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Piercing Aftercare

Piercing aftercare is a very important part of the piercing experience. Remember, a piercing is technically a puncture wound. A needle is being pushed through our anatomy, causing trauma to our body. For those of us that love decorating our bodies, while the end result is always worth it, it takes constant vigilance to keep your piercings happy and healthy... Or does it?

Saline/salt soaks and warm showers can go a long way toward keeping your piercing clean. But beyond a soak once per day, extra aftercare can actually having a drying effect on a healing piercing. This dryness can lead to itchy or flaky piercings; redness or chapped piercing sites; some individuals swear by another method...

pierced girl

It's called the LITHA method - it stands for "Leave It The Hell Alone." LITHA is remarkably self-explanatory. After you've been pierced, instead of fussing around with the piercing, you simply leave it alone. Don't touch it. Don't poke it. Don't adjust it. Hands off!

While some individuals are hardcore proponents of the LITHA method, others simply use it as a soft guideline. This doesn't mean you can't let water run over your piercing in the shower or use a bit of salt soak saline to loosen up "crusties."

Disclaimer: ALWAYS follow the aftercare methods that are prescribed by your professional piercer. They are the most qualified individuals to tell you how to handle your piercing aftercare. If you think the LITHA method sounds right for you, discuss it with them during your in-person session at the piercing studio. 

medusa piercing

Why should I use the LITHA method?

Saline soaks are generally considered the #1 safest method for aftercare, but too much cleaning can actually have an adverse effect on your healing piercings.

Perhaps more importantly, even though intentions can be good when it comes to aftercare, it is more often an excuse to touch, poke, or prod your healing piercings. This is essentially detrimental to healing up your piercing. While it may be tempting to wash away "crusties" or build-up, doing so with any sort of force or friction can certainly affect your piercing adversely.

Moving your jewelry inside your piercing can damage the fragile cells that your body has been building. This trauma will extend the length of your recovery, which is especially tough with long, difficult-to-heal piercings like nipple piercings or ear cartilage.

Remember that "crusties" are actually lymph fluid or blood being expelled by your body to naturally clean out your piercing site. While it may seem "dirty," these are actually natural barriers to the outside world - they have a secondary function as a way to keep bacterial invaders and other debris out.

septum piercing

Other Aftercare Tips to Help with the LITHA Method

1.) NEVER put any harsh chemicals or essential oils on your healing piercings. This includes alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Bactine, anything with the chemical triclosan, and essential oils (including tea tree oil). More on that in this helpful blog.

2.) When it comes to "topicals," stick solely to saline/salt soaks and warm showers, but definitely avoid spraying your piercing directly with a jet of water! Simply let the water glide over your piercing. No rubbing or scrubbing!

3.) Try not to sleep (or put any pressure or stress) on your piercings at all. For example, if you are considering getting a tragus piercing, get it on the opposite side of your head that you sleep on (or invest in a travel donut pillow).

4.) There is an old rumor that "spinning" your piercings inside the piercing site will help with healing. This is 100% not true - your body needs plenty of uninterrupted time to let your skin heal AROUND your jewelry. Spinning or moving your piercing in any way can damage the fragile new cells inside your piercing, prolonging heal time, pain, and irritation.

  • A

    Hi Tammy,

    We always recommend listening to your piercing professional… But in this case, I would avoid tea tree oil. It’s too harsh of a chemical and could severely burn or damage your fragile piercing.

    Our recommendation: stick to a saline spray and warm shower water.

    Alley (Body Candy Team) on

  • A

    Very informative! Everything I thought I knew was totally wrong! Lol.. thanks for the great info!

    Amber on

  • D

    I used the LITHA, and a little Saline wash, on my nip piercings and they healed nicely.
    Plan on doing the same with my upcoming Belly Piercing.

    Don on

  • T

    what if piercer said to use tea tree oil?

    Tammy Denise Smith on

  • D

    Just got a piercing and these are the instructions he gave me.

    Diane Vrettos on

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