Thursday, May 22, 2014

Piercing Aftercare Success or Failure, Education Key

Piercing Aftercare - Success or Failure is up to Education

Determining the failure of a piercing depends on many factors from aftercare to the type of jewelry worn and when it is worn. 

As a professional piercer, it is important that recipients of piercings be educated about their piercings insofar as how to care for them. This includes all aspects of management from care of the initial piercing through jewelry selection. In my experience, many of my clients are open to education from a knowledgeable piercer and willing to ask if they are uncertain. I prefer they call, e-mail or text if they are unsure. No question is stupid when it comes to piercing aftercare. Success is my bottom line for both our benefit. 

When I first opened my shop, I had an influx of customers in need of damage control. Education about aftercare and types of jewelry are and always will be of paramount importance. It is too easy to blame the piercer for errors inadvertently made when a answer is easily within reach, but forgone in favor of dismissing personal responsibility. 

Not only am I a professional piercer, but a nationally certified Phlebotomist. OSHA regulations insofar as Bloodborne Pathogens guidelines  are of considerable if not absolute concern for piercing methodologies. This is one reason I autoclave sterilize jewelry prior to piercing a customer. 

With navel piercings, it is important to not introduce heavy or dangling jewelry into a piercing until completely healed. By healed I mean at least one year of continuous wearing of autoclave sterilized, low weight, non-dangling jewelry that is both simple and kept clean. No skin irritation, no redness, no exudate from the entry/exit, no pain or green discharge. 

By cleaning,  I am referring to the use of fragrance-free, anti-bacterial, dye-free soap such as dial. The piercing should be cleaned  at least once daily for the entire year post piercing and thereafter and dried with a clean disposable paper product. Polysporins must be avoided as the petroleum base occludes the piercing from proper oxygen circulation essential for healing. Clean means avoiding the use of alcohol based products and harsh chemical cleansers that should never be used on broken (ie: PIERCED) skin for any reason. No iodine, no bandaids or other interventions. 

The least irritating jewelry best used when being pierced is titanium, niobium or bioplast. It should be autoclave sterilized prior to piercing or wear. There should be no dangling parts and the jewelry should be the appropriate size for the piercing. The wearer should not be playing with, touching or bumping the piercing to avoid irritation and opportunistic bacteria from entering and causing infection.

Your piercer should be following sterile techniques and using a sterilized needle and gloves while avoiding cross contamination.

Once the piercing has healed in 12 months time, it is important to know the skin is approx. 80% as strong prior to piercing. Repiercing the same spot may result in failure to heal.

The jewelry worn thereafter should be lightweight and ornate jewelry should not be worn for more than 12 hours. This is a key point. Wearing ornate dangling jewelry overnight may result in irritation during sleep due to changing positions and lying on the jewelry overnight. The tendency to fiddle with dangling or ornate jewelry is a temptation for many wearers that can lead to irritation and infection. 

Changing navel jewelry requires cleaning of the hands and tools used for installation and removal. 

When used for purposes of body jewelry, it is a sound choice for most who are able to wear titanium in well-healed piercings. Titanium is inert, biocompatible, non-toxic and will not be rejected by the body. Because it is non-ferromagnetic, recipients of Ti implants can be examined safely using MRI.

If you are concerned the material of your jewelry is not as stated, have it tested for verification purposes. Getting to the bottom of your piercing woes relies on many factors and breaking the chain of unknowns has more than one causative possibility. Determining the failure of a piercing depends on many factors from aftercare to the type of jewelry worn and when it is worn. Ask for information if you are uncertain and seek answers rather than blame. Sometimes the manufacturers of excellent jewelry are blamed.  Piercers may be blamed through no fault of their own and unless culpability is proven, the answer may lie elsewhere.

The solution lies in a process of eliminating mitigating circumstances one by one, and only then should a conclusion be made. Be proactively informed on the responsibility involved in selecting a piercer and aftercare education is a logical approach to avoid complications. It is important to  select  and responsibly wear appropriate body jewelry. Accountability begins with each person in this chain and relies upon open communication. Many professional piercers and jewelers want customers to to enjoy a well-healed piercing.  

1 comment:

  1. Nice shop!

    Excellent advice. It is too easy to blame the others than be accountable.


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