It’s a Bug’s Life when it Comes to Piercing Aftercare
There’s been some buzz in the piercing community of a major bug alert by Public Health England. Most of are so blessed with piercings that heal so well that we often take the health of our piercings for granted. When we heard of this massive bug alert that is causing infections in people healing from piercings, we thought we’d go back to basics and remind ya’ll what to do (and not do) for your piercings, new and old.
What the dilly on the bug?
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the bug in question that has been the culprit behind the attacks on innocent piercings across England. This bacteria is not isolated to causing infections only in body piercings, however, it becomes a big issue when acquired as some strains are antibiotic resistant.
Also, it is not the bug itself that is causing such strife in body piercing fanatics. The bacteria had made it’s way into a generic saline solution that is commonly used by body piercers in England.
Heal Thy Self
To avoid common body piercing issues as well as infections, there are steps you can take to keep yourself free from bugs. First and foremost, find a reputable body piercer. Choosing the best body piercer for you ensures that you are off to a strong start. We all remember that kid who pierced their own ear in the bathroom with a safety pin in high school, this is not the time to revisit that era, especially with the more delicate piercings that are more often being performed, such as the “smiley piercing”.
Never test drugstore wound care products on yourself! This is a recipe for disaster as wound care products are specific in what type of wounds they treat. Use high quality products, we assure you that this is one of those things that seem like it is not a big deal, but it sure does make a difference in how you heal and to help avoid issues.
Other practices you can adopt during your healing time include avoiding baths (opt for showers instead), washing your hands before handling the piercing and keeping your sheets and bedding clean.
One overlooked detail is that your body heals as a whole. It’s tempting to think that the only part of the body that is healing is the area that just got pierced but understanding that that body as whole must be healthy for optimal healing is key. Getting plenty of rest and optimal nutrition, as well as regular visits to your doctor are all a part of keeping your body piercing ready.
Stop This. Now.
Be sure to follow the latest information available by the Association of Professional Piercers. Not all piercers, unfortunately, may be up to date on piercing aftercare. Due your due diligence and do the research on the latest information available; after all, the health of your piercing depends on it.
Some commonly used drug store antiseptics that should not be considered as a part of your piercing aftercare are betadine based disinfectants, surgical washes such as Hibiclens, hydrogen peroxide, triclosan based cleansers and alcohol based cleansers.
Other products that should be avoided are strong detergent soaps that are typically labeled as “antibacterial”. These types of soaps are way too harsh for the delicate skin that surrounds freshly pierced skin. Instead, opt for a product specifically designed, tested and developed for piercing aftercare. It may cost a bit more but consider it a major investment in the proper healing and long term care of your precious new piercing.
Some other common habits that seem productive but are actually harmful include excessive washing, excessive disinfecting and applying topical antibacterial ointments, such as bacitracin. Wash and dry the new piercing only as often as recommended and when visibly soiled with body fluids, dirt or foreign substances, such as makeup and lotions.
Steady Wins the Race
Consistent care is key to having healthy piercings. Cleaning your piercing 5 times a day one day then forgetting about it for the next 3 weeks is a recipe disaster. Just like sunscreen, it’s more than a one time job.
Testing random drug store products on your new or existing piercing is not a good idea either. Instead, opt in for products that are gentle and specifically formulated for piercing aftercare, such as the great products shown in the idea book below to keep you free from bugs. Use high quality 316L surgical steel piercing jewelry for new and existing piercings; only move to fashion body jewelry once you have fully healed and are free from pain, soreness, swelling or redness.