Advice for fuss-free piercings

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Having ripped out my nose stud surfing and having had to put an earring in it for a few hours (not recommended unless in an emergency for a short period of time!), I then had to re-do the stud myself having only had it in just over a month. Eek! It's made me a bit more confident in switching out now though, and as I bought a nose ring in Cornwall I thought I'd take advantage of this and quickly cut it to size.

I always err on the side of caution with piercings; I like to make sure the money, pain and cleaning were worth it, and I'm not a brilliant healer piercing-wise as my body has issues with over-sensitivity in general. Unfortunately the piercing hasn't reacted too well to the trauma and has started forming a keloid (you can see it if you look closely at the picture), which is something I had a problem with for a couple of my ear piercings - however a few piercings later and they've all healed up.

First off, the basics: before you get pierced, make sure you're comfortable with the shop and the piercer; don't go somewhere you don't feel completely happy letting someone put a needle through your skin! Check out reviews thoroughly, make sure the place looks clean and they're using sterile equipment. Your piercing should never be done with a gun in any location which isn't an ear lobe. Don't take any kind of aspirin for a week beforehand, don't drink alcohol before you go, and try not to have an empty stomach. If you feel faint or dizzy, or are worried about it - tell your piercer.

After piercing, the advice I swear by is as follows:

»   do not take the jewellery out while healing or if it looks infected
This irritates the piercing and gives bacteria easier entry into the piercing. If this then heals up, bacteria can become trapped inside the now-closed piercing and then form a nasty kind of abscess, which can be incredibly painful and unpleasant to get rid of! Even if this doesn't happen, putting your jewellery back in can re-irritate the skin lining the 'tunnel' of the piercing. Only take the jewellery out if your piercing has reached the stage where you have to go to the doctors and they advise you to remove it.

»   wash the piercing gently with salt water twice a day (not more)
Salt is a natural steriliser and does wonders for piercings. However if you over-wash the piercing the prolonged exposure to salt can irritate the piercing; twice a day is the reccommended amount. Do not use hydrogen peroxide (which strikes me as a stupid idea anyway, after studying it in Chemistry and it being the active ingredient in bleach) or rubbing alcohol because a) it stings like hell, and not in a painful-but-good-for-you way and b) it's really horrible for piercings generally because they're sensitive, being created by a massive thick needle and lots of force and then being made to heal open.

»   don't fiddle with it
Nice bacteria on your hands for the piercing to get infected with. If you need to touch it, wash your hands thoroughly first but avoid it where possible. Also don't worry about turning the jewellery too much for the first couple of months, as it can irritate the piercing. Clean any fluid away with a cotton bud and salt water, don't pick it. Leave it to heal by itself.

»   use high quality jewellery
Keloids are the body forming scar tissue in reaction to the piercing or trauma (like my ripping my jewellery out by mistake), but are worsened by bad quality jewellery. Only use titanium, high carat gold or surgical steel until the piercing is completely healed, and if you get an infection make sure you have these in. Plated jewellery can end up giving you a greeny-black rim to the piercing (like you get after over-wearing a Topshop ring!) except it's sometimes permanent. Ew.

»   don't squeeze it if it looks like a pimple or lump.
Asking for trouble. Yes, it's oh-so-tempting, and kind of satisfying (no? just me?) but it creates a new wound to get infected. If it's that bad, go to the doctor - they might think you need antibiotics to sort any infection you may have picked up, and they may even get rid of it for you properly. Doctor knows best! If there's any liquid coming out by itself, just use salty water and a cotton bud to clean it away.

Does anyone else have problems with healing, or any special tips that have worked for you?


  1. Great tips (i'm bookmarkin' for when I get pierced). My best friend always has trouble with piercings and her main love was salt water.

  2. I don't have any piercings :/ You look so bloody beautiful with a nose ring!