A well balanced diet, with vitamin and mineral supplements, is extremely important. Healing is usually accelerated if some form of dietary Zinc supplement is used, a requirement easily met by a regular regimen of daily multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. A soft diet if necessary for tongue piercings is recommended only for the first day. Beginning on day 2, get back on a balanced diet with food you can chew. Swelling will disappear sooner if your tongue is active and if your diet is balanced.

The day a piercing is performed the skin is broken and the tissues become susceptible to invasion by infectious agents, either bacterial or fungal. At this point, cleaning is very important and must begin on the day of piercing, but excessive cleaning should be avoided. Liquid or glycerine soaps are recommended as they have less soap solids and are easier to rinse out of a piercing. The jewelry is used as a cleaning tool. A soap and water lather is placed on the piercing and the jewelry is gently wiggled two or three times. The area is then rinsed with water to get the soap off. The best place to clean is in the shower, as any dried lymph is softened by the warm moist conditions, and the 'crusties' are less likely to cause problems and are more easily removed from the jewelry, usually by simple irrigation with warm water.

One of the major causes of after care problems is excessive cleaning and manipulation of the piercing which tends to damage 'the fragile tissues which are trying to form. Excessive cleaning can cause chapping and drying of the skin. When the skin is cracked bacteria can invade the underlying tissues causing infection. Bruising of the skin will cause tissue breakdown with the same result. It is during this stage that keloids begin to form. As the supporting tissue is repeatedly injured by a cycle of abuse and infection, there is a buildup of fibrous connective tissue at the margins of the piercing . These keloids usually disappear if noticed early and their cause is identified and eliminated.

By the time 3 to 4 days has passed, no special cleaning regimen should be required for any piercing. Normal personal hygeine should be more than sufficient.

Should you encounter any problems or require any assistance in the care of your piercing, or if you have specific aftercare questions not answered here, please use BlackStar's Piercing Aftercare Forum. For a detailed explanation of the healing protocols for all piercings, download our Piercing Aftercare Manual.

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