How To Know If Your Piercing Is Infected

Bare skin this spring might inspire you to get a new piercing, but make sure you’re up for the effort required to have it heal properly. If you’re thinking about getting a new piercing, definitely be aware of how to know if your piercing is infected so you can get help if you need it. Though you should be able to avoid any major issues with proper aftercare, sometimes things just happen.

While the cleaning and maintenance routine for every piercing is a little different, there are a few general ground rules to follow. For at least the first two weeks, piercings usually need to be soaked in a saline bath, washed with gentle soap no more than twice a day, and dried with a clean paper towel. Additionally, there's really zero (like, zero) reasons your dirty, unwashed hands should ever come in contact with your piercing, so don't let it happen! Of course, double check with your piercing artist to make sure you’re doing everything you need to be.

If you do think you unfortunately ended up with an infection, don’t panic. Scan the symptoms below and if any are ringing a bell, just call your piercer and doctor to get it taken care of. Good luck!

1. Obvious Redness

A little redness around a piercing can be normal for the first few days, but if the redness persists or gets more intense, there's a chance it's infected.

2. Warm Skin

Beyond redness, another subtle sign your skin might be infected is if it is hot to the touch.

3. Green, Yellow, Or Grayish Discharge

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A little clear to slightly white discharge is totally normal the first day or two, but if you notice green, yellow, or grayish discharge in any amount, it's time to call a doc.

4. Painful Swelling

Your piercing might swell a bit the first few days, but consistent and painful swelling isn't normal and a pretty strong indicator things aren't healing correctly.

5. Consistent Bleeding

If your piercing is still bleeding after the day you got it pierced, reach out your piercer to make sure something else isn't going on.

Images: Isla Murray/Bustle; monicasecas, RenaudPhoto, Flavia Sereia, Anne-So, Karissa&Chemicals./Flickr