Ear Piercing Aftercare
This aftercare information is from our years of experience as professional piercers, as well as the Suggested Aftercare Guidelines for Body Piercings brochure - courtesy of the APP. Please contact us if you require any further information.
What to clean your piercing with
NeilMed Sterile Saline solution is a gentle choice for piercing aftercare. (We do not recommend the use of any other spray product.) If you did not purchase NeilMed with your piercing, a sea salt solution mixture can be a viable alternative.
Dissolve 1⁄8 to 1⁄4 teaspoon of non-iodized, finegrain sea salt into one cup (250ml) of boiled water (don't burn yourself! Let it cool to a warm temperature before use). A stronger mixture is not better; salt solution that is too strong can irritate the piercing.
How to clean your fresh piercing
- Spray with NeilMed Sterile Saline 2 times per day.
- Alternatively, soak the piercing in a sea salt solution mixture. It is best to fully submerge your piercing into this solution for 2-5 minutes.
- Do not twist or move your jewellery when cleaning. Do not pick off any dry blood or crusting.
- Let the saline break down any discharge, and gently wipe away with a clean cotton tip after soaking.
What to Do
- Wash your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning. During healing it is not necessary to rotate your jewellery.
- Exercise during healing is fine; listen to your body.
- Make sure your bedding is washed and changed regularly. Wear clean, comfortable, breathable clothing that protects your piercing while you are sleeping.
- Showers tend to be safer than taking baths, as bathtubs can harbor bacteria. If you bathe in a tub, clean it well before each use and rinse off your piercing when you get out.
- Don't sleep on your piercing. Make use of a travel pillow as a donut around your ear for support and no pressure on your ear.
- Maintain cleanliness of phones, headphones, eyeglasses, helmets, hats, and anything that contacts the pierced area.
- Use caution when styling your hair and advise your stylist of a new or healing piercing.
- The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal.
- Make sure you're getting enough sleep.
- To help healing and bolster your ability to fight infection eat a nutritious diet. If you don’t, consider taking nutritional supplements daily.
What is Normal?
- Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, and/or bruising.
- During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish/yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewellery. The tissue may tighten around the jewellery as it heals.
- Once healed: the jewellery may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
- A piercing might seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire initial healing period.
- Even healed piercings that you have had for years can shrink or close in minutes! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewellery in — do not leave the hole empty.
What to Avoid
- Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Dial® or other soaps containing triclosan, iodine, or any harsh products, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation.
- Avoid Bactine®, pierced ear care solutions, and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). These can be irritating and are not intended for long-term wound care.
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
- Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewellery, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.
- Avoid all oral contact, rough play, and contact with others’ bodily fluids on or near your piercing during healing.
- Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
- Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound-sealant bandage (such as 3M™ Nexcare™ Clean Seals or Tegaderm). These are available at most drugstores.
- Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.
- Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewellery until the piercing is fully healed.
Hints and Tips - Jewellery:
- Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewellery, leave it in the place for the entire healing period.
- Contact your piercer for a non-metallic jewellery alternative if your metal jewellery must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure).
- Leave jewellery in at all times. Even healed piercings that you have had for years can shrink or close in minutes! If removed, reinsertion can be difficult or impossible.
- With clean hands or paper product, be sure to regularly check threaded ends on your jewellery for tightness (“rightytighty, lefty-loosey”).
- Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewellery (or have a professional piercer remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark should remain.
- In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewellery or an inert alternative should be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection. If the jewellery is removed, the surface cells can close up, which can seal the infection inside the piercing channel and result in an abscess. Until an infection is cleared up, leave in quality jewellery or an appropriate substitute.