Home > Cleanliness > Care of Body Piercings

Care of Body Piercings

By: Jo Johnson - Updated: 8 May 2013 | comments*Discuss
Piercing; Oral Piercing; Gential

Historically, body piercing was used to celebrate milestones in a person’s life or as a custom, depending on the culture. In modern society they are used to decorate the body and as a fashion accessory.

Body piercing can, however, have some very serious consequences if some basic hygiene measures are not adhered to.

General Piercings

As for any piercing, ensure the skin is clean and dry before having a piercing. Always make sure that the technician you have selected to do the piercing is qualified, experienced and trained in principles of sterility, has single-use items and has an up to date and functioning autoclave (device used for sterilising equipment). Do not be embarrassed to ask for proof of these items, they are used to it. There are no laws stating who can trade as a body piercer, but there is training available to those who want to be a conscientious practitioner.

Before carrying out the piercing, make sure the piercer has washed their hands and has applied gloves. They should clean the area to be pierced with a suitable solution.

After the piercing, you should be provided with some after care instructions to take home; if not please do ask for instructions, most infections related to piercing occur as a consequence of incorrect aftercare, not from the actual piercing itself.

Avoid touching the piercing, unless for cleansing purposes, during the healing process. The hands and nails harbour many germs and a piercing provides a very attractive environment for breeding. When attending to the jewellery, get all equipment needed ready and wash hands thoroughly. The piercing should be cleaned at least three times a day using a saline solution and cotton gauze. Bathe the area to loosen any flakiness or crusts. If the area is becoming inflamed or sore the use of an anti-microbial soap may be beneficial.

Dry the area gently using a single-use item such as paper-towels. Dispose of items immediately.

Oral Piercing

Oral piercings carry greater risks of infection, especially whilst healing, as the mouth contains many bacteria that can infect the site. Risks include blood poisoning, airway blockage and nerve damage. Oral hygiene is especially important whilst the piercing is healing. Use an antiseptic mouthwash after each meal to help remove bacteria and debris from becoming trapped around the piercing. Include the jewellery when brushing the teeth and make sure all sides and angles are given attention.

Ask your dentist or oral hygienist for advice, and make sure you have regular check-ups.

Genital Piercing

It is not advisable to engage in any sexual activity whilst healing is taking place, trauma to the site can induce inflammation and therefore infection.

Avoid oral sex until the site has healed as the mouth contains germs that may be transmitted to the piercing resulting in an infection. Use plenty of water-based lubricant during sexual activity whilst healing is taking place, to lessen friction and reduce trauma.

Always dry the area after urinating to avoid build-up of bacteria, washing with warm water and drying when able.

If your piercing becomes very red, swollen, weeping pus or bleeding, please do see your GP who may suggest a course of anti-biotics to fight the infection. The piercing will probably need to be removed.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
(never shown)
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Chrissy
    Re: Combating Itchy Ears
    I have had this annoying itch in my ears for over a year now and I get panicky if I dont have a Q-tip, they itch in the night, theres no wax…
    8 December 2018
  • Munna
    Re: Washing and Bathing
    Want to know more about the health and heigen.
    19 October 2018
  • Saadallah
    Re: Personal Hygiene and Food Preparation
    Is it allowed to use make-up by the food handlers in the kitchen?
    27 September 2018
  • CiDm
    Re: What is Personal Hygiene?
    hello In 1/2/2014 cure immune serom drag company (CISDC) was registered under registation number 449536 with national id…
    25 September 2018
  • Saffy
    Re: Washing and Bathing
    I personally was looking for the benefits of personal hygiene and why it is important to shower and bath daily... But I mean this has been…
    4 June 2018
  • AngeG
    Re: Combating Itchy Ears
    @Racquelle - wheat is evil. I think everyone should cut wheat out for a few weeks, it would cure a lot of problems that people do not even…
    14 May 2018
  • Racquelle
    Re: Combating Itchy Ears
    For me- cure is: Itchy ear - use coconut oil and wet ear stop eating so much wheat. Coconut oil -has been amazing for the itching and if I…
    13 May 2018
  • Sphe
    Re: The Importance of Good Personal Hygiene
    Explain the importance of personal values in keeping a clean living environment
    25 April 2018
  • Broketa
    Re: Hygiene and Hair Loss
    I have trouble wanting to shower and I notice I'm starting to lose more hair, or so I think I am, I have long hair so I'm not entirely sure.
    25 April 2018
  • tris
    Re: The Importance of Good Personal Hygiene
    i tried to use milk but no.difference.now what shall i do.My face is natural.
    29 March 2018