How to choose a piercer and heal well
What to check in a piercing shop:
- Does the professional you chose perform piercing with a gun, catheter or needle? (visible on social networks or Google photos most often) – explanations and details below.
- What type of inital jewelry does they use ? The material is essential, there are only 3 materials well assimilated by the body: titanium ASTM-F136,surgical steel ASTM-F138 and 14k or 18k gold – explanations and details below.
- Is the shop clean, does the pro uses all the necessary protections and are the hygiene standards respected? (Mostly visible only on site)
These three aspects will allow the act itself to be performed in the best conditions. However, it does not totally guarantee the success of the piercing because techniques used play an important role. A professional will always explain what is feasible or not depending on your morphology because we can not always get the desired piercings (industrial and navel for example). Healing will then depend largely on your lifestyle and daily habits.
Below is a short video detailing why needle piercing is preferred.
The choice of catheter is not really the safest of methods, but it makes the work easier for the pro and reduces the time of installation. The extra thickness created during the insertion of the catheter and then the jewel will inevitably cause lesions that your body will have to repair and will cause a longer healing time.
The choice of needle or blade is much more advantageous for the customer. The piercing will be made to the exact size of your piercing => faster healing. But it requires a proper knowledge of this technique by your professional.
Let’s make a quick side note about the STUDEX gun or system, used at jewelers or in chain stores like Claire’s. It is a very violent method for the skin that has no place in the world of piercing. It is exactly just like forcing the jewel into the lobe skin, or worse, into the cartilage.
Many customers of these stores describe phantom pain, even after the healing process is complete, and for others, cartilage breakage (a surgical operation is then almost mandatory). The jewel is systematically of poor quality, made from stainless steel or surgical steel (explanations and details below).
4 materials are commonly used by your piercers: titanium, gold, surgical steel and Bioflex. Let’s look at the qualities of each, starting with the most reliable:
ASTM-F136 (implantable) titanium is an ideal metal for first-time placement. The mention ASTM F136 is a guarantee of qualityboth in terms of the finish of the jewel and its composition (nickel free). This material can be anodized to create different colors without degrading the quality of the jewelry.
Solid gold (yellow, pink or white) is appropriate for first-time piercings if it is 14 or 18 karat, nickel and cadmium free and biocompatible. Gold over 18 karat is too malleable and can easily be scratched or damaged. Gold-plated jewelry are not appropriate for first-time piercing. They can easily wear out or chip and expose the metal underneath which is not necessarily of good quality (however gold plating on ASTM-F136 titanium is ok)
Surgical steel is not recommended because we cannot be sure of its composition. Most professional piercers use low quality steel that can contain many allergens, unless it is clearly marked with ASTM-F138. Poor quality steel is visibily much rough and without certification cannot be guaranteed without risks.
Bioflex, derived from plastic, is not recommended by the APP (Association of Professional Piercers). The composition as well as the quality of the finish do not allow an optimal use for fresh piercing. In addition, Bioflex degrades quickly. It is recommended to change it every month to avoid any health risks.
There are 3 types of piercings: externally threaded, internally threaded, and threadless (see below)
External threading is the most common and much less expensive. During the passage of the thread, the skin will be damaged. Often, it is also assimilated to a composition of poor quality with a possible presence of allergens and a finish of poor quality as written in the previous paragraph. Avoid it.
The internal threading is much less common, rather used by a panel of professionals attentive to the needs, welfare and expectations of their customers. This type of piercing is distinguished by an internal screw thread and is made of quality materials. Because it is more complex to produce, it is often associated with a much better quality of finish.
Threadless jewelry have no thread. The slightly curved pin enters the labret, and allows a strong hold and an easy setting by the pro. During installation, there is less handling and therefore less inflammation. In case of strong swelling during the healing process, it allows an easy removal, without the need to use a clamp. Just like internal threading, it is synonymous of quality!
Following your piercing, some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness or bruising may be present and is normal for a few days. You may then experience some itching, secretion of a whitish yellow fluid (lymph and not pus) which is part of the normal healing process. These secretions allow the formation of scabs. Do not remove/scrape or rotate/move the jewelry with dry scabs, as this encourages the appearance of cutaneous outgrowths by stimulating the scar tissue.
Unless there is a problem with the size, shape, or material of the original jewelry, it is recommended that you keep your original jewelry for the duration of the healing process.It is recommended that you see your piercer again after one month to adjust the size of the jewelry if necessary. Consult a qualified piercer to make any necessary jewelry changes while you are healing. A piercing may appear to be healed before the healing process is complete. The tissue heals from the outside in and although it may appear visually healed, the inside is still fragile.
Be patient and continue to clean throughout the healing period.
