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Piercings remain popular style statements. Piercings continue to evolve, as do the locations on the face and body where they can be found. Therefore, how people care for them naturally has changed as well.
Body jewelry can be beautiful and make a statement, but piercings require aftercare and a certain level of responsibility. Those preparing to get new piercings can work with their doctors to develop the best aftercare plan.
Research your piercing place
There are no federal regulations governing body piercing. In some areas, only certification is required. Customers want to ensure they’re getting their piercings from reputable piercing professionals by getting recommendations and investigating complaints, if any.
Bacteria is the enemy
Bacteria can be introduced into the piercing location and infect it. As a result, it’s important to avoid getting a piercing if there is a skin infection on the body, especially if it is in the area where the piercing will occur. Similarly, one should avoid touching piercing repeatedly after the hole has been created. Bacteria and other germs on hands can infect the fresh wound.
Ask for a needle
According to professional piercing artist J. Colby Smith, who has worked on many models and celebrities, piercing guns may not be the best piercing tools. It is hard to manage the sterilization of a tool with plastic parts, and guns also force earrings through with pressure that can cause unnecessary damage to tissue. Needles make very small incisions and afford the piercer greater control.
Many piercings need to be cleaned once daily during the healing period. This can be anywhere from two to 10 months, depending on the piercing location. Ear cartilage takes longer to heal than ear lobes.
Professionals vary in their advice on which materials to use for cleaning. The company Piercology recommends a product called PurSan. Some say soap and water is effective, while others recommend diluted saline solutions. Do not “overclean,” or it can compromise healing.
Dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Howe says to avoid harsh cleaning solutions, such as rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, because they can kill new epithelial cells moving into the wound and slow healing. Such solutions also may dry out surrounding skin.
To turn or not to turn
Again, advice varies on turning the piercing. Some professionals say to leave it alone, while others advise turning the earring when cleaning it — and only when it is wet. The idea is not to disturb the scabbing and avoid irritating the wound as much as possible.
Let it be
With the excitement of a new piercing, one may be tempted to switch jewelry prematurely. Leave well enough alone and do not change the stud or loop until advised by the piercing professional. Try to use high-quality jewelry for as long as possible afterward to reduce irritation.
Piercings require considerable aftercare to avoid infection or other problems.