November 15, 2018

Piercings and how to care for them

When it comes to body piercings there are three types of people, ones that don’t see the point in them and have none, those who like them as the main lobe ear piercings and nothing more, and those who have definitely more than two. I belong in the latter group; piercings are part of my jewellery collection, style, aesthetic so I really wouldn’t change them. I have recently added a new piercing to my collection by a great ethical diamond brand Lark & Berry; who offer complimentary piercings at their store, with purchase of one of the delicate 14K earrings.

Piercings are now popular more than ever, maybe because of all the brands launching beautiful, delicate, and intricate designs featuring precious and semi-precious stones like Maria Tash (when they didn’t have a store in Liberty, they did some pop-ups occasionally, which is when I got my daith one done. Maria Tash was actually one of the first people that started doing those in 1992!) and many brands have followed suit. Most of my other earrings are from a Greek brand called Galleria Armadorowith very nice silver/gold plated designs.

I now have 12 piercings in total including my nose, and the only three of them hurt – nose, belly button and daith – but I do have quite a high pain threshold. Only four of my piercings were done with a gun and the rest with a needle, which I prefer and it’s definitely a safer way to do them.

If you want to add more to your collection, follow some key tips to avoid infections below!

Do your homework:

As with everything, but especially something you’re thinking of doing to your body it’s crucial to know what you’re getting and who’s going to be doing it. Unfortunately, there are no set laws or regulations regarding training for being qualified to administer piercings on people, so it’s really important that you look out for a good studio (such as Piercing Mania, Metalmorphosis in Topshop Oxford Circus and more). It’s a must to check reviews, client testimonials, the hygiene of the place, if they make people sign a form (allergies/illnesses or anything like that should be mentioned), wearing gloves, sterilising the needles and all other tools. In general if something seems off, it’s absolutely okay for you to leave!

Stop touching:

You got the piercing! Now it’s the dreaded healing time, with the first week being the worse, as soreness and pain are to be expected. So what do you need to do? Don’t touch it! It’s not the nicest thing to think of, but it’s said that our own hands actually contain more harmful germs and bacteria than a toilet seat, so the next time you’re tempted to give your earrings a little pull, or flick your tongue piercing, then just think about what else you could be putting into an open wound. Keep your hands away from your piercings!

Get into a healing routine:

Just as you shower every day, brush your teeth, or practice a skincare routine to keep yourself clean and free from infection, making sure you implement a similar daily routine when it comes to caring for any piercings you have so that they can also stay infection-free and healthy. Piercings should be cleaned twice a day, morning and night for the first 3 weeks, and the rest 3 once a day, but healing time depends on the type of piercing, so double check at the piercing studio before leaving, although they are obliged to tell you anyway.

What to clean it with:

Do not – I repeat – do not use alcohol-based cleansers for fighting off infection around the pierced areas. Rather than healing, alcohol keeps the wound open. Instead, find something that is specifically formulated for ear piercings, usually the piercing place sells small bottles of those. Apply on the piercing and clean around it with a cotton bud (paper-stemmed ones please and not plastic!).

Another tip; turning earrings doesn’t promote healing:

It’s a commonly accepted myth that turning your earring around will promote healing, but there’s not much evidence to back this up, and in fact, may actually make them worse because of the constant skin to finger contact, which as mentioned is something best avoided.

Know the risks of infection:

Infections are very common with piercings for obvious reasons, and will actually occur in 20% of all cases, so it’s important that you not only take the above precautions to avoid it, but are aware of the signs as well. Some piercing areas (eg. belly button) take longer to heal, so you have to be careful.

Signs of infection can include pain, swelling, redness, tingling, puss coming from the infected area, and more. If you start running a fever, feel unwell, have swelling in your limbs, are vomiting or feeling dizzy, then you could be dealing with an advanced infection and it’s important that you seek medical advice immediately.

When in doubt always ask a professional!

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