As Autumn and Winter roll back around, it’s time to talk about how you should protect your piercings through the year! As your environment changes, so does the care your piercings need. This is especially true for exposed piercings such as ear and nose piercings, and definitely true for stretched piercings like lobes and septums! So, how do you care for your piercings in winter?
Ear Piercings in Winter
Ear piercings are particularly sensitive to Winter – The constant changes in temperature from hot to cold, the mild irritation of hats… There’s a lot for your ear piercings to deal with! The main thing to keep in mind is to keep your ears at a steady temperature, and shield them from abrupt changes in temperature. You may have noticed (if you are particularly perceptive) that when you come in from a cold walk in the wintertime, your ears get pretty red and can even swell a little bit. If not properly protected, this can cause excess swelling on a fresh piercing. We recommend wearing a clean loose buff or winter hat, or other gentle ways of shielding your piercings from the cold, dry air. Make sure you are washing your hats, earmuffs etc regularly as they can be a source of bacteria! Soft, lint-free materials are ideal so as not to risk introducing loose fibres to your piercing. As always, be super careful to avoid snagging your piercings on any hats you do decide to wear! Every pierced person knows that a wooley hat can be the nemesis when you have ear piercings, so do be extra cautious.
Nose Piercings in Winter
The main thing that people can be worried about when caring for new piercings in the wintertime is “What if I get a cold?” The winter is known for having higher rates of cold, flu, and even Covid-19. This not because cold temperatures make viruses more contagious, but because we tend not to properly ventilate our homes and workplaces and spend more time in close physical contact with others. A cold or flu will not make healing your new piercing impossible though, so don’t let that put you off! The main thing to keep in mind is that your piercing is more resiliant than you think. Importantly – Be gentle. Blow your nose as needed, keep your piercing clean and dry, and be patient. The best thing you can do is to avoid getting ill in the first place – Keep your home well-ventilated, wash your hands regularly, and make sure you’re eating a healthy diet with plenty of the necessary vitamins and minerals!
Stretched Piercings in Winter
We will be focussed on stretched piercings in winter that are more likely to be exposed – Stretched earlobes and stretched septum piercings are the most common! Both are susceptible to that cold, dry air. They are a little more fragile than standard gauges, simply because the tissue is thinner and the jewellery often larger or heavier.
With stretched lobes, the best thing you can do is take the opportunity to downsize the gauge of large stretched lobes during the winter. This means that the piercings are not experiencing as much stress, have a better blood flow, and can settle to become more robust in the long run. The process of downsizing and upsizing in time with the seasons can help to thicken thinning lobes as well! We recommend downsizing by 1-2mm on smaller sizes (10mm-14mm), and 2-4mm for larger sizes (16mm+). For stretched lobes smaller than 10mm, you won’t necessarily see any benefit to downsizing.
Stretched septum piercings can be trickier to maintain in winter. They often wear thick, heavy metal jewellery. Although this looks very cool, this style of jewellery can be impractical in very cold weather. Metal jewellery chills quickly in cold weather, transferring warmth from the inside of your septum to the outside where it quickly radiates away. This heat sink effect is uncomfortable, and at worst could cause damage to your piercing by causing a cold burn. In the winter it is best to swap to more tucked away, subtle jewellery such as simple glass plugs or pincers. These act as much less of a heat sink and are a super comfortable way to wait out the cold months. Something that you might not consider when having a stretched septum in the winter is condensation! The moisture on your breath will condense on the jewellery if it is large enough and can even drip down your face! This is another reason to swap to more invisible jewellery.
Summer brings its own special considerations to piercings! The main things that can cause issues are the heat, humidity, and the changes in our lifestyle such as flying and swimming.
Heat and Humidity
The main things that can cause irritation to piercings in the summer are heat and humidity. On extra hot days, we can often expect a bit more swelling especially on very fresh piercings. The best way to combat this is to keep cool, hydrated, and avoid overexerting yourself. Drinking plenty of fresh, cool water is not only good for you, but good for your piercings! If you know you are safe to do so, taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as paracetamol or ibuprofen is a nice way to minimise your swelling. Speak to your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about this though.
Summer holidays are the most popular time for international flying! Over 100,000 international flights occur in the 6 weeks of the holidays, so you can imagine how many new piercings there are flying across the world at any one moment! The main thing to keep in mind with flying is that pressure change. We all know that you can swell a little bit when flying, and that is definitely true with new piercings. This is not a reason not to get pierced, but it is important that your piercer is informed of any flying, international travel, holidays etc. This means that we can add an extra millimetre or two of swelling room to account for this.
The most important thing that you need to consider when getting a new piercing is that you cannot safely swim for 4 weeks afterwards. That means no swimming in the sea, lakes, swimming pools, saunas, jacuzzi or any other bodies of water. And no, just because the sea is salt water doesn’t make it safe to swim in! In a single drop of seawater, there can be over 190 individual species of bacteria. Once you are past the 4 week mark, you can slowly start to swim again! Make sure you rinse your piercing with clean tap water or bottled water afterwards, and dab dry to avoid leaving your piercings waterlogged.
Summer means BBQ season, and BBQ season means the opportunity to enjoy an alcoholic beverage (or four!) with friends. We cannot pierce you if you are under the influence of alcohol, or have had even one unit of alcohol the day of your appointment. Please keep this in mind when booking! Alcohol can thin the blood, which means you can expect a bit of extra swelling and crustiness if you drink the week after you get your piercing. This is nothing to be concerned about, so just clean your piercings as normal. When you are intoxicated, it’s more likely that you will accidentally snag or knock your piercings. It’s all part of being a human being! Don’t punish yourself – Just take the time to look after them when you are feeling back to normal.
If you are struggling with alcohol, please look into support in your area.
It is always really important to protect your skin, however when you have a fresh piercing it is extra important. Burnt skin is damaged skin, which leaves your piercings exposed and vulnerable to infection. Not only that, but a sunburn can slow the healing process, and can even irritate healed piercings! We don’t recommend applying sunscreen to a fresh piercing as the chemicals can cause irritation, so the best thing you can do is cover your piercings in strong sunlight. The main methods of doing so are staying out of the sun, wearing long and loose clothing, and wearing a wide-brimmed sunhat!
So there you have it, some of the main ways that the seasons will impact your healing piercings! With winter coming, the main things to remember are: Be careful with winter clothing, and make sure you keep yourself as healthy as is possible for you!
If you have any questions, just get in touch.
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