Providing proper care for a new piercing is very important to avoid infection and ensure the wound can heal properly. Lip or mouth piercings require special attention because bacteria in and around the mouth can increase the risk of infection. In addition, piercing can also increase your risk of transmitting certain diseases, and the jewelry you wear can cause problems with your teeth and gums. In order for your lip piercing to heal properly, you need to take care of it, keep it dry and clean, not touch it, and avoid certain foods and activities.
Part 1 of 3: Preparing for a Lip Piercing
Step 1. Understand what will happen
Lip piercing can be very painful and may cause bleeding. The surrounding area may be painful, swollen, and bruised for a few days afterward. Lip piercings may take between 6-10 weeks to fully heal. So, be prepared to clean it several times a day during this time, as well as provide regular maintenance afterwards.
Step 2. Purchase cleaning kits beforehand
Cleaning a lip piercing is fairly easy, but requires non-iodized salt, an alcohol-free mouthwash, and a mild, fragrance-free soap. Also prepare a new soft-bristled toothbrush in place of the old toothbrush after you get pierced.
Step 3. Recognize the signs of infection
Before getting your lips pierced, understand the signs of infection to look out for. Symptoms include discharge of pus, green or yellow discharge, a tingling sensation or numbness around the piercing site, fever, severe pain, redness, and swelling.
Leave the jewelry in the piercing if you suspect an infection. However, seek medical attention immediately
Step 4. Know the signs of an allergic reaction
Jewelry often contains nickel, which is an allergen for many people. Allergy symptoms may begin to appear between 12-48 hours, including itching, swelling, scaly or peeling skin, redness, rash, and dry skin.
Your lip piercing won't heal properly if you're allergic to the jewelry you're wearing. So, return to the piercer as soon as you suspect an allergic reaction
Part 2 of 3: Cleaning and Caring for Piercings on Lips
Step 1. Clean the inside of the mouth
Gargle with an alcohol-free mouthwash or saline solution for 30 seconds after every meal, drink, or smoke. Gargle before bed too.
- To make a solution, mix 1/4 teaspoon of non-iodized salt with 240 ml of boiling water. Stir until the salt dissolves and allow it to cool.
- Do not add more salt than this as it can irritate your mouth.
Step 2. Clean the outside of the piercing and jewelry
Once daily (preferably in the shower so that the flakes and scaly skin around the piercing are softened), apply a mild soap with your fingers and wash the piercing site and jewelry. Gently twist the jewelry to thoroughly clean it and remove any debris. Rinse thoroughly while turning the jewelry one more time.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly before touching or cleaning your piercing.
- Don't clean your piercing with soap more than once a day.
Step 3. Soak the piercing
Once or twice a day, fill a small cup with a saline solution and soak the piercing in it for 5-10 minutes. Rinse the area with warm water afterwards.
Step 4. Brush your teeth and clean between them at least 2 times a day
If possible, brush and floss between your teeth after every meal. Gargle with an alcohol-free mouthwash after brushing your teeth to remove any remaining food particles from your mouth.
Step 5. Eat carefully and slowly
Soft foods are recommended during the first few days. After returning to solid food, cut it into small pieces and then place the bite-sized food directly into your molars. Be careful not to bite your lip and avoid touching the piercing as much as possible. Chew food as far away from the piercing as possible. Try the following foods, especially in the first few days:
- Ice cream
- Cold foods and drinks that help reduce swelling
Step 6. Reduce swelling
Suck on small flakes of ice to relieve pain and swelling. Pain reliever anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen can also be used.
Part 3 of 3: Knowing What to Avoid
Step 1. Avoid eating, drinking and smoking for the first 3 hours
Try not to move the piercing for as long as possible, especially in the first 3 hours. Avoid talking as much as possible. Until the piercing heals completely, you should also avoid:
- Alcohol, tobacco, caffeine and drugs
- Sticky foods, including oatmeal
- Hard foods, candy and chewing gum
- Spicy food
- Chewing inedible objects such as fingers, pencils and pens.
Step 2. Avoid touching the piercing
You should only touch it when cleaning. Touching the piercing too often can cause infection, swelling, pain, and slow recovery. Don't play with your piercing, or let other people touch it. Also, avoid touching and contact with the piercing as much as possible. During the recovery period, you should also avoid:
- Oral sex and kissing
- Sharing food, drinks and cutlery
- Undergo activities and physical contact that involve the face.
Step 3. Stay away from water
This includes chlorinated water such as swimming pools or hot tubs, as well as fresh water, prolonged baths and soaks, and saunas and steam rooms. Keep the piercing dry, or it will take a longer time to heal and may not even heal properly.
Step 4. Avoid objects that can aggravate the piercing
Do not clean your piercing with medical alcohol, scented soaps, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial ointments, or petroleum-based gels or creams. Products like these can cause irritation, cell damage, dry skin, or clogged pores.
Keep makeup, cosmetics, and facial creams or lotions away from around the piercing
Step 5. Don't change jewelry until your lip piercing has healed
Changing jewelry will not only damage the newly healed skin, it can also cause the piercing to close immediately.
Step 6. Get used to maintaining oral hygiene
Once your piercing has healed, you don't have to keep gargling and soaking it several times a day. However, it's a good idea to clean your piercing and jewelry while showering with a mild soap every few days. In addition, brush and clean between your teeth regularly.
- Be sure to only use the services of a trained and professional piercer. Trying to get yourself pierced is dangerous and can cause nerve damage, heavy bleeding, infection, and other complications.
- Talk to your dentist if you suspect your piercing is causing problems with your teeth, gums or tongue.