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Subject: rec.arts.bodyart: Piercing FAQ 5--Care of New Piercings

This article was archived around: Tue, 02 May 2000 07:20:34 GMT

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Archive-name: bodyart/piercing-faq/new-pierce-care Last-modified: May 01, 2000 Posting-frequency: Quarterly URL: http://www.cs.uu.nl/wais/html/na-dir/bodyart/piercing-faq/.html
Summary: This posting contains information about body piercing. Anyone interested in the subject and/or who wishes to read/post to rec.arts.bodyart should read the Piercing FAQ first. The rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ is divided into 30 parts: 1--Introduction 2A--Jewelry Materials 2B--Jewelry Sizes & Designs 2C--Facial Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 2D--Body Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 2E--Genital Piercings & Their Suggested Jewelry 3--Getting A New Piercing 4A--Professional Organizations, Piercing Instruction 4B--Professional Piercers - United States - Alabama - California 4C--Professional Piercers - United States - Colorado - Iowa 4D--Professional Piercers - United States - Kansas - Nevada 4E--Professional Piercers - United States - New Hampshire - North Dakota 4F--Professional Piercers - United States - Ohio - Pennsylvania 4G--Professional Piercers - United States - Rhode Island - Wyoming 4H--Professional Piercers - Canada 4I--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America 4J--Professional Piercers - Beyond N. America Cont'd 5--Care Of New Piercings 6--The Healing Process & Healing Problems 7--Healed Piercings 8--Historical Information 9A--Resource List 9B--Resource List Cont'd 10A--Personal Experiences - Facial & Unisex Piercings 10B--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings 10C--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd 10D--Personal Experiences - Genital Piercings Cont'd 11A--Jewelry Manufacturers 11B--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd 11C--Jewelry Manufacturers Cont'd This section includes: 5 Care Of New Piercings 5.1 Skin Cleansers, Wound Cleansers and Soaps 5.2 Antiseptic Products 5.3 Other Products 5.4 Products to Avoid 5.5 Essential Oils 5.6 Aftercare for Facial Piercings 5.7 Aftercare for Oral Piercings 5.8 Aftercare for Body Piercings 5.9 Aftercare for Genital Piercings 5.10 Herbal Hot Compress Recipe All texts written and (c) 2000 by Anne Greenblatt unless otherwise noted. Please see Part 1 of the FAQ for information regarding copyright and dissemination of the FAQ. DISCLAIMER! The Piercing FAQ contains material of a sexually explicit nature. The information contained in the Piercing FAQ should not be construed as medical advice. 5 CARE OF NEW PIERCINGS Piercings are susceptible to infection during the healing period. Appropriate aftercare is crucial to promote healing and prevent infection. An appropriate aftercare regimen includes cleansing the piercing and jewelry regularly, usually two to three times daily. Cleansing is accomplished by using a skin cleanser that is safe and appropriate for use on broken skin. Cleansers intended for use on intact skin can damage dermal cells and impede healing. The skin is comprised of two main layers, the epidermis and the dermis. The epidermis is the outermost layer and is comprised largely of dead cells. The dermis is comprised of delicate living cells. The epidermis protects the dermis from outside organisms and chemicals. Microorganisms, or microbes, include bacteria, viruses, and fungi. If the skin is compromised, or broken, microorganisms may enter and cause an infection. A product or ingredient described as "antimicrobial" is effective against bacteria, viruses, and/or fungi. A product or ingredient described as "antibacterial" is effective against bacteria only. Because the process of healing a piercing is unlike that of healing a typical wound, no products have been designed specifically for piercing aftercare. As a result, piercing enthusiasts have had to rely on products which are not ideal for piercing aftercare. Povidone iodine and Chlorhexidine gluconate cleansers were frequently recommended for aftercare during the 1970's and 1980's because more appropriate products were not available at that time. At present, mild antimicrobial skin cleansers are favored by most piercers. While wound cleansers are more appropriate for aftercare, they are not widely available. Information about the efficacy and intended application of a particular product is available in the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) and other literature released by the manufacturer. Piercing suppliers and piercing studios should have the MSDS and other literature available for all products sold to customers and/or used in the studio. 