Lip piercing aftercare generally involves soaking the piercing in a saline solution multiple times per day. Mouthwash is sometimes recommended to rinse the mouth and clean food debris that might have gotten stuck in the piercing hole. Strong mouth rinses, alcohol, and certain kinds of soap can irritate the wound. An infected lip piercing can delay the healing process and should be properly taken care of as soon as possible. Neglecting to clean the hole or the lip ring itself and having the lip pierced under unsanitary conditions can increase the risk of infection.
The main priority of lip piercing aftercare is to keep the wound as clean as possible. Saline soaks are typically recommended up to three times per day, plus alcohol-free mouthwash after eating. Other aspects of proactive lip piercing aftercare are less medically involved, but can be just as beneficial. For example, consuming cold foods or sucking ice cubes can reduce swelling and lessen pain without the use of drugs. Staying healthy by consuming a balanced diet and taking vitamins can also impact healing time and make it less likely for the piercing to become infected.
Some things to avoid during lip piercing aftercare involve exposing the area to foreign substances. For example, activities such as oral sex or smoking can expose the wound to additional bacteria and substances that may cause irritation. Practically anything that results in more bacteria being exposed to the piercing site can have negative consequences. Simply touching a piercing or the surrounding area can make it more likely to become infected or slow the healing process. Common activities such as sharing eating utensils, drinking from the same glass, or kissing can also have a negative effect on the healing process.
While a person recovers from a lip piercing, it is advisable for him or her to be wary of rejection and infection. Symptoms such as itching and the pierced area becoming larger can signal that the body is rejecting the piercing. Sometimes it is impossible to avoid this problem, but other times it is possible to use a different piercing material in the same place to prevent rejection. While some secretions are normal while a piercing is healing, colored pus can mean that an infection is underway. Most experts on lip piercing aftercare advise quickly seeking a medical professional if a piercing infection is feared, as this problem can be both difficult to diagnose and dangerous.