Dear Alley is our weekly advice column for pierced, inked, and amazing individuals (and everyone else too!) who might need a nudge in the right direction. Relationships, mods, or whatever, Alley's got you covered :).
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I got my one ear pierced with a double cartilage piercing about about a week ago. My tattoo/piercer stated to clean up to three times a day & when doing so to move the hoops.
They are still pretty sore & tonight when I moved it to clean it started bleeding a little. The other one is very difficult to even get to move. I do have swelling still too.
I have a cartilage piercing in my other ear & don’t recall having this much problem.
I have seen different piercers state not to touch or twist when cleaning. So which is correct.
Alley: Hey Sherry!
As I'm not a professional piercer (and my advice shouldn't be taken as such), it's rare that I'd tell you to ignore a piercer's advice... But I think this is one of those occasions that you might want to get a second opinion.
"Spinning" or "twirling" your piercings used to be the standard when it came to healing, but it is no longer good advice. Your piercings need time to heal without being disturbed. Especially when it comes to cartilage piercings (which are hard to heal in the first place), the last thing you'll want to do is "move the hoops."
I can safely say that not touching and twisting is the safe option here, especially if you're experiencing pain and bleeding. Instead - I recommend doing everything you can to avoid putting any sort of stress on your piercing at all. Be careful with hats, headphones, hoods, headbands, or anything that exists in the space around your cartilage. Be sure not to sleep on your cartilage piercings at all while they're healing up. This extra space you give your cartilage earrings will go a long way toward a happy healing time.
As far as aftercare goes - I think one salt soak a day will be fine for your ear. Believe it or not, there actually is a possibility of cleaning your piercings too much... After you stop moving your piercings around, if you start to notice more swelling, pain, redness, or anything like that - it might be time to pay a visit to a piercer (but maybe a different one this time around).
Dear Alley :)
I had my navel pierced for the first time just over a week ago. I am nervous of this piercing despite being very experienced with other piercings and healing them, as I heard belly buttons have a high rejection rate, and being disabled, along with current coronavirus conditions, I can't get out of house to get it re-pierced if it all goes wrong.
I am salt soaking twice a day for 10 mins per session, I sleep on my side, and all seems well. But I can't seem to help moving around, bending down, crouching and everyday movement you wouldn't normally think twice about! It is still a bit red, but not too painful, and I am scared that this movement will make it reject. Any ideas?
- Claire xx
Alley: Hey Claire!
Congrats on your new belly ring!
Any new piercing can be a bit nerve-wracking, so I don't think your hesitation is out of the ordinary... I wouldn't necessarily call belly button rings "piercings that are prone to rejection," but there is certainly a possibility (just like with any piercing).
There are a few things that can contribute to belly ring rejection - movement is certainly one of them... But, there's just no way to completely avoid moving your body throughout the day.
Keep in mind that belly rings can take anywhere from six (6) months to a year to heal up... So a bit of redness or tenderness is totally normal for the first couple weeks. You said you have lots of piercing experience, so I think you should give yourself a little more credit here! I think your piercing aftercare routine sounds great, and the fact that you are cognizant of your movements is another great sign. Keep up the good work on that level. If you start to notice the piercing getting angry-red; very painful; starting to ooze yellow/green discharge; or develop a smell... It's time to contact your piercer.
You mentioned that you are disabled, which is something I don't have a lot of experience with in terms of keeping/healing/maintaining piercings. If you have a question specific to your disability, you should consult a professional piercer who may have a better insight into ways you can protect your new mod.
Last but not least, we're all struggling in different ways to deal with the complications of COVID... Do you have a piercer you can call/FaceTime? On that note, IF (and this is a big if) your piercing starts to reject, your first goal should be to heal up your belly ring completely before you try getting it re-pierced. This will buy you at least a few months - hopefully by then, you'll be able to visit your piercer again in-person
I was wondering how do you deal with the anxiety/time of a new piercing? I got my industrial done a week ago, and I really want to change the bar but know I can’t, and I’m EXTREMELY anxious about if it’s healing right. I’m constantly looking at it in the mirror, and asking my mom, she works in sort of a medical setting, and I am cleaning it twice a day with cotton swabs.
Alley: Hi Jordan!
This reminds me a little bit about Claire's question above - if anything, hopefully it's comforting to know that there are other pierced folks out there that get a little bit nervous about keeping their piercing healthy!
I am sorry to hear about your anxiety... But I think this is actually a good sign - it means you really care about keeping your piercing healthy. Definitely do not swap your industrial bar out yet! It's going to be a while before you're even close enough to swap things out (think AT LEAST six (6) months)... So be patient. Your piercing will thank you in the long run!
In terms of your aftercare - I think twice a day is fine, but even just once a day should suffice. If you were going to make any change to your aftercare routine - I would swap out the cotton swabs - the fibers on the cotton swabs can actually cause issues with your aftercare. Switch to a clean paper towel and be sure to gently dab, not wipe!
Anxiety is such a personal experience for everyone, but I'll share my own personal tactics. First, knowing that I am taking the best possible care of my piercing gives me peace of mind - no bumps; snags; no sleeping on it; and practicing good general hygiene is a good place to start. Second, I'm no psychologist, but I think in general, you need to face your obsessive thoughts... Accept and acknowledge the way they make you feel, but after that tell yourself you're doing everything possible to give it the best chance of healing up, and leave it at that. After that affirmation, focus on something else or "be present" and try to get out of your head.
I have faith your piercing is going to turn out just fine, Jordan! Keep up the good aftercare.