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Alt Fashion's guide to piercing aftercare.

Piercings can look incredibly striking, wonderful, and even pretty when they're looked after properly, a few simple tips that you can easily add to your daily routine will ensure that your piercings will last a lifetime, and help keep them looking at their best.

woman with piercings

You'd be surprised at how many people aren't aware of basic piercing aftercare, but any good reputable piercer will talk you through the best ways to take care of your new piercing, ensuring that it will heal perfectly.

Admittedly, we've all been there at times, those first few rushed through piercings that we're so excited about, we forgot to pay much attention to the healing process (as my fetching, still visible eyebrow piercing scar shows from my teens.. - ed), but a few simple techniques can ensure that your piercing is well kept after, after all, it is an open wound, and all wounds needs tending to, to heal fully.

One of the easiest ways to clean your new piercing, that anyone can do with ease at home, is to use a saline solution, to make your own solution at home, dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup of warm distilled or bottled water. Soak a cotton wool pad in this solution and gently place it on top of the piercing for several minutes to allow it to soak into the skin, then gently wipe around the piercing and dry it off using tissue. Importantly, remember to wash your hands thoroughly before doing this, you should always wash your hands before handling your piercings before cleaning, or removing/replacing to ensure that no germs enter the piercing wound.

Repeat this process as directed by your piercer to ensure that your piercing heals. Keep on top of cleaning your piercing jewellery daily by lathering up a small amount of gentle soap and cleaning the jewellery, and piercing, then rinse thoroughly. Dry the piercing by patting gently with tissue.

During the healing time it is normal to see swelling, and bruising, alongside discolouration, itching, and a yellow-white non-pus like fluid that will crust around the piercing as it heals, so don't worry if you see any of these symptoms after piercing.

belly button piercing

Don't be tempted to remove the piercing sooner than recommended by your piercer, whilst it may look fully healed on the outside, the inside can take longer to fully heal. So keep on top of your piercing care regime during this time.

If for any reason your piercing becomes infected always visit your GP and follow your doctors advice.

Once fully healed, the jewellery may not feel as loose in the piercing, this is as the piercer will place a larger gauge bar, or ring in your piercing at first, you can choose to replace this with a small gauge piercing at this stage.

If you haven't kept on top of cleaning, and looking after your piercing during the healing process, one of the not so pleasant side affects that you may experience includes the much described 'piercing funk', this is a normal, but slightly smelly, bodily secretion, you can find products in the piercing aftercare market to help ease this, such as Funk off, which is particularly recommended for ear stretching. That said, if you have taken care of your piercing during the healing process you shouldn't suffer from this side effect at all.

Piercings can over time unfortunately heal if left out, if for any reason, such as work, you have to remove your piercings, always place a clear retainer in your piercing, places like Karma Se7en, stock a full range of piercing retainers that to the naked eye look practically invisible, so you can ensure that your piercing doesn't heal if you need to remove your piercings at all.

If you've followed your piercers advice, your piercing should last a lifetime, but don't forget to regularly clean your piercings in saline solution to keep them at their best. Some piercings in more sensitive bodily areas may require extra aftercare to aid the healing process, so be sure to talk to your piercer about the best way to take care for your piercing. Above all enjoy your new piercing, you can find plenty of body jewellery for your piercing, whatever takes your fancy, be it something simple, bejewelled, UV, or decorative, but always leave wearing these piercings until your piercing has fully healed.

Images: Woman with piercings Carl Durocher/Dreamstime | Belly button piercing stockimages/