Vol.2, No.4

How to care for a lip piercing

Cleaning your new piercing is essential to the healing process, and prevents infections.

Man with a lip piercing
Photo Credit: Ivar Teunissen
You should first remember to treat your new lip piercing as a wound, because it essentially is a new wound. Your body will do what it naturally does when there is a wound. You may experience some swelling, redness, scabbing, tenderness, and possibly bleeding. These are all natural occurrences in the healing process. There will also be some pus (a yellowish liquid) coming out of the wound. This is your body's way of protecting the area from any possible infections. The new piercing is essentially, a new entry way for bacteria to enter your body. Your body naturally tries to protect itself from getting an infection, and you need to help protect it too.

You need to keep your hands clean at all times. Wash your hands frequently, and any time if you are going to touch the piercing. This goes the same for any of your friends that want to touch it. They must wash their hands thoroughly or simply wait until the wound has healed. This will significantly reduce your chances of getting an infection.

Ibuprofen will help keep the swelling and tenderness to a minimum, and can be taken when needed for pain. Vitamin B with Zinc can help the healing process along. If possible, you should start taking this vitamin a few months before you get the piercing done. It may be best to choose a multivitamin with vitamin B and Zinc included for better overall health.

Avoid eating, smoking and drinking within the first three hours of the piercing.

How to Keep the Area Clean:

Wash your hands thoroughly before cleaning the area. Gently and completely cleanse the area with soap and water first. Using a cotton swab, cotton ball or tissue, gently remove any build up that may have formed around the piercing. This should be done twice a day.

Oral piercings are apt to have much fewer infections and reactions than other piercings. This is because of the mouth's natural ability to fight off bacteria. You need to carry out the standard oral hygiene to ensure that your mouth can do its job at fighting bacteria. You should brush and floss twice a day to continuously remove food particles that could get into the wound and cause an infection. You can also rinse with a salt water mixture to speed up the healing process and keep your mouth sanitized. This should be done after eating, smoking and drinking.

How to Keep Your Piercing Jewelry Clean:

Your jewelry can also carry bacteria and needs to be cleaned often and completely. You can't remove the piercing in the healing stage, so it will need to be cleaned while it's still in. You can do this with soap and warm water. Lather the piercing with your fingers thoroughly and rinse completely with warm water. Turn the piercing carefully and repeat. Avoid cleaning the area or piercing with alcohol or peroxide. This could harm or kill the tissue that needs to heal. Simply use an antibacterial soap with warm water.

Healing typically takes approximately ten days, but can vary slightly from person to person.