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Piercing Aftercare Support

"Less is More"

One of the main reasons we provide aftercare products at Piercing HQ is because many folks in Western culture don’t trust that their body is capable of healing a very small wound without “help”. Unfortunately we often do more damage to the inbuilt healing ability of the human body by “helping” rather than by just leaving a piercing alone to heal.

More often than not an irritated piercing results from something we HAVE done
– rather than something we HAVEN’T.

Things to avoid:

  • “Ouch moments” – knocking or catching a fresh piercing during daily activities.
  • Moving jewellery unnecessarily eg. to change the position of a ball on a ring. Jewellery should stay as still as reasonably possible while your piercing is healing.
  • Changing jewellery too soon especially for a lower quality piece.
  • Touching or fiddling with your jewellery.
  • Sleeping on fresh ear piercings.
  • Using chemicals to try and “fix” a problem after seeking advice from Dr Google.
  • Leaving initial longer jewellery in place after initial swelling has subsided.
  • Taking the jewellery out of a healing piercing to “clean” it properly.
  • And the list goes on …

So What Do I Do About It?

The best thing to do is see your Piercer for advice. If you don’t trust your piercer to help you or you feel uncomfortable returning to the studio please see this link to find an experienced Piercer near you. At the very least they might be able to offer you some advice even if you can’t visit.

Typically there can be confusion between “infection” and “irritation”. Most of this information addresses the usual causes of irritation as they are a lot more common than an infection.


An infection should be actioned without delay. An infection may show as:
  • swelling
  • heat
  • redness
  • pain
  • a yellow/green discharge

Low grade infections can often be treated with HOT (don’t burn yourself!) salt* water soaks 3-4 times each day. The hot water is to promote blood flow to the area to help clear the infection.
It is necessary to submerge the whole piercing in the hot water for 3-5 minutes to maximise the If you are treating your ear it should be rosy pink once you’ve finished the soak.If you do have an infection the safest course of action is to visit your GP to get a TOPICAL antibiotic ointment to directly treat the piercing. We see an ointment being very effective.* If you don’t have de-iodised sea salt or sterile saline then plain hot water still works well.


Piercings are usually most prone to irritation within the first 12 months after having them done; however, they can still get upset after years if they experience significant trauma.

Either way a professional piercer can normally help you, so please don’t panic. Chances are we’ve seen what is happening for you BEFORE so choose the advice of a professional you respect over “Dr Google” every time.

Poor Quality Jewellery

An irritated piercing is usually something you want to fix asap, and whilst there are solutions to your problem the irritation will likely return if the cause of the irritation is not removed. An example of this is poor quality jewellery.

An experienced piercer will be able to tell you if the reason for your irritation is due to the quality of your jewellery. This is one of the simplest things to fix with a quality jewellery change. 
Read more about our jewellery here – and see some rusty jewellery pics!

Irritation Bumps

A bump beside your piercing is almost always as a result of knocking or catching the piercing – particularly within the first 3 months of healing. These bumps aren’t an infection and are your body’s way of telling you that there is something you have done or are doing that is upsetting your piercing. Bathrooms are often where this can happen when washing, using towels, and dressing.If the bump is as a result of this kind of trauma it will usually go away on its own – if the cause stops. Try to allow more time for your morning routine so that you can slow down – that way it’s usually only a little knock rather than a pull that can have you in tears.

Conch bump due to excessive movement of the longer healing post.

Nostril bump after stud was changed to a ring too early.

Irritated forward helix due to catching hair & knocking with glasses.

Healing a Bump

  • Imagine that your piercing is fresh and return to being as gentle with it as you were when it was first done. Many bumps will heal on their own when you avoid any extra knocks, movement, or rough treatment.
  • Have a No-Pull piercing disc installed and this link explains a bit more about that along with some pictures that show the surprising results. These are most effective with stud style jewellery.
  • Benzac AC10 which is available from your local pharmacy without a script in the acne section can be useful to dry out these “pimple like” bumps. When using this gently rub a small amount of the benzac into the bump ONLY 2-3 times each day. Don’t work it into the actual piercing.

Once you’ve had a bump on a piercing it will then be more likely that it will come back if it’s knocked again. A piercing becomes more tolerant of occasional “ouch moments” the older it gets, however the first 12 months can be the most challenging if you’re not careful.The most important thing to do is keep the jewellery still to give your body a chance to heal from this trauma., 


The discharge or “crusties” are the waste byproduct of the new cells forming as your piercing heals. This continues as long as the healing process is happening. It can be prolonged if you are moving your jewellery – AT  ALL – whether that’s accidentally by knocking it or on purpose when cleaning. There is no need to move your jewellery or take it out to “clean it properly”. 

A cream coloured crusty discharge is an indication that your body is healing your piercing and usually continues off and on throughout the first 3-6 months of the healing process. Because most of us don’t like how this crust looks it can be tempting to pick it off – DON’T do that. Let the warm water run over the piercing during your shower and this will soften any dried crust so that it can then be gently removed with a clean cotton bud / q-tip. 

Sterile saline spray can also be used with a q-tip to gently remove softened crusties. If they don’t come away easily the further soaking with warm water can help.

Neilmed Mist

If your piercing is continuing to produce this discharge for longer than expected think about what you may be doing to prolong the healing process.

  • Are you eating and sleeping well?
  • Have you been sick? Upset piercings can often happen when we are unwell or highly stressed.
  • Has the discharge increased since a jewellery change?
  • Are you using anything on your piercing to make it “heal faster”? If so stop. Your body knows what to do.

If your concerned about how your piercing is healing please reach out to an experienced Piercer for help. Aftercare support by piercers is an essential part of what we do. Many of the aftercare issues that arise can be easily addressed with some good advice.

How Does My Jewellery Work?

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