SURFACE PERCINGS & SURFACE ANCHOR (MICRODERMAL) AFTERCARE
Congratulations on getting your new piercing, we hope you enjoy it for years!
The time required for your piercing to heal completely varies from person to person, however, surface anchors may take between 4-6 months for the initial healing process.
Surface bars will take upwards of 6 months to a year to fully heal.
Your piercing might look healed before this time, but it is important to be patient and wait the entire healing period before changing your jewelry out, or ceasing your aftercare routine.
Please reference your aftercare sheet, or contact one of our Piercers on staff if you are unsure of your piercing’s healing time.
It is important to keep in mind that surface anchors are considered “long-term temporary” piercings.
This means that your piercing will not last *forever* – Some may last for 3 months, others 3 years or longer, it depends on how well you care for them, and how well your body responds to them, but eventually they typically do need to be removed due to rejection.
Infection is rare for piercings; however, irritation is a very common occurrence.
For your aftercare routine, we recommend cleaning your piercing at least once a day, in combination with sea salt soaks on the opposite end of the schedule.
Depending on what your schedule is like you may either;
1. Gently clean around your piercing once in the morning (following instructions), and perform a sea salt soak at night (following instructions)
2. Perform a sea salt soak in the morning, and clean your piercing at night.
Optimal frequency will depend on your skin sensitivity, activity level, and environmental factors.
If you follow this aftercare routine for the entirety of your initial healing, you shouldn’t have any issues with your piercing!
We recommend using our in house piercing cleanser PurSan, and water, to help remove debris from your piercings.
PurSan at this time can only be purchased at Piercing or Tattoo studios.
We have never found a product that worked so well to aid in the healing of a piercing!
If you are having trouble with your piercing and didn’t purchase PurSan please consider buying it.
The only other cleansers we would recommend for your piercing would be either a Pure Castile Soap (with no essential oils), or a Doctor Bronnors Baby Soap. We have found that any other soaps (face wash included) may dry out, and irritate your fresh piercings. Do not use soaps that contain Triclosan as the active ingredient, such as Dial.
These soaps are much harsher on new skin cells and can damage your piercing.
As well a mild, non-iodized (no iodine) sea salt soak is recommended to help soothe your piercing, bring blood flow to the area, and soften any crusty material that might have formed on the jewelry.
See cleaning instructions below.
Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly with liquid antibacterial soap and hot water.
Never touch healing piercings with dirty hands. This is vital for avoiding infections.
Step 2: Prepare the piercing area for cleansing by thoroughly rinsing with running, warm water.
Step 3: Apply a small amount of the cleaning solution to the area with your clean hands. Make sure to be very gentle while cleansing the area and the jewelry, bumping or knocking your surface anchor or surface bar can cause irritation and rejection.
Step 4: Allow the solution to cleanse there for a minute.
Don’t purposely work anything other than the cleanser onto the inside of the piercing.
Step 5: Rinse the area thoroughly under warm running water to completely remove the cleanser from the piercing.
Step 6: Gently pat dry with either sterile, non-woven gauze, or a clean, soft, single use paper towel. Do not use cloth towels, as they can harbor bacteria.
If extra dry matter forms on the exit points of the piercing, underneath the ends of the jewelry themselves, you may (after either your sea salt soak, or your cleansing routine), grab a piece of non-woven gauze or clean, soft, paper towel and fold it into a small triangular point. Once the crusty material has softened, you may very gently clean underneath all sides of the jewelry in order to remove any crusty material.
Each body is unique, and healing times can vary considerably. If your piercing is tender, sore to the touch, secreting fluid, or accumulating any crusty material, you should continue the aftercare regimen, even if it is past the stated average healing time range.
Sea Salt Water Soaks:
Sea salt soaks are strongly recommended once a day, on the opposite end of the day to your cleansing routine to help bring blood-flow to the piercing site, reduce swelling, discomfort, and remove any crusty material or blood that may have formed on your jewelry.
Step 1: Wash your hands thoroughly.
Step 2: Dissolve 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt into one cup (8 oz.) of distilled or bottled water. – Ensure your measurements are precise!
Step 3: Microwave your solution for 30-60 seconds, until it is warm. – Not scalding hot!
Step 4: Depending on where your piercing is located, you may soak a piece of sterile, non-woven gauze, or clean (soft) paper towel in the sea salt solution until it is saturated.
Hold the soaked dressing on either side of your piercing, applying gentle pressure, for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, discard of the dressing, grab another, and repeat step 4 for a additional 5 minutes; totaling of 10 minutes of soaking.
*If your piercing is located in a place in which a compress is inconvenient to use, you may place your sea salt solution in a (clean) shot glass or shallow dish, and soak (ensuring you envelop all sides of your piercing!) for 10 minutes.
Step 5: Once you have soaked your piercing for a total of 10 minutes, thoroughly rinse your piercing with clean water, and pat it dry with a clean paper towel.
Not rinsing or drying it may cause dryness, itchiness, and irritation.
Congratulations! You completed your first sea salt soak!
Ensure you keep performing these once a day for the duration of your healing, for a happy, healthy piercing!
Sea Salt Soak Tips:
· A stronger solution does not mean a better solution, or a quicker heal! Too much salt can actually cause more harm than good, such as dryness, itchiness, redness and irritation.
