first step is to wash your hands right from the start of the process. I cannot emphasize this enough. Next, using a solution of sea salt and warm water, cleanse the piercing site, including the jewelry. Do this 3 to 5 times each day. In the shower is the best time to wash the area with the antibacterial/ antimicrobial soap. The shower is great for two reasons: the heat will ensure that your skin is soft and supple, and the water will thoroughly rinse the area well of soap. In all instances, do not mess with the piercing at all. Rotating the jewelry is an outdated method of assisting the healing, as this tends to harbor bacteria and spread it, which can lead to infection. After you shower, pat your piercing dry with a paper towel, never with a regular towel, to ensure the sterility.

Tongue Rings Need Special Care

Oral piercings differ slightly from other body piercings. They require a different method of aftercare, because of the obvious location. In this case, it is recommended that you use an alcohol-free mouth wash/ oral rinse twice daily. Use a small amount, and swish it vigorously for a minimum of 30 seconds. In addition, you should also use it after eating, smoking, and brushing your teeth.

Piercings at the Lip

By all means, do not over-clean your piercing. This can irritate the site, and prevent healing. Do not use any ointments, creams, or astringents on your piercing. Air circulation and sea salt water are the best things for aiding the healing process. Alcohol and hydrogen peroxide are not recommended whatsoever, as they can actually destroy skin cells. And, as common sense will probably remind you, all bodily fluids are strictly prohibited from coming into contact with your piercing.

So, that pretty much sums up the necessary steps for taking good care of your pretty new piercings. Be sure to understand the symptoms of infection, and take precaution to avoid them. It is important to know that many issues in healing are allergic in nature, which can be common when it comes to the metals found within jewelry, as well as the location of some piercings. If you have questions for your piercer, do not be afraid to ask. If you feel you have an infection, do not hesitate to seek out a medical professional’s opinion. We wish you a happy healing!

Happy Piercings!