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The complete guide to piercing aftercare.

Whether it's helix piercing, or a striking septum piercing, there's no single aftercare solution that works for everyone, but it helps to know how to take care of your freshly pierced brow to ensure that your piercing will last and heal well.

Not everyone will come out of the tattoo parlour fresh in the knowledge of how to look after their piercing, but it helps to just know what to do in those crucial first few weeks.

Woman with facial piercings : Guide to piercing aftercare

So, how do you look after your new piercing?

To start, you'll need to ensure that you clean your piercing twice a day. You don't need anything fancy, just a simple saline solution will help your piercing to heal well.

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 the solution, then gently place it on top of the piercing for several minutes to allow it to soak into the skin. Then you'll need to gently wipe around the piercing and dry it off. Repeat this process twice daily over several weeks as directed by your piercer to ensure that your piercing heals.

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.

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

Woman with facial piercings : Guide to piercing aftercare

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

Now that your piercing has healed, you'll need to maintain some aftercare to ensure that your piercing lasts. Keep on top of cleaning your piercing jewellery daily by lathering up a small amount of gentle soap to clean your jewellery in, then rinse thoroughly and allow it to dry.

If you've followed your piercers advice, your piercing should last a lifetime, but don't forget to regularly clean your body piercings in saline solution to keep them at their best.

Ok, so what if it anything goes wrong?

As much as you love your new piercing, we all tend to slack on aftercare every now and then, but here's where some unpleasant side effects can occur.

If you've never heard of the dreaded piercing funk before, you're in for a right surprise. This is a normal, but slightly smelly, bodily secretion that occurs when you haven't kept on top of piercing aftercare. This also tends to happen with ear stretching, so don't be alarmed if your new to this either. But don't fret, there are ways that you can easily resolve this, such as using a saline solution, or an aftercare product like Funk Off.

Woman with ear plugs : Piercing aftercare

Then there's other unfortunate problems like piercings starting to heal. This can occur if you need to regularly remove any piercings for work.

To prevent unwanted healing, wear a piercing retainer. This is a clear plastic piercing that can easily conceal your lip or nose piercing when needed. Most body jewellery shops stock a range of piercing retainers should you need them.

If you've followed your piercers advice, your piercing should last a lifetime. Just remember to keep on top of a little piercing aftercare maintenance to keep your new body piercing at it's best.

Looking for the perfect body jewellery for your new piercing? Check out this selection of e-tailers selling body jewellery on our handy directory site.

Editorial note: This post was originally published in 2014 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Image credits, in order shown: Tomaz Barcellos from Pexels | Luriko Yamaguchi from Pexels | Marcelo Chagas from Pexels