Simplified version of how to clean & care for your piercings. If you're still unsure please read the full instructions below. When in doubt, feel free to reach out to me and I will get back to you as soon as possible during business hours.
Scroll down for full, detailed instructions.
SHARKBITE PIERCINGS AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS
WASH your hands prior to touching the piercing; leave it alone except when cleaning.
USE SALINE as needed during healing. For certain placements it may be easier to apply using clean gauze saturated with saline solution. A brief rinse afterward will remove any residue. It is strongly encouraged that you use a sterile saline labeled for use as a wound wash (NeilMed).
RINSE thoroughly to remove all traces of the saline from the piercing. Use clean water.
DRY by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products OR a hairdryer on the AIR setting. NO HEAT.
DO NOT TWIST, TURN, OR FORCE THE JEWELRY TO MOVE. Clean around it best you can without forcing it to move.
NO cloth towels, as they can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry, causing injury. Q-tips can be used, but do use extra care as they can be abrasive to the piercing if used incorrectly. Be as gentle as possible.
JEWELRY & DOWNSIZING
LEAVE IN YOUR STARTING JEWELRY UNTIL COMPLETELY HEALED, UNLESS YOU ARE INSTRUCTED TO DOWNSIZE. Downsizing (meaning having the jewelry swapped out for a shorter post or barbell) should occur with almost any piercing that is started long to accommodate for excessive swelling between 3 to 8 weeks. Helix, Tongue, Nipple, Lip, Conch, and Tragus are among a few. This is a tool to help prevent an angle change, which can possibly lead to unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, other complications, or possible failure to heal the piercing.
Sleeping directly on a healing piercing can cause an angle change. Placing a travel pillow, on top of your pillow, and then placing your ear in the opening can be helpful to avoid this. You can do most activities normally, although some piercings, such as navel, may require temporary accommodations/lifestyle changes until healed such as not wearing high waisted pants.
It is recommended to wait to swap to a ring until the piercing is completely healed. To be safe, give your piercing the full year, especially with a nostril or a helix.
From left to right:
With swelling, swelling gone, properly downsized, when slept on, when slept on so much it creates pressure bumps and must be retired
WHAT TO EXPECT DURING HEALING
INITIALLY - some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, or bruising.
DURING HEALING - You may experience some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (sebum) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.
ONCE HEALED (6 - 12 MONTHS ON AVERAGE) - the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate. Be patient. A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.
DO NOT CLEAN with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide*, antibacterial soaps, pierced ear care solutions, or any harsh products. Saline ONLY.
AVOID beauty/personal care products & ointments on or around the piercing (cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.) as it can suffocate and irritate the piercing.
Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
DO NOT submerge the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. for the first 3 months of healing. Or, you can protect your piercing using a waterproof wound sealant bandage if it can be completely covered. It is important to note there still remains a risk of infection should your barrier break. Be sure to clean/irrigate your piercing well.
*Hydrogen peroxide will corrode and damage your jewelry. DO NOT EVER clean with it! It is ESPECIALLY damaging to titanium!
Once you leave the shop, it is your responsibility to care for your piercing, and also ensure the jewelry stays in. If you have trouble or suspect an issue, contact your piercer as soon as possible. Be sure to regularly check jewelry ends. Heat/steam exposure can sometimes loosen jewelry especially if it’s threaded, so be mindful of your environment. The less it is touched, the more likely it is to stay in.
If you have QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS please be sure to reach out to your piercer for additional guidance.
Expected Healing Times
Tongue & Inner Oral: 1 month
Lobe, Septum: 3 months
Tragus, Daith, Eyebrow, Dermal, Lip: 4 – 6 months
Conch, Rook: 6 - 9 months
Nostril, Helix, Forward Helix, Flat, Industrial, Nipple: 6 - 12 months