Santa Clara University

Wellness Center

Body Piercing

What to Look For In a Studio:

  • Is it clean?
  • Are instruments and equipment sterilized?
  • Does the artist wear a new pair of clean latex gloves for each client?
  • Is the artist using a sterile, disposable needle?

Piercing should be done with a sterile needle only. A piercing gun can never be fully sterilized and may harbor bacteria.

Choosing Jewelry:

  • Rings are best for ears and most other body piercings.
  • Thickness of the jewelry is important to consider.
  • Use only 316L or LVM surgical stainless steel, 14 or 18 karat solid gold, titanium or niobium.
  • Use longer barbells for tongue piercing to allow for swelling.


  • Always make sure your hands are clean before touching your piercing.
  • Don't pick at the normal secretions-soak the piercing with warm water to
  • Soften any dried secretions
  • Clean your piercing twice a day with antibacterial soap and rinse with warm water.
  • Use paper towels to dry your piercing- cloth towels can trap bacteria
  • Refrain from using alcohol or hydrogen on your piercing-this can interfere with new cell growth.

See a Doctor If You Notice the Following:

  • Redness or swelling that is more than a quarter-inch from the site of the piercing
  • Soreness
  • Thick yellow or green discharge
  • Continuous oozing or bleeding
  • Heat at the site of piercing
  • Red streaks coming from the piercing site.

Healing Times:

  • Earlobe: 4-6 weeks
  • Ear cartilage: 2 months of 1 year
  • Tongue: 4-6 weeks
  • Eyebrow: 6-8 weeks
  • Nostril: 2-3 months
  • Lip and lip area: 6-8 weeks
  • Cheek: 2-3 months
  • Nipple: 2-6 months
  • Navel: 6 months to 1 year
  • Most female genitalia: 4-8 weeks
  • Most male genitalia: 3-6 months


Association of Professional Piercers

Piercing FAQ Web Page

(Source: Taking Care of Body Piercings)

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