Decent aftercare of a piercing, among other factors, will determine the success of a piercing. There are many methods commonly used for aftercare of piercings.
- Wash your hands with antibacterial soap, paying attention to the fingernails, where bacteria can be trapped. Do not touch your piercing until you have washed your hands.
- Set up as best a sterile zone as you can by washing down the surfaces you are touching.
- Make your sea salt solution - ¼ teaspoon sea salt per 8oz (one cup) of distilled warm water- in a clean glass or receptacle.
- Soak your piercing, either by putting the glass of solution up against your piercing or by putting your piercing into the glass, for no more than 10 minutes.
- Air-dry, as patting or wiping dry with a towel can spread the very bacteria you were seeking to avoid.
- Repeat this process two or three times a day for the first several months.
This is the most common aftercare method.
LITHA stands for "Leave It The Hell Alone".
LITHA is an aftercare concept that holds that if you are healthy and keep yourself clean, your body can heal perfectly well without extra cleaning agents or microbe control agents, which only serve to irritate healing tissue if overused. LITHA thus addresses the most common aftercare problem: over cleaning and aggressive chemical intervention when it's unneeded.
The only eventual external product used when you consider LITHA concept is plain water which serves to clean your piercing. Less is more.
LITHA also counters the issue of subsequent contamination by saying "don't touch." If you have a deep cut on your arm, would it make sense to be constantly poking your fingers in it and flicking it around, and then washing it obsessively? Of course not; if you do that, it's going to turn into a scarred mess. Same thing goes for piercings and other body modifications.
Some people use antibacterial soap, such as Dial, to clean their piercings. However, many professional piercers say the ideal soap to use is an anti-microbial soap, like Satin, Provon or Tattoo Goo Soap.
The reason for this is because Anti-Bacterial soap attacks and removes both Resident and Transient Bacteria from the body and if used for prolong periods of time, will actually reduce the amount of Resident Bacteria that the body produces to fight the invading Transient Bacteria.
- If there are "crusties" around the entrance or exit holes of your piercing, use a warm compress to loosen them - do not pick them off dry, as this can compromise healing tissue.
- Some people find it easier to use a shot glass to hold solution against smaller body parts such as nipples.
- When using a soap such as Dial, you will want to use the kind that does not have the special scents.
For the inside of an oral piercing the APP recommends rinsing the mouth with an antimicrobial or antibacterial alcohol-free mouth rinse or standard saline solution 4-5 times a day "for 30 to 60 seconds after meals and at bedtime during the entire healing period."
For more information see the APP's Oral Piercing Aftercare Guidelines