Piercing Aftercare: A Closer Look At Wound Healing

Aidan Jones
17th June 2020

So maybe you've got a new piercing and are wondering how best to take care of it? Maybe you've got a piercing that is being difficult to heal. How long is it going to take to heal and when can you change your jewellery?
The short answer is "as long as it takes".
However, when we look at a piercing for what it is, this picture suddenly becomes clearer. Your piercing is a wound with something cool sticking out of it and will behave much like any other wound on your body.

- Haemostasis:
Your piercing will bleed! The bleeding will form a clot which dries and turns into a scab, sealing damaged tissue off from the outside world. Haemostasis begins arounds 60 seconds.

- Inflammatory:
Broken blood vessels leak fluid containing proteins which cause localised swelling around your piercing. The inflammation controls blood flow to the area, enabling healing and helps prevent infection. Peak inflammation occurs around day 3-5 and had generally subsided by 10-14.

- Proliferative:
The business end of healing. Your body is growing new blood vessels and tissue through the piercing. These new layers of tissue are not fully matured at this stage and can be quite delicate. The proliferative phase usually occurs during day 4-24.

- Maturation:
The newly formed tissue during proliferation begins to mature and become stronger. The matured tissue increases in tensile strength, though maximum strength is limited to 80% of the pre-injured strength. Maturation phases vary greatly, lasting anywhere from day 21 up to 2 years.

So, how does all this help you heal your new piercings? Simple! When a piercing is experiencing complications, it means these important first stages have been interrupted due to being irritated and possible damaged. This creates a new wound which starts healing back at phase one. A piercing will not heal properly until it has completed these phases. This is why minimised all contact with your piercing (no touching) helps to avoid additional damage. Regular cleaning of your wound using an appropriate aftercare solution removes contaminants and other debris (your "crusties") allowing your body to continue healing without anything getting in the way.

In order for you to be able to change your jewellery safely, your wound needs to have adequately matured. We call this "a settled piercing". Checking on the health status of your piercing or changing your jewellery safely is best done by someone else with the right knowledge and skills to do so.

This is where we can help!