Piercing Care / Troubleshooting

So, you’ve decided what you want, made your appointment, endured the pain and now you have a new piercing. Unfortunately, it’s been a little while and maybe your piercing isn’t looking as pretty as it could be, or it’s causing you problems. What do you do now? Well, here are some guidelines on how to care for a troublesome piercing.

Lobe Piercings

Lobe piercings take at least 8 weeks to settle enough to be changed  / taken out regularly. If you can leave it 12 weeks before messing with them, do so. 

Most irritation with lobe piercings (and in fact, most piercings) occurs for the following reasons: 

– Fiddling – your piercings should be left alone unless you are cleaning them. Fiddling can cause the backs of the earrings to push up tight against the lobe, and cause problems with swelling / embedding of the jewellery. If your young one has had their ears pierced, get them in the habit of checking the backs every day to check they haven’t slid up and aren’t pinching. 

– Bad quality jewellery – The high street is not to be trusted with jewellery quality. Often, they are marketed as hypoallergenic, sterling etc – and this isn’t the case. Often, they have a thin coating on them which quickly wears away to reveal the nickel irritant underneath. If you or your young one wants to change earrings, consult with us at the studio and we will direct you to a good supplier, or order studs in for you and do the change for you. The only metals you should be using in your ears are: true sterling silver (NOT high street), 14k or above Gold or Titanium. Metals to be avoid are: plated metals and steel. 

– Over cleaning – stick to sea soaks made up with quarter of a tsp of SEA SALT to a mug of boiled water, twice a day for the first two weeks. Any more salt in your soak, and it will dry your piercings out. Do NOT use the following on your piercings unless advised by us at the studio – tea tree / essential oil, isoprop, surgical spirit, healing gels / creams or saline wash. Often, these will just make the problem worse. 

– Changing too often / too soon – leave your piercings alone for as long as possible after the initial pierce. If you are desperate to change them, consult with us at the studio. If earrings are being taken out / put back in on a regular basis, ensure that all earrings used and hands are cleaned first. If irritation occurs after a change, do a run of sea salt soaks for a few days to settle the problem. 

Cartilage Piercings

These piercings especially can take anything up to 6 months to settle. Firstly, it is completely normal for your cartilage piercing to still be a little swollen / crusty after a few weeks. Especially if it has been fiddled with, or banged in that time (I’m not looking at you, I swear).

Sometimes, in the case of a bang, or sometimes just by chance, a hypertrophic lump can form on a cartilage piercing. While unsightly, these are incredibly common and definitely not something to panic about. First, identify your lumpy friend. A hypertrophic lump will have the following characteristics:

  1. Light pink or fleshy in colour.
  2. Often forms in a ring, or a dome to the side of the piercing site.
  3. Flaky and/or dry.
  4. Itchy.
  5. Seriously annoying.

Now that you have identified it, you can start to care for it. As soon as you notice this type of scarring on your piercing, RESTART YOUR SEA SALT SOAKS. You can find instructions on how to make your sea salt soak here.

There are various opinions floating around the internet, with some people recommending adding lavender, tea tree or chamomile to your soak. Personally, I have found a little lavender oil in your soak can help soothe the piercing, however I would not recommend doing it in every soak, as the alcohol in the essential oil may dry your piercing out too much and cause other problems. I do not recommend tea tree for the same reason. The sea salt soak is the main thing that helps, and I would advise you to avoid adding anything to your soak without consulting your piercer.

The main things with these lumps is to be patient. Keep those soaks going and avoid touching/fiddling/banging your piercing. In most cases, it will gradually go down as long as it’s well cared for. However, if you are getting to the end of your tether, or are unduly worried, then ALWAYS make an appointment to see your piercer. They will be able to have a look, and reassure you. Also, they might have some tricks up their sleeve that only a professional can do. 

Navel Piercings

Again, these piercings can take some time to settle properly, as they are in a ‘high risk’ area with regards to getting caught, fiddled with or banged. There are a few things you can do to sooth a sore navel piercing:

  1. Make sure that you aren’t wearing anything that’s likely to get caught on your new piercing, or put too much pressure on it (tight high waisted jeans / tights are generally a no no).
  2. Let it ‘breathe’ as often as possible, and be very wary of knocking it.
  3. Usually, these piercings can be quite ‘crusty’ in the initial healing stage, so it is very important to do your sea salt soaks regularly and keep it nice and clean.
  4. If it is swollen, then a dose of ibuprofen (assuming you are able to take it) can help reduce this. Please ensure you refer to the packaging and take the correct dosage!

Facial Piercings

With facial piercings, there are a few things that are usually the culprit.

  1. The introduction of make up/cleansers/exfoliators/moisturisers to the piercing site.
  2. Grubby fingers, whether yours or your children’s. 😉
  3. Pets coming into contact with your face.
  4. A dirty pillowcase will definitely aggravate things. Make sure you keep your pillowcase nice and clean for at least the first 6 – 8 weeks.

Generally, assuming you keep these things away from the piercing site, and restart your sea salt soaks for a couple of weeks things will settle down.

I hope the above information has been useful to you. An upset piercing is no fun, but with the proper care and attention most issues will resolve quickly. Sometimes, just being a bit rundown or ill can set a well healed piercing off and if this is the case (I think you know what I’m going to say here) restart your sea salt soaks! Above all, if you are at all worried about your piercing, make an appointment with your piercer to get professional advice.



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