If you’ve recently gotten a new piercing, you’ll know that it requires some TLC for the first few months. A piercing is essentially a wound, and should be treated as such to ensure it heals without exposure to bacteria.
So much of what we think we know about piercings is outdated – especially if you got your ears pierced as a young girl in the 90s! Remember surgical spirits and piercing guns? How times have changed!
Our editor recently got her ears pierced at the opening of Black Betty’s new flagship jewellery store on Hout Street in Cape Town. Here are the aftercare do’s and don’ts she received:
DO use a saline solution to clean your piercing twice a day. Wash your hands before you start and use a cotton swab to clean the front and the back.
DO NOT use any harsh chemicals like surgical spirits, alcohol or tea tree oil to clean your piercing. These may actually slow down or stop the healing process.
DO leave your piercing alone (except for when you clean it). Your body heals most effectively when left to do its thing, plus, leaving it alone minimises the risk of contaminating it with bacteria.
DO NOT touch, twist of fiddle with your piercing. It can lead to irritation and infection, and may even cause your jewellery to loosen and fall out.
DO keep your new piercing in for at least 8 – 12 weeks (for a lobe piercing) and up to 6 – 9 months for a cartilage piercing before changing jewellery.
DO NOT sleep on your new piercing (if possible) as this can also cause aggravation and in some circumstances, can lead to migration (where your piercing heals at an odd, displaced angle).
“I got my ears pierced when I was a little girl and I distinctly remember the excitement of getting to wear earrings for the first time. A few years after I left school I got a second lobe piercing, and there was one memorable difference this time. Whereas I was advised to clean my piercings with surgical spirits as a little girl (which, by the way, burnt!), this time round I was given a saline solution, and found the cleaning process much better.
Both of these piercings were done with a piercing “gun,” a device resembling a staple gun which was very common when I was growing up. My new piercing at Black Betty was done with a needle, which I learnt is much more hygienic (it’s single-use, vs the gun which cannot be sterilised properly after each use) and is also less likely to cause trauma to skin and cartilage.
I was so impressed by the professionalism at Black Betty – they have their own piercer on-site, and he made me feel so at ease. He offered advice, chatted me through the whole process, and most importantly, took extreme hygiene measures to ensure a hygienic piercing.
The process was quick and simple. I left with a beautiful pair of small black studs in my ears. My earlobes were sore for a day or two and I experienced a little bit of bruising and bleeding, but this quickly cleared up. I’m now on week 5 and I’m still cleaning my piercings twice a day and being careful, but so far so good! I can highly recommend Black Betty for all your piercing needs.”
– Anien, Editor
The new Hout Street store is a visual feast, and a must-visit for jewellery lovers. Housing everything from stud earrings, to engagement rings to statement necklaces, you’re bound to find something to your liking.
Black Bettty currently has stores in Sea Point, Cape Town as well as Parkhurst, Johannesburg. Learn more about their piercing studio and jewellery offering here.
Great article I’ve learnt so much in this article now I’ll start piercing and follow the instructions
Such a great article, I have a young daughter and will be piercing her earlobes soon. Now I know how to better care for the wound
I had my ears pierced at 18 years old and always struggled to wear earrings because they just always irritated my skin. I took my earrings out eventually because its just too painful to even try. I would love to wear pierced earrings again but how can I do it so my skin doesnt become irritated all the time?