When you get a new piercing, you must be aware that there may be some minor swelling or scarring to the area. Although not a common occurrence, some piercings have the potential to reject, or grow out. This is only a caution & you will find that only a very small amount of people are affected in this way. Should you have any concerns about your new piercing, or in the case of a problematic piercing, it is important that you contact your piercer as soon as possible. For aftercare information in Chinese, Spanish, French, Italian or Polish please contact us.
Please read our FAQ for approximate healing times. If properly cared for, your piercing should heal within the time specified. In the case of tongue, labret or any other piercing which require a change of jewellery, please return to a Wildcat Ink Studio on the date specified by your piercer for resizing of jewellery.
In order to help ensure a rapid & full healing process for your piercing, please follow the procedures outlined below fully & carefully, for the entire duration of the healing process. We also recommend one month’s course of zinc or arnica tablets for all piercings. Remember these suggestions are somewhat generalised. For more detailed directions & advice, or if you have any adverse reactions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
There are various factors which determine the healing time of individual piercings. These include diet, lifestyle, the individual’s immune system & irritation to the piercing during the healing process. Problematic piercings can often be caused by:
- Aggravation due to clothing on pierced area. Wear loose clothing that will allow your piercing to breathe and to avoid any excessive friction that may irritate it.
- Using aftercare products, cleansers or other skin care products not specifically recommended by your piercer.
- ANY contact with dirt, oil, grease and other irritants, as well as unwashed hands, bodily fluids, make-up, false tan and some body & hair care products (for further advice/clarification please ask your piercer).
- Water – avoid swimming for the following reasons;
- The chlorine in swimming pools and hot tubs can cause severe irritation.
- Lakes and rivers may harbour germs and bacteria, which can infect and damage your new piercing.
- The abrasive qualities of salt water can also irritate your new piercing.
- Exercise – If you work out (e.g. cardiovascular or aerobic exercise) take some time off while your piercing heals – profuse sweating has the same effect on new piercings as soaking in water. For this reason, you should also avoid steam rooms and saunas.
- Keep your piercing out of the sun, and do not use sun beds for the duration of the healing time – DO NOT apply sun block to a new piercing, as it can cause severe irritation.
- DO NOT PICK AT OR TOUCH new piercings.
- If there is any sign of infection in your new piercing, please contact your piercer as soon as possible.
By using the appropriate aftercare & keeping irritation to a minimum you will ensure the best possible environment for healing your piercing.
Navels, Nipples & Surface Piercings
- Any crust formations on or around the jewellery should first be soaked off with clean warm water. A small amount of hypoallergenic bodywash or soap (such as Easypiercing® soft cleansing gel ) should then be applied to the piercing. Rinse off thoroughly with fresh clean water – preferably in the shower. Pat dry with a cotton pad or clean towel, do not leave to air dry.
- Repeat this process no more than twice daily for the first two weeks, and once daily for the remainder of the healing period. Do not over-clean the piercing as this can cause irritation.
- The most common irritation with navel piercings is clothing, therefore it is important not ensure that the seams, waistbands etc. of your clothing are not positioned near or on the pierced area.
- Lack of air circulation around the piercing can also cause problems – to avoid this try to wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Try to avoid aggressive exercise & sleeping on your stomach. You may find that chlorinated swimming pools, Jacuzzis, sun beds or saunas cause irritation or infection. To prevent this try using ‘Tegaderm’ or a similar waterproof dressing, which is especially designed to keep the area dry & clean.
- Do not touch or pick at the piercing.
Ears, Septum, Nose, Eyebrow, Earl, Outside Lip & Cheek
- As facial & ear piercings are harder to soak, cleaning after a bath or shower will simplify the process.
- Wet a clean cotton bud with Easypiercing® saline solution or a similar product & soak around the piercing & jewellery, making sure to remove any crust formation gently.
- When totally clean, dry the area with a fresh cotton pad. Repeat this process no more than twice daily for the first two weeks, and once daily for the remainder of the healing period. Do not over-clean the piercing as this can cause irritation.