· Mix a new sea salt solution with every single cleaning. – Keeping your pre-made sea salt solution in a container for days can harbor bacteria, and is not advised.
· Do your sea salt soaks on opposite ends of the day to your cleaning, so you do not dry out your piercing. As well, ensure you aren’t doing them too few, or too many times a day! Moderation is key!
· Salt water, or sterile saline is the only additional product (other than the cleanser and water) we suggest you use to care for your piercing. – General rule of thumb: If you can’t put it in your eye, don’t put it in your piercing! (No tea tree oil, peroxide, alcohol, etc.)
What To Do:
· Wash your hands prior to contact on, or near the area of your healing piercing.
· Leave the piercing alone, except for when you are cleaning it.
· You may change the ends of your jewelry after your surface anchor, or surface bar is initially healed – typically 4-6 months after it being initially inserted.
· Dermal and surface piercings must be kept dry in between the sea salt soaks.
· Make sure your bedding is clean and changed frequently while you are healing.
· Wear clean, comfortable, breathable fabric clothing in the area of a body piercing.
· Get enough sleep, eat a nutritious diet, avoid undue stress, recreational drugs, and alcohol consumption. The healthier your lifestyle, the easier it will be for your piercing to heal!
What Not To Do:
· Do not clean your piercing more often than twice a day, as this can irritate your piercing, and prolong your healing.
· Avoid catching your surface anchor, or surface bar on things like clothing, necklaces, loofahs, etc.
· Do not dry your piercing with material that isn’t meant for single use (such as a face cloth) as these can harbor bacteria.
· Do not use materials with fibers that can get caught or stuck on the piercing site, such as q-tips, cotton balls, tissues and the like.
· Do not use soaps that contain Triclosan as the active ingredient, such as Dial.
Common Sources of Irritation Are:
· Sleeping on your new piercing – especially with surface anchors, the added pressure can cause them to reject.
Please ensure you do not sleep on your piercing.
· Dirty hands, or saliva touching your piercing before it is healed.
· Using a cleaning agent that can damage your piercing, such an an antibacterial soap, alcohol, peroxide, and the like.
· Improper aftercare routine, including stopping your aftercare routine before you are finished healing.
· “Playing” with jewelry before the piercing is healed.
· Wearing inferior quality jewelry or metals (i.e. materials which are not up to industry standard such as acrylic, or “surgical” steel.)
If you have any problem with healing we will be happy to help! We understand that since opening up in Columbus in 1994, people see us as the experts. We will help with piercings that we didn’t perform, however, understand we can only make suggestions, we are not physicians.
A physician must be contacted as soon as possible if a problem persists.
Removing Surface Bars & Surface Anchors:
Because surface piercings have an entrance and exit point, they can be removed the same way any other piercing is. Greater care must be taken in removing these.
The removal of a surface piercing should only be done by a professional piercer.
Because surface anchor piercings are placed under the skin and have no exit point, their removal process is also different.
Because this is a whole different procedure chances for a scar are increased.
The amount of scaring depends on how well the piercing was taken care of before and after the removal process.
Surface achors have a high rate of rejection. Your body can see the jewelry as a foreign object and slowly pushes it out of your skin as it would a splinter. These piercings can slowly migrate to the surface of the skin. Surface piercings will start to grow out, or reject, from the outer edges slowly in towards the center of the jewelry.
Key signs of rejection are:
Redness, swelling, tenderness, and persistent gooey discharge. As well, if you notice one side of your surface anchor’s “foot” is raised more than the other, or if your piercing has a significant “tilt” to one side or another, your piercing may be rejecting. If you suspect your surface anchor is rejecting, please visit us for removal as soon as possible. The sooner we are able to remove it, the less severe your scarring will be. We will be happy to do so for you.
Following the correct aftercare will give you the best chance of your piercing being a part of your body for years.
Is This Normal?
Bleeding, bruising, discoloration and/or swelling is not uncommon with new surface piercings. These are not indications of any complication.
Reduce intake of aspirin, alcohol, and caffeine. For above-the-neck surface piercings, try sleeping with your head elevated above your heart (prop up on some pillows) to limit overnight swelling.
Studies show non-steroidal anti-inflammatory products such as Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.) can help minimize swelling.
Some tenderness, soreness or discomfort in the area of a new piercing is not unusual. You may feel stinging, burning, or aching on and off for several days or longer. During healing there may be some itching.
Secretion of a fluid which contains lymph and dead cells is perfectly normal.
This fluid is fairly liquid, and typically a whitish-yellow color, and forms a crust on the jewelry at the openings of the piercing. This is not pus, but indicates a healing piercing.
Once healed, your piercing may secrete a semi-solid white malodorous substance from the oil glands called sebum. This also is not pus, but indicates a healed piercing.
Piercings may have a tendency to have a series of “ups and downs” during healing by seeming healed, and then regressing. Try to be patient, and keep cleaning during the entire initial healing time, even if the piercing seems healed sooner.
Tightness is normal. Do not expect jewelry to swing freely in most body piercings, even after they are thoroughly healed.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding your piercings, please stop in to the studio to see one of our qualified professional body piercers on staff to have us inspect your piercing, and give suggestions on how to continue in your care of your piercings! Happy healing!