Piercing Aftercare

Cleaning Instructions:

The 3 most important things to promote fast healing and healthy piercings:

1) Keep your piercing clean; spray the front and back of the piercing with sterile saline solution 2 x per day for the first 2 weeks and 1 x per day and as-needed for the rest of the healing period. Pat dry with paper towel or dry with the cool setting of a hairdryer afterward. Wash hands thoroughly before touching your piercing. You do not need to rotate or move the jewelry back and forth.

2) Avoid sleeping on your piercing; sleeping on your piercing can shift the angle and cause piercing bumps. You may choose to purchase a piercing pillow from us!

3) Downsize your barbell; When the swelling has come down, you can shorten the length of the barbell by a few mm so that it's flush and thus less likely to cause bumps and migrate. This is done before the end of the healing period - about 1 month for lobes and 2-4 months for cartilage - when the swelling has subsided.

Average Healing Times:
LOBE: 2-3 months
CARTILAGE: 6-12 months
NOSE: 6-12 months

Initially you may experience bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, and/or bruising. During healing you may experience discolouration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals, giving a slightly wrinkled appearance.

Once healed, the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it.

A piercing may seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire healing period.

Healing varies from person to person; always keep your jewelry in as a new piercing can heal over in a few hours.

Piercing Bump or Keloid?

Piercing bump:

  • Caused by friction, trauma, poor quality jewelry and/or wrong type of jewelry
  • Red and gelatinous
  • Oozy
  • Seems to come and go
  • Goes away completely with proper treatment
  • Can be avoided by not sleeping on the piercing and using high quality jewelry that is the right size and shape for your anatomy

If you develop a piercing bump, consult with us to determine the best plan of action to resolve it.


  • Caused by an overproduction of collagen in response to the piercing wound - usually found in those who have a personal or family history of keloids
  • Nude-toned and hard
  • Does not ooze
  • Continues to grow in size
  • Does not go away without medical intervention (surgical removal or injection)
  • Cannot be avoided if one is prone

If you develop a keloid, consult with your doctor.

Cleaning Solution:

Sterile saline is a gentle choice for piercing aftercare. We do not recommend mixing your own sea salt solution. We strongly encourage you to use a sterile saline labeled for use as a wound wash. Even better, you can choose to purchase NeilMed Piercing Aftercare from us! Contact lens saline, eye drops, and other saline products should never be used on a piercing. Your saline ingredients should list .09% sodium chloride as the only ingredient. Mixing your own sea salt solution will commonly result in the product being far too salty and strong, this can over dry the piercing and interfere with healing.

What To Avoid:

Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, iodine, or any harsh products, as these can damage cells. Also avoid ointments as they prevent necessary air circulation.

Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing. Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.

Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including excessive caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.

Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. whenever possible. If you do submerge, ensure you are cleaning thoroughly afterward.

Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.

Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewelry until the piercing is fully healed.

Jewelry And Healing:

Unless there is a problem with the size, style, or material of the initial jewelry, leave it in place for the entire healing period. See us to perform any jewelry change that becomes necessary during healing.

Contact us for a glass retainer if your metal jewelry must be temporarily removed (such as for a medical procedure).

Leave jewelry in at all times. Even healed piercings that you have had for years can shrink or close quickly! If removed, reinsertion can be difficult or impossible.

With clean hands or paper products, be sure to regularly check threaded and threadless ends on your jewelry for tightness.

Should you decide you no longer want the piercing, simply remove the jewelry (or have us remove it) and continue cleaning the piercing until the hole closes. In most cases only a small mark should remain.

In the event an infection is suspected, quality jewelry or an inert alternative may be left in place to allow for drainage of the infection, if approved by your physician. On rare occasion, when the jewelry is removed, the surface cells close up, which can seal the infection inside the piercing channel and result in an abscess. Until an infection is cleared up, discuss with your physician if you should leave in quality jewelry or an appropriate substitute.