Just got pierced and not sure whats coming next ? Here is a routine and advices for all your piercings, certified by the APP (Association of Professional Piercers). Saline solution is THE go-to solution for your piercing and will be your best friend for a few months. In the table below, you will find out how long it takes for your piercing to be completely healed (this figure is an average, it may differ from one person to another).
Once healed, cleaning your piercings should be part of your hygiene routine, or normal but sometimes smelly body secretions may accumulate. Simply clean with saline solution.
It is recommended to perform the treatments during or after the shower. Scabs and other small residues will come off more easily thanks to the humidity. Showers are safer than baths, which can harbor many bacterias.
ROUTINE, 1 to 2 times a day:
- WASH your hands thoroughly before cleaning or touching your piercing. Choose a PH Neutral soap, without coloring agent, without perfume. Gently lather around your piercing.
- RINSE thoroughly to remove all traces of soap. It is not recommended to move/rotate your piercing.
- DRY when clean, by gently patting the area with a clean, dry non-woven pad. Cloth towels can harbor bacterias and cling to your jewelry. It is also not recommended to use cotton swabs, as cotton fibers can settle and alter your healing.
THE MISTAKES WE ALL MAKE:
NEVER DISINFECT AN UNINFECTED PIERCING. Therefore, do not use Betadine, hydrogen peroxide, only saline (attention: do not confuse an infection with swelling / production of lymph which are normal the days following the piercing or if you hit your piercing by mistake)
- Do not use alcohol, biseptin, antibacterial soaps or any other aggressive products, as they can cause damage to the cells. Also avoid ointments and petroleum jelly, as they prevent the air circulation necessary for healing.
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing process and irritate your piercing.
- Avoid as much as possible traumas such as rubbing your clothes, glasses, headphones, playing with your jewel and too vigorous cleaning. This can lead to excessive scar tissue formation (overgrowths), jewelry migration, prolonged healing and other complications.
- Avoid any oral contact, rough contact or contact with body fluids near your piercing during healing.
- Avoid stress and drug use, including caffeine, nicotine and alcohol.
- Avoid immersing the piercing in unsafe water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. or protect your piercing with a waterproof bandage (available in pharmacies). If this is not possible, consider cleaning them with saline after you leave.
- Avoid all cosmetics and personal care products on or around the piercing, including cosmetics, lotions and sprays, etc.
- Do not hang things in your jewelry until the piercing has completely healed.
- Sleeping directly on a healing cartilage piercing can cause irritation and even changes in the angle of the piercing. Place a travel pillow (see Special Areas) on your pillow, then sleep on it (you’ll see the difference, I promise!).
- Making your own mixture of water and sea salt will dry out the piercing and slow down the healing process and is not recommended. Contact lens solutions, eye drops and other products should never be used.
Consult your piercer for an alternative if your jewelry must be temporarily removed, for example for a medical procedure. ASTM-F136 titanium is authorized, as it is non-ferromagnetic, for many medical examinations such as MRI etc. to be discussed with the practitioner. BEWARE, cheap jewelry can be really dangerous.
Good hygiene and good habits will help you tremendously in your healing process. You will find many tips in the “Special areas” section. If, despite your care, you develop a growth, another dedicated tutorial will soon be available on the Maedusa blog.
Face and ear lobe /cartilage :
Our first useful tip will be to get a travel pillow (see below).
It will be useful for ALL your ear piercings and will change your life! For better hygiene, you can also use the t-shirt trick to keep your pillow clean at all times. Dress your pillow in a large, clean T-shirt and turn it inside out every night and change it. Pay attention to the cleanliness of your phone, earphones, glasses, headphones and anything else that comes in contact with the pierced area.
Be careful when you style your hair. Do not hesitate to inform your hairdresser of a new piercing or a piercing in the process of healing. Speaking up can really save you a lot of trouble.
Sports bras can provide you with protection, support and a comfortable feel, especially when sleeping. Be careful of snagging and initially avoid wearing clothes with too large mesh.
- Genital piercings (especially the triangle, Prince Albert, Ampallang and Apadravyas) may bleed during the first few days. Be prepared. Additional cleaning after urinating is not necessary (urine is sterile).
- Wash your hands before touching (or near) a healing piercing.
- In most cases, you can have sex whenever you feel ready, but maintaining hygiene is more than essential. All sexual activities should be gentle during the healing period.
- Use barriers such as condoms, dental dams, etc. to avoid contact with your partners’ body fluids, even in long-term monogamous relationships. (We had to to write it, but your are free to do as you please)
- Use water-based lubricants during this period, not saliva.
- After sexual intercourse, rinsing with saline is strongly recommended during the healing period.
Surface Piercing :
- These piercings require maintenance throughout their life. Saline rinses and/or frequent showers are helpful in removing the tiny secretions that accumulate.
- Avoid applying makeup to this type of piercing even after it has healed.
- Even with proper care, surface piercings can reject.