5.1 SKIN CLEANSERS, WOUND CLEANSERS, AND SOAPS Skin cleansers are designed to aid in the physical removal of foreign materials such as dirt, microorganisms, and dead cells. Skin cleansers contain detergents and surfactants which help remove foreign materials and antibacterial or antimicrobial ingredients which kill some, but not all, bacteria and other microorganisms. Some ingredients, such as fragrances and dyes, are irritating to sensitive skin. Certain types of detergents and surfactants are not ideal for use on broken skin. Wound cleansers are intended for use on broken skin, and contain only ingredients that do not damage dermal cells. SKIN CLEANSERS AND SOAPS CONTAINING CHLOROXYLENOL (PCMX) Brand names Provon Medicated Lotion Soap and Satin Antimicrobial Skin Cleanser Chloroxylenol is an antimicrobial antiseptic effective against both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, fungal and yeast microorganisms. Chloroxylenol is more effective against a broader range of microorganisms than many other antiseptics. Used in skin cleansers and soaps intended for wound care and frequent hand washing. While these cleansers and soaps are intended for use on intact skin, their formulations appear to be the safest and most appropriate for piercing aftercare. Unfortunately these soaps are not yet widely available in drugstores but are available from several piercing suppliers and directly from the manufacturers and/or their distributors. Provon Medicated Lotion Soap, 0.3% chloroxylenol Available in wholesale quantities from McKessonHBOC Medical Group, 1-800-877-1919 Satin Antimicrobial Skin Cleanser, 0.8% chloroxylenol Manufactured by Care-Tech Laboratories, 1-800-325-9681, (314) 772-4610, http://www.caretechlabs.com WOUND CLEANSERS CONTAINING CHLOROXYLENOL (PCMX) Brand name Techni-Care Surgical Scrub, 3% chloroxylenol Safe for mucous membranes and non-irritating to dermal tissue. Intended for pre-operative and post-operative skin cleansing and for wound cleansing. Used to cleanse skin prior to piercing. Manufactured by Care-Tech Laboratories, 1-800-325-9681, (314) 772-4610, http://www.caretechlabs.com Available from several piercing suppliers. LIQUID ANTIBACTERIAL SOAPS CONTAINING TRICLOSAN Brand names Dial Liquid, Almay Hypo-Care, Softsoap Triclosan is primarily an antibacterial ingredient. Most formulations contain 0.2% to 0.5% triclosan. Most orange-colored soaps can be irritating and drying with frequent and prolonged use. Soaps that are low-pH, free of deodorants, dyes, and moisturizers are suggested. The "Triclosan MIC Sheet" reviewing antimicrobial efficacy is available from Decon Laboratories Inc., (800) 332-6647, (610) 520-0610 http://www.deconlabs.com/deconlab/dcn03s.htm 5.2 ANTISEPTIC PRODUCTS Antiseptics and disinfectants are chemicals designed to kill and inhibit the growth of microorganisms. Unless specified, antiseptic and disinfectant products do not contain surfactants that help remove foreign materials and thusly do not function as skin cleansers. BENZALKONIUM CHLORIDE AND BENZETHONIUM CHLORIDE SOLUTIONS Brand names Bactine, No More Ouchies, Pierced Ear Care Solution, Sensitive Ears Solution Containing 0.12% Benzalkonium-chloride or 0.13% Benzethonium-chloride. Both ingredients are intended to be used for first-aid antisepsis and not for prolonged use. Prolonged use has been associated with dry or flaking skin. If these symptoms occur discontinue use. Do not dilute; diluting with water will decrease efficacy and may contaminate the solution bacteria. Some products contain isopropyl alcohol which is very irritating and drying. Brand names Bactine and No More Ouchies contain lidocaine which can cause irritation. 5.3 OTHER PRODUCTS OTHER SOAPS Other soaps, such as brand names Clearly Natural, Dr. Bronner's, Neutrogena, have been successfully used by many people to cleanse piercings. However, these soaps do not contain clinically proven antimicrobial ingredients. SALINE SOLUTION Saline or an isotonic solution (0.9%, or 1/4 teaspoon table salt or sea salt per 8oz distilled water) may be used as often as desired but should not be solely relied upon for cleaning. Prepackaged saline is preferable to homemade solution because it is sterile. Do not use saline solution containing enzymes, cleansers, or disinfectants. Soaking the piercing in warm salt water or using a warm salt water compress helps remove dried discharge and lymph secretions, relieve itching, and increase circulation to the piercing. Use 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or table salt per 8 ounces of water. Table salt and sea salt are both sodium chloride and essentially the same; table salt simply contains ingredients to alter the taste and improve flow in cooking. Epsom salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate and should not be used. 5.4 PRODUCTS TO AVOID ANTIBIOTIC AND MEDICATED OINTMENTS Over-the-counter antibiotic ointments and creams containing any combination of bacitracin zinc, Neomycin, and Polymyxin-B. These products do not cleanse the piercing. Their petrolatum (oil) based formulation can clog the piercing, making cleansing more difficult. As determined by the US Food and Drug Administration, antibiotic ointments are contraindicated for use in puncture wounds or for use beyond one week. Prolonged use of neomycin encourages development