Your new piercing has involved breaking through the surface of your skin and there is a possibility that, if not cared for properly it may become infected. By following this advice you will be reducing the chance of anything going wrong.

What to expect from your piercing

Is it normal for most piercings to bleed slightly at first but this should last no longer than a few minutes. This may happen a few times over the first few days but should not be continuous and should not be heavy. If this happens seek medical advice immediately.

Everyone heals at different rates and some take longer than others to heal. The following list gives an idea of the estimated healing times for different piercings.

Ear lobe, eyebrow, nasal septum – 6 to 8 weeks
Ear cartilage, nostril – 2 months to 1 year
Tongue – 4 to 8 weeks
Lip, cheek – 6 to 12 weeks
Genital – 4 to 12 weeks
Nipple – 2 to 6 months
Naval – 4 months to 1 year

Your new piercing may be itchy, tender and slightly red for some time. In some cases a clear odourless fluid may come from the site and from the crust, this is part of the healing process.

Some general rules about your piercing

Do not touch your piercing for at least a couple of days
Do not pick at or play with your piercing
Do not allow anyone else to touch your piercing

Try not to aggravate your piercing

Avoid wearing tight clothes around your piercing
Keep waistbands away from naval piercings
Try to avoid rigorous exercise until your piercing heals
Tongue piercings
try to eat soft foods for the first few days
Gradually work your way up to tougher foods
Avoid hot and spicy foods for the first few days
Sucking on ice or drinking iced water may help to reduce the swelling
Use a new toothbrush to ensure that any bacteria doesn’t infect the new piercing

Cleaning your piercing

Where possible, you should aim to clean your piercing twice a day. Most piercings can be cleaned with boiled water or sterile solution. This can be bought from most pharmacies. Use a a ]fresh pack and a clean cotton bud every time your clean the site. Always make sure your hands are clean.

Turn your piercing once or twice a day when you are cleaning it. Soak off any crust that may have formed before you start to turn the jewellery. If possible, use a tissue to handle the jewellery rather than your hands. Always make sure your hands are clean. Only clean off any crust that has formed when you are cleaning the site as this acts as a barrier to stop your site becoming infected.

After cleaning, pat the piercing dry with a clean tissue. Always keep your piercing as dry as possible. Try to avoid using towels and don’t use towels that have already been used.

For tongue piercings, half strength mouthwash (diluted with water) should be used after you eat, drink or smoke until your piercing is healed.