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Piercing Hygiene & Aftercare

etnico have been in the Body Jewellery industry for over 30 years now and

we would like to pass on some basic knowledge of HYGIENE & AFTER CARE

Although 90% of piercing studios are professional, unfortunately there are still some who lack the basic knowledge of hygiene, for anyone who has had, or thinking of having a piercing you may find this article helpful.


The standards of hygiene must be beyond reproach and must be seen to be beyond reproach 100% of the time.

Piercing is very personal and very individual. For many people the most personal and individual thing possible. The client should always be treated with respect, given time and consideration.

The piercer should also accept his/her responsibility to assist with aftercare, if you have any questions DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK


The blood and body fluids of all patients must be treated a potentially infectious for blood borne diseases such as HIV, HEP B & C

Procedures involving penetration of skin, mucous membrane and other tissue can result in the transmission of blood borne diseases unless infection control guidelines are adhered to at all times.

Great care must be taken to avoid inadvertent penetrating and mucosal contamination.

All instruments intended to penetrate skin; mucous membrane or other tissue must be sterile. Such instruments must be either pre-sterilised, single-use items must be sterilised before use.

The most efficient and reliable form of sterilisation is by steam at increased pressure(autoclaving) Sterilisation under UV light is acceptable for instruments not involved in the penetration of skin or tissue, pre sterilised, single use needles must be used.

The use of single- use sterile equipment minimises the risk of cross infection.

Any single use article or instrument that has penetrated the skin must be disposed of immediately after use or at the end of each procedure.

Managing disinfection through boiling or the use of chemicals is difficult and less likely to be effective than sterilisation through autoclaving. Boiling will not kill bacterial spores and, unless timing is strictly monitored, and may not be effective against bacterial and viruses.

Thorough physical cleaning of instruments to remove blood and other debris is essential if effective disinfection or sterilisation is to occur. Physical cleaning must be performed prior to sterilisation and must be performed with great care being taken to minimise the risk of an accidental penetrating injury to the instrument cleaner. Rinsing instruments under cold water as the first step in the cleaning process and will reduce the risk of cross infection caused by an accidental penetrating injury involving the person cleaning the instruments. Protective gloves should be worn at all times when cleaning instruments and care must be taken to prevent any penetration of the skin or splashing of mucous membranes during the cleaning process.


Strong antiseptics based products have never been well suited for cleaning fresh piercings, especially above the neck, where they can cause serious problems in and around the eyes and ears, most of these products are intended to be used as a skin preparation prior to the piercing. You may also use them as a pre-piercing hand cleanser. These products are intended for use on NON-broken skin. Of course anyone with an Iodine allergy or sensitivity could not use these products. If a strong antiseptic solution is left in contact with the skin for prolonged periods of time a sensitivity problem may well develop. This is called contact dermatitis.

Years ago Beta dine was the standard suggested aftercare, Hibiclens was also suggested. Hibiclens caused its own little parade of problems it seemed as if the optimum ingredient had yet to be invented. Lately however piercers have had great success with many liquid soaps containing the active ingredient Triclosan. While nothing is perfect this does seem to be a very effective method, although not all piercers agree.

It seems as though every soap manufacturer produces a product containing Triclosan, Carex, and Dettol liquid soap, Dial. Neutrogena, Almay, Johnsons & Johnsons, Anti Bacterial soaps are all good, and have the added advantage of being readily available. There are also many other products out there and available. There are many Natural oils and creams one can concoct containing the likes of various mixtures including Camomile, Goldenseal, Tea Tree, Lavender and many other herbs. Please do some serious research and seek professional advice if this is the route you choose.

After removal of all the dried matter secreted to the jewellery (using hot water) the liquid soap should be gently worked into the piercing by rotating the jewellery carefully. Leave the soap in contact for only one minute and then rinse for a minute and then rinse for a minute more. Also alcohol is an inflammatory. Inflaming piercing is not good. Don’t use Alcohol

There is a big difference between Infected and Affected. In this case AFFECTED or an allergic reaction, will be slightly red and or swollen, there may be itching, a rash, a discharge of clear fluid or an enlargement of the piercing.

.An INFECTED piercing will show swelling, cause pain, discharge pus and have excessive redness.

Over bathing can also cause similar symptoms.

Hot compress can help speed up the blood circulation and bring healing co-factors to the afflicted area. A hot compress a few times a day can and has nursed many angry piercings to a happy ending.

If a piercing is truly infected a visit to the doctor may be the only responsible choice.

I hope this article helps