The skin around a new piercing might be slightly swollen, red and tender for a few days. The site might even bleed slightly. As the piercing heals, white or yellow fluid might drain and form a slight crust on the jewelry. To prevent infection and to encourage healing, take good care of your piercing.
- Clean oral piercings with mouthwash. If you’ve had your tongue, lip or cheek pierced, rinse with an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouth rinse or a packaged sterile saline solution for 30 to 60 seconds after each meal and before you go to bed. Brush your teeth with a new, soft-bristled toothbrush to avoid introducing bacteria into your mouth.
- Clean skin piercings with antibacterial soap. If you’ve had your skin pierced, clean the site with antibacterial soap once or twice a day. Be sure to wash your hands before cleaning your piercing. Remove any crusting with a cotton swab. Avoid alcohol and peroxide, which can dry the skin. Also avoid ointments, which keep oxygen from reaching the piercing.
- Avoid swimming. Stay out of pools, hot tubs, rivers, lakes and other bodies of water while your piercing is healing.
- Don’t fiddle with your piercings. Don’t touch a new piercing or twist the jewelry unless you’re cleaning it. Keep clothing away from the piercing, too. Excessive rubbing or friction can irritate your skin and delay healing.
- Keep the jewelry in place. Most piercings heal within about six weeks, but some types might take several months or longer to heal. If you want to maintain the piercing, leave the jewelry in place during this time to keep the hole from closing. After the piercing heals, you might see an indentation or hole when you remove the jewelry.