Aftercare is the key to proper healing for preventing piercing infection.
Oral piercing aftercare requires special attention. Take special care of your mouth, lip, and tongue piercings to prevent infection.
Your mouth cannot avoid contact or use, as an ear piercing could, and is in a more bacteria rich environment. So oral piercings are more easily infected.
- Wash your hands. You should be cleaning your piercing twice a day for the first three months. Before touching it, it is essential that you use antibacterial soap to wash your hands thoroughly. Skipping this step is often the cause of infection.
- Use saline solution. A saline solution is a mixture of warm water and non-iodized sea salt. When you use it, it should be the temperature of a drinkable hot beverage. Place it in a microwaveable cup and heat it in 10 second increments. Once it is the correct temperature, take a sterile gauze or paper towel and dip it into your solution with clean hands. Generously wipe down your piercing with the solution.
- Don’t play with the piercing. Throughout the day, resist the opportunity to play with your piercing. Your hands are constantly covered in bacteria and this is a great way to get an infection. If you notice any build-up around the ring and you don’t have your cleaning solution with you, wash your hands and spin your nose-ring to loosen up the build-up. Use a paper towel to remove the build-up.
- Know what’s normal. Redness and swelling is natural. Also, it may notice some pain the following days. This is normal. Don’t worry about these, but make sure you continue cleaning your piercing properly.
- Watch for green and yellow. If the painful inflammation continues, watch for discharge from the piercing. If it the discharge is green or yellow and smelly in nature, seek medical attention. This combination could mean infection.
- Look for a red raised bump. This bump can occur within a few days or months after the piercing. Not all bumps are infected but if they’re red and resemble a pimple with pus inside, they likely are. Pus is always a sign of infection.
- A manageable amount of discomfort or pain accompanied by moderate swelling and redness.
- Some bleeding or scabbing during the first week of healing.
- Clear to white/yellowish fluid that commonly dries into “crusties” around the area of the piercing and onto the jewelry.
- Mild itching or burning/throbbing sensations throughout the entire healing period.
The area of the piercing will be abnormally red, swollen, painful, and hot to the touch.
•The piercing will secrete greenish, foul smelling pus (noticeably different from the normal fluid that
If the piercing is infected, DO NOT REMOVE THE JEWELRY. If the jewelry is removed, the piercing will immediately
begin to heal; this can result in the infection becoming trapped under the skin, which can lead to an
It is important to visit your doctor or walk-in clinic as soon as possible to obtain antibiotics to treat
the infection. Once your doctor confirms that the infection has subsided, you can safely remove the jewelry
if you no longer wish to keep the piercing.
Note: bumping or snagging the piercing may result in it swelling or bleeding again; this is normal and should
be temporary, follow cleaning instructions until the irritation subsides.
A “bump” forming on one or both sides of your piercing can be a common problem for piercings that are harder
to heal, such as in cartilage or high-motion areas. Often mistaken for keloids, these bumps are usually
hypertrophic scarring. Hypertrophic scarring occurs when your body is trying to heal the piercing but
experiences disruptions, such as pressure (eg. from sleeping on it), moving the jewelry, or picking at
Hypertrophic scarring is very treatable. In addition to regular cleaning, twice per day you can try a chamomile
- Boil water and brew a cup of chamomile tea (make sure it is pure chamomile and has no other additives.)
- Allow the tea to cool enough that it will not burn you, but is still very warm.
- Soak a clean paper towel or facecloth in the tea (or you can use the tea bag itself), and apply directly
to the area of the bump. Gently press for a few minutes until the towel/teabag cools completely.
- You can re-soak the towel/teabag and repeat a few times if you wish. Doing this at least twice a day,
you should notice improvement and the bump should begin receding within a week.
Unfortunately, even piercings that have been healed for years can immediately begin to heal once the jewelry is removed. If you are still within the initial healing period, in almost all cases removing the jewelry will result in the loss of the piercing. We recommend having a trained piercer assist you as soon as possible; there is a possibility that with proper tools and training, the piercing can still be salvaged.