A lot of us–females–got our very first piercings at a few months old. I got mine when I was six months old and have subsequently gotten two additional lobe piercings. When I was a baby, my mum obviously took care of my piercings but I never knew how much went into keeping piercings clean until I got the other lobe piercings. In this article, you will learn when is the right time to get a piercing, how to keep it clean and free from infections, the type of jewelry, etc.
1. Type of jewelry
For ears and nose piercings, it is best to use jewelry made of either of the following materials:
- 24-karat gold-plated, nickel free. (Jewelry that contains nickel in a new piercing will cause irritation and is very uncomfortable which will in turn slow down the healing process). It can be either white or yellow gold once it is of high quality.
- Niobium is a metal much like titanium but is softer and heavier. Make sure that the piercer is using the purest form of Niobium called “999 Niobium”. Pure niobium doesn’t react to body fluids unlike silver which begins to disintegrate almost immediately so DON’T use it as a jewelry for new piercings. . It can safely be autoclaved, i.e., steam sterilization. However, niobium is expensive.
- Glass have been used since ancient Egypt so it is safe to say that wearing glass jewelry is safe once it is made and shaped properly. It is possible to sterilize glass in a steam-autoclave but the heat may cause cracking in cheaper products.
There are other materials out there on the market but these are by far the safest.
2. Tools used
Piercing gun: A lot of babies are still having their ears pierced with the gun and a lot of people typically get their first ear piercings with the gun but a lot of professional piercers are discouraging this act. This is because cleaning the gun can be very tricky.
Piercing needles: The latest trend are the piercing needles that come in different gauges and sizes for every kind of piercing you can imagine or might even rather not imagine. These are obviously be autoclaved. But if the piercer does not practice clean and safe piercing, then your risk of infections skyrockets.
Piercing ear rings: These are the ones that are regularly used here in the Gambia when it comes to ear piercings and I am proud to say I used them for my second and third lobe piercings. They are 24-karat gold-plated studs with a sharp, needle-point end. You just place it over the area, apply pressure and boom! New piercing! I will however, not recommend these ear-rings for any other piercings other than lobe piercings. This is because the needle point is like .19 gauge and the rest is ear-ring is .16 gauge. If you are thinking of getting cartilage/helix piercings, try using the needle so as to not cause trauma to the ear cartilage which can cause it to shatter or collapse!
3. Location of piercings
I strongly discourage gauging, surface piercings and genital piercings. If there are other extreme piercings that I have not mentioned, them too.
4. After care
The general rule of thumb is to clean the site of the piercing three time a day while warm water and sea salt. No table salt please! Sea salt is a natural antiseptic. You can take the ear ring out after week to clean more thoroughly and put back immediately. I say a week because for me, that was the time the swelling went down. And be be very careful when doing this so you don’t hurt yourself.
Remember, don’t change the jewelry for at least 3 months, long after the piercings have healed if it is on the ear lobe.
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