When my mom wouldn’t let me get my upper ear lobe pierced, I had a friend of mine do it at a sleepover with the pin of a badge we found around. It was…not pretty. Now, I got lucky and although the piercing was not ideal, it eventually healed without troubles, (but from legal and moral reasons I strongly advise you against trying it yourself!).

However, that was not my first or last piercing, and I did have other tricky experiences that taught me a thing or two about how to properly take care of your piercing and what you should know before getting one! Moreover, to make sure I get all the right information to you, I discussed the matter with a handful of people who had various types of piercings and gathered some valuable experience to share. So, let’s get started:

Needle not Gun

I know it may sometimes be tempting to hop in the nearest shop and let them quickly pierce your ear, but most of them use piercing guns instead of a sterile needle, and that often leads to more pain, swelling, tissue damage and potential infections. The thing about the gun versus the needle is that the gun is quite literally applying “blunt force trauma” to blow the flesh out of the way, which can be a little brutal for your body. Professional salons use needles most of the time, which smoothly pierce through the area without causing damage around the spot. Also, guns can be disinfected but they can’t be sterilized, as they are made out of plastic, so you can do the math yourself.

For extra information, here’s a clip from Refinery29 that explains the whole process in more detail:

Eat something before

This may not sound like such a big deal, but keeping your blood sugar steady and being well hydrated will help, as chances are you might get dizzy or faint otherwise, which is not really an ideal scenario for either of the parties.

Wounds itch when they heal

After a bad helix experience, as I was getting my nose pierced I was expecting, if anything, days of pain ahead of me, especially after the initial shock of the pierce that caused a tear to shed from my eye. Of course, everyone’s experience is different, but mine stopped hurting almost right away. But soon enough…the itching began, and it is so uncomfortable! You get the urge to move your pierce around, scratch the area, and generally “bother” the wound, but you have to give it time to heal and fight your impulses. Speaking of this…


IT’S HARD. I KNOW. Especially for facial piercings. However, every time you’re twisting or touching your piercing you’re not allowing your body to peacefully go through the healing process. Additionally, your hands are probably not perfectly clean every time you touch them, which can (and I am sadly once again speaking from experience), and most likely will lead to irritation, pain, swelling, or infections.

Listen to your piercer about the aftercare (assuming you’re getting one professionally done)

I don’t think it’s necessary to mention regular cleaning is a must, it’s quite self-explanatory. Lots of friends or family members have their own opinions and experiences, but you should be careful with your habits and products, and try to keep a certain consistency, use mild products, and don’t overdo it. There is such a great variety of cleaning products out there, it can be difficult to settle on the best, especially when everyone is bringing in different input. Yes, there’s a couple of things you should know, such as not using rubbing alcohol because it may kill new cells, being careful with the ointments, cleaning around the area gently with a cotton swab and so on. However, all of these are things your piercer should communicate with you, and in case you have any issues or uncertainties, do not hesitate in contacting them!

This being said, the experience has nothing scary to it, so if you’ve been thinking for a while about it, go get that piercing 😀