Getting a new piercing can be quite a nervous time, and no matter how well your piercer might explain your aftercare to you, or how much they explain what can happen, it is super easy to forget everything you’ve been told in that moment! So here is a blog about everything you should and can expect after your brand new piercing and during the healing phase!
The First Few Days
The first thing you can expect from your new piercing is redness around the area, and it might feel sore and sensitive. We’ve just created a litte wound in your body, so there is going to be a rush of blood to the area to try and heal it! This redness and soreness can be expected for quite a few weeks (even a few months), but typically can start to settle in a matter of hours or days.
You might also experience a little spot of bleeding. Again, this might only happen for the first few days, but can happen at any point of the initial healing stage. As the body heals the wound it will form a protective layer, like a scab, around the jewellery. This should stop any bleeding, however when cleaning, this scab can be knocked or pulled away which may cause the bleeding to restart. If this happens the best thing to do is clean it very gently, and leave it alone. If you experience bleeding that keeps restarting when you clean your piercing, it is best to leave it completely alone and do not actively clean the piercing for 48 hours to allow it to fully settle and seal. Some piercings, such as nasal or genital piercings, may be prone to slightly heavier bleeding. This is because there is a lot of blood flow and vasculature in the area, which increases your chances of spotting.
The First Few Weeks
You’re also going to experience some swelling! Now, every body and every piercing can swell differently. Some piercings, such as oral piercings (think tongues and lips), can swell a little bit more than a helix piercing.
Swelling can differ for a number of reasons! These reasons consist but are not limited to: temperature, humidity, alcohol, medications, and hormones. Swelling typically lasts around 4-6 weeks, however it may last longer depending on your personal situation, lifestyle and immune state. We are not medical practitioners so cannot prescribe any medications, however certain anti-inflammatories such as Ibuprofen or Aspirin may be considered beneficial to take the edge off of the swelling. Cool compresses (with cold water, not ice) can also bring down swelling. For oral piercings, sipping cold water is definitely helpful to soothe that initial swelling! Your initial piercing should always have a longer bar to accomodate for swelling, which we recommend booking in for a checkup to downsize after a period of time.
The First Few Months
Drainage and crusties! Love them or hate them, the chances of you experiencing a build up of dried piercing discharge or ‘crusties’, is quite high. As your piercing heals you might notice some fluid (typically clear or a light yellowish colour) draining from the site. This is just lypmh fluid and is completely normal! You might notice some dry ‘scabs’ around the jewellery that can easily be wiped away after cleaning or showering. You can experience crusting around the piercings from day one, and some piercings can crust for up to a year! For the first 4-6 weeks you just want to clean with sterile saline solution twice a day. Once the crusting slows down you can drop to once a day, and when the crusting is minimal or has stopped, general shower hygiene is perfect to maintain your general piercing hygiene.
Sometimes, you may experience piercing bumps, irritation bumps, or fluid/drainage bumps. These can happen for a variety of reasons, and are quite normal! Things like snags, bumps and knocks can cause an irritation bump to appear. Poor angles, poor quality jewellery, and improper aftercare are also some (but not all) causes of these pesky bumps. Moisture is the biggest reason for a fluid bump. Typically we see this when piercings aren’t being dried properly after cleaning or showering, or when wet hair is left to dry over the area.
These common and easily resolved lumps and bumps are often mistaken for keloids or infections, which is why we have wrote quite a few handy dandy blogs about them. Both keloids and infections are incredibly rare – We always recommend booking a checkup with us to confirm the cause of your issues, and we can then direct you onto your GP or a Dermatologist if required.
If you are concerned that any of your healing, or any piercing is not feeling right, we’d recommend popping to your local piercer who can help troubleshoot in person. If you are struggling getting to a local piercer, we have a great guide all about troubleshooting your piercings!