of neomycin-resistant strains of Staphylococci bacteria. Some people are highly allergic to bacitracin zinc. CHLORHEXIDINE GLUCONATE (CHG) CLEANSERS Brand names AC 2000, Bacticlens, Hibiclens, Hibiscrub, Hibitane, Savlon, Spectro Gram 2 Containing 2 to 4% chlorhexidine gluconate. Intended only for hand washing and pre-surgical skin antisepsis. Very irritating and drying. Ingredient warnings: "For external use only. Irritative skin reactions may occur. Generalized allergic reactions to chlorhexidine have also been reported. Patients with ear drum perforation should avoid use near ear canal. Avoid usage near the eyes." References: Hibiscrub, http://home.intekom.com/pharm/zeneca/hibscrub.html Savlon, http://home.intekom.com/pharm/pharmedica/savlnsol.html Spectro Gram 2, http://www.rxmed.com/monographs/spectro2.html HYDROGEN PEROXIDE Hydrogen peroxide has limited antiseptic effectiveness and damages dermal cells. ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL ("RUBBING ALCOHOL") Intended as an antiseptic for use on intact skin only. Isopropyl alcohol has limited antiseptic effectiveness and is very irritating and drying. POVIDONE IODINE Brand names Betadine, Triadine Povidone Iodine is an antimicrobial antiseptic. Intended for pre-operative skin antisepsis and as a first aid antiseptic. Contraindicated for use in puncture wounds or prolonged use. Prolonged use may cause dermal cells to lyse (over-saturate and rupture) as well as skin discoloration. Used to cleanse skin prior to piercing. Some people are allergic to povidone iodine; an allergy to shellfish is a predictor. Prolonged use may cause an allergy. References: Contact Dermatitis Home Page. List of antiseptics and further references. http://www.mc.vanderbilt.edu/vumcdept/derm/contact/Trolab_Antimicrobials. html Farley, Dixie. "OTC Options: Help for Cuts, Scrapes and Burns" FDA Consumer Magazine, May 1996, http://www.fda.gov Ovington, Liza G., PhD. "A Cleanser is not a Cleanser is not a Cleanser" http://woundcare.org/newsvol3n1/prpt3.htm 5.5 ESSENTIAL OILS Many people have found essential oils beneficial to healing and preventing scarring. Essential oils should not be relied upon to cleanse the piercing. Aromatherapy practitioners emphasize differentiating between essential oils and perfume oils. Oils should be used sparingly and diluted, never full-strength, (neat). Suggested carriers include Grapeseed and Sweet Almond oils. Some piercing studios which suggest essential oils for aftercare provide customers with a premixed solution. Most health food and alternative healing stores sell oils individually and can make solutions. Patch tests to determine sensitivity or allergy are strongly recommended. Apply a drop of the oil to the inside elbow or wrist. Acquired allergies to essential oils are possible. Denise Robinson of Ambient, http://www.ambient.on.ca suggests using oils in addition to hot salt water soaks or compresses. "In combination with the heat, which opens up blood vessels, thus bringing more white blood cells to the area and removing infectious matter, and the mild antiseptic properties of the salt water, oils can be a valuable addition. In addition to their own special abilities, many oils have the inherent ability of stimulating the immune system. Using a soap with these oils as an active ingredient can also help." Lavender oil and Tea Tree oil are most frequently suggested. Both are considered by aromatherapy practitioners to be antiseptic. However, their antiseptic qualities have not been scientifically tested or evaluated. Lavender oil, when used for aromatherapy, is said to be very relaxing. Lavender oil is very mild and few people experience allergic reactions. Tea Tree oil is very strong, both in scent and effect. It is said to be antifungal and antibacterial. Some people use a mouthrinse of salt water and a few drops of tea tree oil to aid the healing of oral piercings. Wheat germ oil contains vitamin E which may reduce scarring. However, it is very sticky which may be detrimental towards healing. Some people are allergic to vitamin E oil. Brad Zutaut <bzutaut@ix.netcom.com> of Red Earth <http://www.redearth.com> comments: "I use tea tree oil on my piercings. I dilute it in grapeseed oil, about ten drops in 15ml of grapeseed oil works nicely. I would never use it undiluted. It acts as a lubricant as well as being antiseptic. I've heard you can also dilute the tea tree oil in lavender, as lavender is a gentle oil that can be used undiluted itself. Tea tree is not as harsh as alcohol or hydrogen peroxide as it does not dry and it does not kill the healing tissue along with the germs. For fresh piercings, I would recommend soaking them in salt water to soften any crusties and then cleaning with rings with swabs dipped in the salt water, and then applying the tea tree oil and leaving it on. Wipe excess from around the piercing as it can stain clothing. For healed piercings, I wash daily with antibacterial soap and apply tea tree oil. "Antiseptic oils should not be used on genital piercings involving mucous membranes. I would be wary of using them on facial pierces near the eyes. Tongue piercings can be healed by using one or two drops of peppermint oil in a glass of water as a mouthwash. Do not use peppermint oil undiluted." Oils should be stored and handled responsibly. Prevent contamination of the oil; do not touch the dropper or mouth of the bottle. Air content of the bottle should be kept at a minimum. The bottle should be dark or wrapped and stored away from sunlight. 