- Avoid using ear-pieces or headphones on new ear piercings.
- Do not touch or pick at the piercing.
Tongue, Inside Lip & Cheek
- An oral piercing is when all or part of the jewellery is inside the mouth. The following instructions are to be used to care for the inside of the mouth. To care for the outside, follow instructions at 2 above.
- To clean the inside of an oral piercing we suggest an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash, such as ‘Easypiercing® mouthwash solution, Please follow instructions on bottle. Do not use ‘Deflam’ or any other product not specifically recommended by your piercer. Clean morning and night only – as over-use will result in depletion of normal peptide levels in the mouth. (The tongue is covered with a very thin natural healing agent called ‘peptide’)
- In addition, rinse with a mild saline solution (1/4 teaspoon sea salt (NOT MINERAL SALT) to ½ pint previously boiled water.) after everything you eat or drink until the piercing is fully healed.
- With all oral piercings there will be some swelling, this is perfectly normal & the jewellery you have been pierced with is large enough to allow for this. Try to move your tongue as little as possible (i.e. talking and playing with the jewellery), especially on the 1st 48 hours. Drinking ice-cold water can help reduce the swelling during the day.
- To reduce overnight swelling an anti-inflammatory such as Nurofen may be used each morning as per instructions on pack*. (Please note that this product contains codeine, which can aggravate asthmatic symptoms.) Sleeping with your head elevated (on one or more pillows) above the level of your heart will also help to reduce overnight swelling. If you are at all worried about the amount of swelling, or if the jewellery starts to become embedded in the tongue, please call in to have it looked at by your piercer.
- For the first few days of your new piercing eating may be difficult (especially with tongue piercings). Eat only soft foods (Lega or other baby food (mixed with water, not milk), Complan, Smash (or similar) potato mix, scrambled egg, warm (not hot) soup, rice, pasta and noodles are some examples of the types of food you should be eating at this stage). The basic rule of thumb is that it should be possible to swallow without any chewing.
- After 2 weeks you can begin to eat solid foods again, continuing to avoid the following until the piercing is fully healed– dairy foods, spicy foods, alcohol, recreational drugs, chewing gum, kissing/oral contact, smoking and manipulation of the piercing. It is also advisable to change your toothbrush as your present one may harbour bacteria.
- We use long bars in all oral piercings to accommodate any initial swelling. It is important to exchange this jewellery for a more suitable piece as soon as the swelling subsides. Wildcat Ink provides this service free of charge.
- Do not touch or pick at the piercing.
* Please be aware that Nurofen is an effective painkiller, but does not speed up the healing process. Do not assume that that any lack of pain experienced as a result of taking Nurofen or any other painkiller signifies an end to the healing process. Do not stop following these aftercare instructions until you have returned to your piercer to have your jewellery changed (at least three weeks after the initial piercing is done).
- If you are using the saline solution in addition to soft cleansing gel, this solution should be used no more than twice weekly. If you are using only saline solution, then it should be used no more than twice daily for 2 weeks, and once daily for the remainder of the healing period. Do not over-clean the piercing as this can cause irritation.
- Mild saline Solution = Approx. ¼ teaspoon of sea salt (NOT MINERAL SALT) to ½ pint water. (Water should be boiled & left to cool to a comfortable temperature before application.)
- Soak a cotton pad with the saline solution & place on the piercing for 5 minutes (until it starts to cool down). This helps to open the pores of the skin.
- Pour the remainder into a clean container large enough to cover only the immediate area of the piercing (e.g. Navel=mug, eyebrow=long contact lens case or eggcup). Soak the piercing for 10 minutes, making sure the water is warm at all times. This draws any impurities or trapped fluid out of the piercing.
- ‘Easypiercing® saline solution on a clean cotton bud can then be used to clean the area on piercings above the neck. Alternatively, you may use ‘Easypiercing® soft cleansing gel or another hypoallergenic soap for all piercings below the neck.