Body modification is an increasingly popular way to style yourself and create a look that is uniquely yours. Whether it's your first piercing or your thirtieth, it's important that you look after yourself when you've had something new done — so what's the best way to make sure you're keeping yourself and your jewellery safe?
Soak your piercing every day in saline solution.
The simplest way of caring for your piercing is also often the most effective. Make up a solution of table salt and warm water, submerge your piercing and soak it for five minutes. This works well for most body jewellery, but if you really can't submerge the piercing — if it's a dermal in a tricky area, for example — make extra solution and pour it over the piercing bit by bit repeatedly till you're sure it's fully clean. You may need to gently move the jewellery a little to ensure the water gets into every part of the healing hole.
Apply topical creams as needed.
Some people find that antibacterial creams and similar are irritants for their skin, and in general they're not as effective as salt water for caring for a new piercing. Sometimes, though, they can be a useful part of your self-care regime; consider them if your piercing is difficult to submerge in water, or if you're a slow healer or someone who is prone to infections. Many body piercing jewellery suppliers sell highly recommended creams for this purpose, so check out the ones recommended by your local shop.
Monitor yourself for signs of infection, and take action early if they start.
Some redness and a tiny amount of swelling is normal, and your piercing will be tender to the touch for a few days or weeks after it's been done. Many will bleed initially, in small amounts. Anything more than this, however, could signal an infection, and it's vital to get them checked out by a medical professional ASAP. Signs of infection in a piercing include:
- Yellow or green pussy discharge
- Swelling and redness around the site
- Pain when touching, even gently
- Bleeding more than a couple of hours after the piercing has been done
If you spot any of these things, get to a doctor right away; you might need to take antibiotics or have the infected piercing cleaned by a professional.
Try to keep your hands off your new jewellery as much as possible.
No matter how often you wash your hands, try not to touch your piercing other than for cleaning purposes. This will help it to heal more easily, and keep infection out of the site while it does so. While it can be tempting to change your body jewellery right away, it's important to wait until the piercing has healed to do this — and to only use high-quality body jewellery from a reputable supplier when you do.
For more information on popular jewellery styles, visit a store to see their body piercing kits.