5.6 AFTERCARE FOR FACIAL PIERCINGS Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before touching your piercing or jewelry. The piercing should be cleaned twice a day while it is healing. Over-cleaning can irritate the piercing; do not clean more often unless the piercing has been exposed to dirt, sweat, or bodily fluids. Saline solution may be used to remove dried discharge between cleanings. Antiseptic solutions containing benzalkonium or benzethonium chloride are often suggested for cleaning ear and facial piercings. Remove dried discharge using a cottonswab and hot water or the antiseptic solution before rotating the jewelry; do not use your fingernails. The disinfectant should be applied liberally to both entrances using a cotton swab while rotating the jewelry. Rinsing the piercing under running water is suggested to remove bacteria and antiseptic residues. If the skin around the piercing becomes red, dry and chapped discontinue use. Liquid antimicrobial skin cleansers and antibacterial soaps are suggested by most piercers. The shower provides the best place to adequately lather and rinse piercings. Remove any dried discharge from the jewelry using a cottonswab and hot water before rotating the jewelry; do not use your fingernails. Apply the soap around the piercing and work it into a lather while rotating the jewelry for at least 15 seconds. Rinse the piercing, jewelry and the surrounding area thoroughly under running water. While rinsing rotate the jewelry several times. Use a clean cotton swab each time you apply soap to prevent contaminating the bottle. Do not use a washcloth or sponge to clean your piercing. Cloths and sponges trap and collect bacteria and mildew. Dry the piercing using a tissue or cotton swabs. Rinse your piercing and jewelry thoroughly with water after showering or bathing to remove soap residues. Soaking the piercing in warm salt water or using a warm salt water compress helps remove dried discharge and lymph secretions, relieve itching, and increase circulation to the piercing. Use 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or table salt per 8 ounces of water. Table salt and sea salt are both sodium chloride and essentially the same; table salt simply contains ingredients to alter the taste and improve flow in cooking. Epsom salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate and should not be used. Soaking 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day is suggested. The tub or container used for soaking should be disinfected using a household disinfectant or bleach solution. If more than one piercing requires soaking, disposable cups should be used. There is no need to clean your piercing after soaking in salt water; however, soaking should not replace cleaning. Do not allow your piercing to come in contact with cosmetics, lotions, and perfumes which can cause extreme irritation. When using har spray cover your piercings with your hand or a tissue. The most frequent causes of infection are touching the piercing or the jewelry with unwashed hands or contact with unclean items such as clothing, bedding or hair. Do not wear hatbands or bandannas over ear and eyebrow piercings. In the case of ear piercings use the opposite ear for telephones or place a clean tissue between the ear and the receiver. Do not allow your piercing to come into contact with saliva (of others and your own) or another person's bodily fluids. Swimming in public pools, spas and hot-tubs may risk infection as one can never be sure of the quality of sanitation and the risk of exposure to bacteria is too great. Although some people have experienced no ill-effects from swimming in natural bodies of water, exposure to dirt, bacteria or other microorganisms could adversely affect the piercing or cause an infection. Laundry detergents containing stain-fighting enzymes should not be used to wash clothing which is in direct contact with the piercing. The enzymes can impede healing. After the healing process is complete you should continue to clean your piercing once a day as part of your bathing or showering routine to prevent accumulation of dirt and dead skin cells. 