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Available Gauge Sizes:

20 gauge 18 gauge
16 gauge 14 gauge
12 gauge 10 gauge
8 gauge 6 gauge
4 gauge 2 gauge
0 gauge 00 gauge
000 gauge 1/2 inch
9/16 inch 5/8 inch
3/4 inch 7/8 inch
1 inch 1 1/4 inch

 

Body Piercing Aftercare

Cleaning & Care of Body Piercing Jewelry:

      Montana Body Art, Inc. recommends cleaning & sterilizing all new body piercing jewelry before wearing it--regardless of the source. Due to the nature of this type of jewelry, infections are not only common, but potentially severe and easily avoidable. In pursuit of our mission of providing industry leading customer service, we have decided to include a section which not only outlines the proper cleaning technique, but to also dispell some common misconceptions and myths about the care of body piercing jewelry.

      Body piercings, because of their very nature, take an incredibly long time to heal and are extremely prone to bacterial infections and allergic reactions. Healing times for body piercings can vary considerably depending on many factors ranging from the location of the piercing to variations in individual physiological factors; they can also be lengthened by infections or other irritations. Some of the average healing times for body piercings include:

  • eyebrow piercings: 8 weeks
  • ear lobe piercings: 8 weeks 
  • ear cartilidge piercings: up to 1 year
  • tongue piercings: 4 weeks
  • navel piercings: often more than 1 year
  • nipple piercings: 6 months
  • female genatalia piercings: 10 weeks
  • male genatalia piercings: 6 months
  • nostril piercings: 4 months
  • septum piercings: 8 months
  • lip piercings: 3 months

      These healing times are averages and can quite commonly be as much as 2 or three times as long! With this in mind, the necessity of cleanliness becomes quite obvious. Although it is impossible to completely eliminate the possibility of a bacterial infection in a body piercing, a little bit of proper care and some common sense can greatly reduce the risks involved.

      Before wearing your new body piercing jewelry, and in fact before wearing any body piercing jewelry, Montana Body Art, Inc. recommends taking steps to make sure that the jewelry is free from bacteria which could cause an infection. There are many varying opinions on the proper methods for cleaning body piercing jewelry--many of these are either dangerous, ineffective, or likely to damage your jewelry. The method we recommed is quite simple and highly effective (it will kill up to 99.99% of bacteria). There is no special equipment required and there is no danger of injury to yourself or damage to your piercing jewelry.

      All body piercing jewelry should be washed in WARM water with an anti-bacterial handsoap for a period of 3 minutes immediately prior to being inserted in the piercing. While any high quality anti-bacterial handsoap will do you should try to avoid any which contain ingredients such as moisturizers or fragrances as these ingredients can be a source of irritation. The best choices are: Technicare, Satin, or Provon brand soaps which are available at most medical or home health care suppliers and many pharmacies or department stores. This simple yet effective sterilization procedure is every bit as effective as more extreme techniques without the dangers associated with other methods. It is recommended not only by jewelry manufacturers, but is considered very effective by the American Medical Association. The soap should be a high quality anti-bacterial soap and should be free from other unnecessary ingredients such as: fragrances, moisurizers, or deodorants.

      Montana Body Art, Inc. does not recommend the use of other methods for cleaning / sterilizing body piercing jewelry due to the risks involved. Some of the common methods which we specifically recommend against include: submersion in boiling water, the use of isopropyl alcohol or other harsh chemicals, and autoclave. Since the results obtauned by using these methods does not substantially reduce the risk of bacterial infection as compared to simply washing in warm water with an anti-bacterial handsoap, we feel that the risks to both the individual and / or the jewelry are not justified. Even when performed properly, eliminating the risk to the individual, many types of body piercing jewelry are not designed to withstand the extreme conditions which are posed by these types of methods.

Body Piercing After Care:

      In addition to making sure that your body piercing jewelry is properly cleaned and disinfected before wearing, proper care of the actual piercing itself is necessary to speed the healing process and to minimize the chance of infection. While the exact aftercare will vary somewhat depending on the piercing, and it would be next to impossible to cover all possible body piercings individually, we will provide a general overview on the aftercare process for body piercings in general and give some specific variances on a few of the more common piercings which require aftercare different from others. 

      Keeping your new piercing clean and free from infection is not only obviously important, but it is relatively easy if you follow our simple piercing aftercare guidelines and mix in a bit of common sense. Aside from the cleaning, disinfecting, and healing promoting procedures which we will present shortly, taking care to reduce irritation to your new piercing is every bit as important. 

      While your body piercing is healing, extra care should be taken to prevent irritation. The first thing that the newly pierced individual should consider is the effects of articles of clothing which may apply pressure to, rub, or otherwise irritate a piercing. If your piercing is in a place that will be covered by clothing, it is important to consider the effects of the clothing worn on the healing process and to dress accordingly. It is a good idea to wear loose fitting clothes made of non-irritating material such as cotton. Tight fitting or rough clothing such as wool should be avoided to aid in healing and reduce local irritation. A common problem in this area arises when high cut jeans are worn with a new navel piercing causing a constant source of pressure and irritation to the piercing. Low cut or hip hugger style jeans are a much better choice.

