Piercings are a lot like tattoos—they’re a form of self-expression and people endure the pain to get them multiple times. Likewise, you need to follow aftercare steps while your piercings are healing.
When we were younger, we were told lots of things about cleaning our ear flaps when we get our first earrings. There were also advice when there’s dryness and sometimes bruising in between. Now that piercings aren’t exclusive to that part of our bodies, people should be more cautious about the shops they go to and how to properly care for their skin.
If you’re looking to get a piercing or two in the near future, here are some tips from Rachel Amestoso of Piercings by Ravana.
The hunt for the right piercer
“People who are interested in getting pierced should do their own research first before looking for a shop or a piercer,” Rachel told us. “It takes basic knowledge on body piercing to identify which shops or piercers follow the right procedures, give the right aftercare guide, and tend to their clients even after the procedure.”
Many of us are used to going to malls to get our ears pierced, but Rachel said that there are side effects to it. “Body piercing services offered in malls usually use piercing guns which are very damaging to skin tissues, especially in cartilage areas. Piercing guns use blunt force, which rams your tissues and damages even the area surrounding the pierced site. On top of that, the accessory used is too short to accommodate swelling,” she told us.
Meanwhile, those in tattoo shops would use piercing needles because it cuts through skin rather than use force. This gives it enough “allowance for swelling” and the puncture would be able to breathe.
Communication is key
Think of it as a professional relationship between you and your chosen piercer. If you’re having problems, you should be able to contact them and they should give you pertinent advice. Rachel warned that not all shops provide assistance to their customers so always be cautious. “A lot of people give up their piercings out of fear because they don’t know what’s going on with their piercing and their piercers never respond to them,” she said. “It is very important to find a piercer who will make sure your piercings heal well because the procedure may take only a few minutes but the struggle in committing to a strict cleaning procedure and in dealing with complications takes months or a year at least.”
The aftercare tips you need
So, you got your piercing/s. Now what? You should start the aftercare process by cleaning the wound twice a day—after taking a bath and before sleeping.
One of the biggest no-nos when doing this step is to use baby oil or petroleum jelly, which is advice you might’ve heard a lot. These products would actually draw in dirt and bacteria, as well as clog piercing ends. “Clogged piercing ends are very harmful because a piercing needs to be able to clean itself by flushing out body fluids. If it doesn’t, excess fluids and bacteria will stay stuck inside, causing major infections,” Rachel explained. “This is one of the reasons why a lot of people end up in the hospital because of a piercing.”
Rachel suggested to use saline solution (0.9 percent sodium chloride solution) to clean a puncture wound because “it’s of the same ph as your body. It isn’t harsh on your tissues too.”
If you’re experiencing itchiness on your piercing wound, that’s not cause for alarm because it’s part of the healing process. Rachel advised that you stop “twisting or turning” your piercing to relieve the itch. When you do that, it removes the new skin cells that were formed around the area.
As for minor infections, Rachel said it’s inevitable if you don’t follow a strict cleaning routine. “The only treatment for minor infections is saline soaking thrice a day. If it doesn’t go after three days, going to the dermatologist is necessary for prescription antibiotics,” she said. Take note of that!
Art by Marian Hukom
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