5.7 AFTERCARE FOR ORAL PIERCINGS Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before touching your piercing or jewelry. Most piercers suggest rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash after eating, drinking anything other than water and smoking. Mouthwashes are not intended to be used as often as is typically required for oral piercing aftercare. Mouthwashes with a high alcohol content such as Listerine quickly dry out the tongue's protective mucous layer. Alcohol-free and reduced alcohol mouthwashes such as Biotene, TECH 2000, Rembrandt, and Oral-B brands are suggested. TECH 2000 has the added benefit of being effective against thrush (Candida albicans). If you use an alcohol-based mouthwash dilute 50% with bottled water, preferably distilled. After using any mouthwash rinse with water to reduce mouthwash residues and dryness. A white discoloration of the tongue indicates that the mouthwash is being over used. When over used the mouthwash dries out the mucous layer of the tongue, upsets the pH and depletes the healthy and necessary bacteria of the mouth. Depletion of healthy bacteria can result in thrush (Candida albicans), a fungal infection indicated by a white carpet-like layer on the tongue. Medications for treating thrush are only available with a doctor's prescription. In some cases the condition of the mouth can be restored if frequency of use is reduced. Some people have successfully treated minor thrush by rinsing with warm salt water containing a few drops of tea tree oil which is said to be fungicidal. Oral cleansing antiseptics such as PerOxyl and Gly-Oxide containing peroxide or carbamide peroxide may be detrimental towards healing when used for a prolonged period. Use of these products in addition to an antiseptic mouthwash is probably unnecessary. The US Food and Drug Administration has declared "oral wound healing agents [including] allantoin and carbamide peroxide in anhydrous glycerin" as "unacceptable" because these products have not been found to be safe and/or effective for treatment of oral wounds; these products have effectively been recalled. See "FDA Medical Bulletin, January 1996, Volume 26 Number 1" at http://www.fda.gov During the first 24 to 48 hours the tongue usually swells to almost twice its normal size. Swelling should not impede breathing. Apply ice and drink ice water to minimize swelling and tenderness. Some people use over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medications to reduce swelling and discomfort. Do not take Aspirin because it thins the blood. Swelling and discomfort should steadily recede during the next 3 to 5 days. The area immediately around the piercing will be swollen for an additional 2 to 4 weeks. The lymph nodes in the neck and under the jaw can respond to the piercing by becoming swollen and tender for a few days. After the swelling has receded, warm salt water rinses may be used to remove discharge and lymph secretions. 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or table salt to 8 ounces of distilled water is suggested. Bleeding usually stops immediately with application of ice. The piercing may bleed very intermittently during the next few hours. If the piercing does not clot or bleeds after 48 hours the piercing may have nicked a blood vessel and may require medical attention. Using a needle thicker than the jewelry often results in heavy bleeding. If the piercing bleeds while you sleep or upon waking the piercing may have become dry during the night causing the clot to adhere to the jewelry and reopen the piercing when the barbell is moved. Tongue piercings produce a discharge just as any other piercing. This discharge is sticky and white to off-white. A dark yellow or green discharge indicates an infection. The inside entrance of lip, labret, cheek piercings should be treated as described for tongue piercings. The outside piercing should be cleaned following the instructions for facial piercings. Do not allow your piercings to come into contact with another person's bodily fluids. Avoid spicy or hot foods. Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages during the first week; alcohol is a chemical irritant and thins the blood which can cause excessive bleeding and swelling. While smoking may be irritating but not necessarily damaging to a new piercing the use of chewed tobacco products is highly discouraged in the case of any oral piercing as the use of chewed tobacco has been attributed to oral cancers and lesions. Get a new toothbrush. Do not chew on pens or other items or share eating utensils or glasses. Oral jewelry will collect plaque, especially in the crevice between the ball or disc and the bar. Plaque traps bacteria and can cause the jewelry to have a bad odor. Daily use of an anti-plaque rinse will prevent plaque build-up. To remove a build-up of plaque, remove and soak jewelry in an antibacterial denture cleaner following the package directions. References: Biotene http://www.laclede.com/biotene.html TECH 2000, Care-Tech Laboratories, 1-800-325-9681, (314) 772-4610 http://www.caretechlabs.com 5.8 AFTERCARE FOR BODY PIERCINGS Wash your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap before touching your piercing or jewelry. The piercing should be cleaned twice a day while it is healing. Over-cleaning can irritate the piercing; do not clean more often unless the piercing has been exposed to dirt, sweat, or bodily fluids. Saline solution may be used to remove dried discharge between