      Some other things to avoid while your piercing is in the healing stage include: sleeping on the location of the piercing, rough housing or other activities which will potentially bump, rub, or otherwise irritate the piercing site, and getting into public pools or hot tubs. Not only will the presence of chlorine in pools and hot tubs irritate and retard the healing of a new piercing but, despite the presence of chlorine, pools and hot tubs are a source of bacteria which will almost certainly lead to infection.

      Most body piercings can easilly be kept clean with the use of a high quality anti-bacterial handsoap such as Technicare, Satin, or Provon. These brands, particularly Technicare, are the handsoaps of choice for most physicians and hospitals. They are readily available from most medical supply houses or home health care suppliers and are also available from many leading pharmacies and department stores. Whatever brand of anti-bacterial handsoap you decide to use, it is important to avoid any which contain unnecessary ingredients such as moisturizers or fragrances which will be likely to irritate the piercing in many people.

      Cleaning the piercing with anti-bacterial soap should be done twice a day with warm water. Before cleaning the piercing, it is important to first wash your hands in warm water using the same type of anti-bacterial handsoap for a period of at least 3 minutes to remove any bacteria and other contaminants from the hands. Cleaning your piercing in, or immediately after getting out of, a hot shower is a good practice. Not only will the running water help to remove loosened contaminants, but the steam from the shower helps to soften both the skin and the crust which has probably formed on your piercing jewelry.

      As a normal part of the healing process, a white to yellow discharge will be released from the piercing hole. This substance is composed of a combination of dead cells and plasma and is one of the body's natural defenses against infection. It is this normal discharge which dries and builds up as a crust on the jewelry. Although it is beneficial to the healing process while being secreted in the liquid form, the resulting crust needs to be removed several times per day as it will be a breeding ground for bacteria which could ultimately lead to an infection. Remember, a;though the secretion is a normal part of healing, the foreign object (your jewelry) is not natural and special care needs to be given. The process of removing this crusty buildup begins with softening it by either taking a hot shower or placing a clean washcloth dampened with warm water on it for several minutes. Once the crust has been softened enough to be removed easily, some disposable instrument such as a Q-tip or tissue should be used to completely remove the crust. Be sure and turn and move your piercing ring to allow you to get all of the crust off.

      Once the crust has been removed, the piercing itself should be cleaned with warm water and an anti-bacterial handsoap. Work up a rich lather in your hands and scrub the area thoroughly but gently for several minutes. During this process you should turn and move your jewelry as much as possible to aid in cleaning inside the piercing as well as outside. Following several minutes of cleaning, rinse with clear water while continuing the process of turning the jewelry in the piercing.

      The last recommended step in caring for your body piercing during the healing process is a sea salt soak immediately after cleaning. This process aids in the healing process and enhances the body's natural ability to heal and fight infection. To perform the sea salt soak, you should dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt (available at health food and most grocery stores as well as many pharmacies) in 8 ounces of warm water. Stir the mixture until the salt is completely dissolved. A disposable paper cup makes an excellent application tool and the pierced area can either be dangled into or the cup tipped and held against it depending on the location of the body piercing. This beneficial sea salt soak should last for 5 to 10 minutes and should be done at least once per day until the piercing is fully healed. Following the sea salt soak (or the washing if you are not doing the recommended sea salt soak) you should gently pat the area dry with a disposable paper towel. Using a hand towel is not recommended as they usually harbor bacteria and a simple paper towel is more sterile and readilly available.

      Now that you know what you should do to care for your new unhealed body piercing, it seems only fitting to tell you what you should not do. A very common practice which seems logical at first thought but is actually a very bad idea is the use of common antibiotic ointments such as Neosporin or Neomycin. These ointments are very useful for their purpose (surface cuts & scrapes), but can be more harm than good when used for a body piercing. These types of ointments are petroleum based and will likely irritate the sensitive tissue in and around your piercing and can actually increase the chance of infection or other problems. You should also avoid such common mistakes as the use of: isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Betadine, or other similar home remedies. The tissue in and around your piercing is very sensitive and these types of products will be more of an irritant than an aid to healing.

      While the above procedure is fairly universal and applies to most types of body piercing, oral piercings such as: tongue piercings, labret piercings, and lip piercings need a slightly different approach. Rather than the use of anti-bacterial handsoaps for the piercings (the reasons should be quite obvious), a much better and tastier solution is to use a medical / dental grade oral rinse such as Tech 2000 or Biotene. If you do not have access to these professional type products, most any common oral antiseptic rinse such as Betadine or Hexetidine will work just as well. If you elect to use one of the oral antiseptics to clean your oral piercing, we recommend diluting it to a 50/50 mix of the antiseptic and water to reduce the strength and make the application less irritating. Whatever rinse you choose, you should rinse 3 times per day for no less than 30 seconds per session. It should be noted here that common mouthwash is not recommended and should be avoided while your oral piercing is healing. Finally, to care for your oral piercing it becomes more important than ever to brush your teeth after every meal (at least 3 times per day) to help keep the mouth clean and reduce the chances of small bits of food getting into the piercing. It is also recommended to GENTLY brush the jewelry itself while brushing your teeth--this will cut down on plaque buildup on the jewelry and promote healing.


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