Body and Surface Piercing Aftercare

Hand washing is the single most important method of reducing infection. Hands must be washed prior to touching the affected area, therefore reducing the risk of infection. Wash your hands in warm water and liquid soap; always dry your hands thoroughly with a clean towel or paper towel. This should remove most germs and prevent them being transferred to the affected area. A new piercing can be tender, itchy and slightly red and can remain so for a few weeks. A pale, odourless fluid may sometimes discharge from the piercing and form a crust. This should not be confused with pus, which would indicate infection.


Soak the piercing for a few minutes by submerging the area of skin containing the piercing in a clean shot glass or egg cup containing a warm water solution (saline solution) (1/4 level teaspoon of preferably sea salt to an egg cup/shot glass of warm water). Alternatively wet a clean cloth or gauze in the solution and apply as a warm compress. This will soften any discharge and allow you to clean the entry and exit points of the piercing with a cotton bud or gauze. Once the discharge is removed or softened then jewellery can be gently moved so as to work a little warm water through the piercing. When cleaning always tighten the ball on any bars by screwing the ball to the right. Do this twice each day, preferably after washing or bathing. You can also use mild antibacterial solutions and soaps to wash the wound site. Ask your local pharmacist to advise you and always follow the manufacturers’ instructions. If irritation, redness or drying occurs discontinue use. Dry the piercing using ONLY fresh disposable paper towel/kitchen roll. A communal hand/bath towel should never be used. Do not use cotton wool to clean the piercing as the fibres in the cotton wool may get caught in the piercing. Do not pick at any discharge and do not move, twist or turn the piercing whilst dry. If any secreted discharge has hardened then turning jewellery may cause the discharge to tear the piercing, allowing bacteria to enter the wound and prolonging the healing time. Do not wear tight clothing following nipple piercing. Do not wear tight clothing e.g. tights, belts or high waisted clothing after naval piercing as this may irritate the wound and delay healing. Do not use sunbeds for the first two weeks, or if you decide to then cover the wound area with a breathable plaster during tanning. Do not swim for the first 24 hours following a piercing. The signs of infection are: • Swelling and redness that increases around the wound. • A severe burning and throbbing sensation around the site. • Increased tenderness and increasingly painful to touch. • An unusual discharge (yellow or green) with an offensive smell. Speak to your practitioner or seek medical attention immediately if you suffer from any of the above or have any concerns regarding infection in your piercing or if there are any signs of an allergic reaction to any of the products used. If appropriate aftercare is not followed infection may occur.