cleanings. Liquid antimicrobial skin cleansers and antibacterial soaps are suggested by most piercers. The shower provides the best place to adequately lather and rinse piercings. Remove any dried discharge from the jewelry using a cottonswab and hot water before rotating the jewelry; do not use your fingernails. Apply the soap around the piercing and work it into a lather while rotating the jewelry for at least 15 seconds. Rinse the piercing, jewelry and the surrounding area thoroughly under running water. While rinsing rotate the jewelry several times. Use a clean cotton swab each time you apply soap to prevent contaminating the bottle. Do not use a washcloth or sponge to clean your piercing. Cloths and sponges trap and collect bacteria and mildew. Dry the piercing using a tissue or cotton swabs. The inside of the navel should be dried thoroughly using a cotton swab. Rinse your piercing and jewelry thoroughly with water after showering or bathing to remove soap residues. Soaking the piercing in warm salt water or using a warm salt water compress helps remove dried discharge and lymph secretions, relieve itching, and increase circulation to the piercing. Use 1/4 teaspoon sea salt or table salt per 8 ounces of water. Table salt and sea salt are both sodium chloride and essentially the same; table salt simply contains ingredients to alter the taste and improve flow in cooking. Epsom salt is hydrated magnesium sulfate and should not be used. Soaking 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a day is suggested. The tub or container used for soaking should be disinfected using a household disinfectant or bleach solution. If more than one piercing requires soaking, disposable cups should be used. There is no need to clean your piercing after soaking in salt water; however, soaking should not replace cleaning. Do not use bath additives or bubble baths while the piercing is healing. Do not allow your piercings to come into contact with another person's bodily fluids. The most frequent causes of infection are touching the piercing or the jewelry with unwashed hands or contact with unclean items such as clothing and bedding. Swimming in public pools, spas and hot-tubs may risk infection as one can never be sure of the quality of sanitation and the risk of exposure to bacteria is too great. Although some people have experienced no ill-effects from swimming in natural bodies of water, exposure to dirt, bacteria, parasites, or other microorganisms could adversely affect the piercing or cause an infection. Several brands of waterproof bandages can be safely worn over new piercings; the bandage should not put uncomfortable pressure on the jewelry. Laundry detergents containing stain-fighting enzymes should not be used to wash clothing which is in direct contact with the piercing. The enzymes can impede healing. After the healing process is complete you should continue to clean your piercing once a day as part of your bathing or showering routine to prevent accumulation of dirt and dead skin cells. 5.9 AFTERCARE FOR GENITAL PIERCINGS Genital piercings often bleed between 12 to 24 hours depending on the depth and complexity of the piercing. Prince Albert, Ampallang, and Apadravya piercings may bleed intermitantly for several days, particularly during erections. Triangle piercings may bleed intermitantly for several days. Genital piercings should be cleaned following the instructions for body piercings. Some antiseptics and soaps can irritate the urethra in both men and women. After cleaning the piercing, urinate to flush out any residues in the urethral opening. Women should be careful to prevent the antiseptic or soap from entering the vagina and to rinse thoroughly with running water. Depletion of the bacteria naturally present in the vagina can cause yeast infections (Candida albicans). Women should use the most lint-free toilet tissue available. Unscented pantyliners may be worn if the piercing bleeds. During the healing period do not wear pantyhose which restrict air circulation and are often uncomfortable. Do not allow your piercing to come in contact with another personšs bodily fluids while the piercing is healing. This includes saliva (of others and your own) as well as semen. Your own urine is non-pathogenic as long as you do not have a bladder or urinary tract infection. There is no need to clean the piercing after urinating, although it may burn during the first 24 to 48 hours. While a new or healing genital piercing does not prevent sexual activity, appropriate barriers should be used (condom, dental dam). You should not feel pain during sexual activity after the piercing has healed. 5.10 HERBAL HOT COMPRESS RECIPE Provided by Michaela Grey, formerly of Gauntlet and the Association of Professional Piercers. Ingredients: Comfrey Chamomile Goldenseal Echinacea Sea salt Simmer ingredients in water to make a strong, hot infusion. Apply as a compress for 20 minutes twice daily. -- -- Anne Greenblatt Manager of the rec.arts.bodyart Piercing FAQ Piercing Exquisite http://www.piercingexquisite.com