How to Reduce Pain Caused by a New Piercing

Three Parts:Treating the Pain DirectlyEncouraging Your Piercing to HealPreventing Pain from an Infection

If you've recently gotten a piercing, and it's hurting, there are ways to soothe the pain. Pain, swelling, and bleeding should stop after a few days to a week. In the meantime, cool drinks and compresses can help ease pain. You should also encourage the piercing to heal and take measures to avoid infections. A healed piercing that's free of infections is less likely to hurt.

Part 1
Treating the Pain Directly

  1. 1
    Ice the piercing. Simply icing the area in question can often soothe some pain associated with piercings. This can be helpful during the first few days, and can also reduce swelling. Apply something cold, like a bag of frozen peas, or an ice pack to the area during downtime throughout the day.[1]
    • Keep in mind, you may want to place a clean, dry rag over the ice pack or cold object to prevent infection.
  2. 2
    Try a chamomile tea compress. Many people advocate a chamomile compress as a way to help soothe and potentially prevent scarring. You will need a bag of chamomile tea.[2]
    • Boil some water and immerse the tea bag in the water. After several minutes, remove the tea bag.
    • Let the tea bag cool for a few minutes. Then, apply the tea bag to your piercing, in the area where you feel pain.
  3. Image titled Reduce Pain Caused by a New Piercing Step 3
    Try cold food and drinks for lip piercings. If you got your lip pierced, eating and drinking something cool can help. Try ice cream, cold water, cold beverages, popsicles, frozen yogurt, and other cold items to ease the pain.[3]
    • There may be certain foods that irritate your skin. If anything you're eating seems to aggravate the piercing, try something else.
  4. Image titled Reduce Pain Caused by a New Piercing Step 5
    Use over-the-counter painkillers. A simple over-the-counter painkiller can help get rid of the pain of a new piercing. Try something like ibuprofen or tylenol if the pain is getting bad. This can reduce pain and also take away some swelling.[4]
    • Make sure to check that any chosen painkiller does not interact poorly with existing medications first.
    • Read the label of any medications to make sure to take the painkillers at the correct dosage.

Part 2
Encouraging Your Piercing to Heal

  1. 1
    Follow all care instructions. When you get a new piercing, you will go home with a set of instructions for care. It is important to follow these instructions carefully. Your piercing will hurt for longer if you don't encourage to heal properly.[5]
    • Usually, you will have to clean your piercing at least once a day. Some piercings may need to be cleaned more frequently. Before cleaning, wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap.
    • Your piercer should have given specific instructions for cleaning. Usually, you rinse the cleaning in warm water and a saline solution and then clean off any crust using a cotton swab.
    • Cleaning is very important. It keeps the area free of bacteria that can cause an infection.
  2. Image titled Reduce Pain Caused by a New Piercing Step 7
    Do not fiddle with new piercings. You may be tempted to touch or twist your new piercing. This will irritate the area, causing more pain. Also, touching your piercing with dirty hands greatly increases your risk of an infection.[6]
  3. 3
    Leave the piercing in place. Do not take the piercing out before the healing period has passed. When you get your piercing, your piercing will let you know how many weeks the piercing needs to stay in place. Until this time has passed, do not remove the piercing for any reasons. This will delay the healing process, and putting the piercing back in place may cause pain.[7]
  4. 4
    Do not use hydrogen peroxide. If you suspect your piercing is infected, talk to a doctor or return to your piercer. Do not attempt to fix the infection on your own with hydrogen peroxide. This kills healing cells and can cause crust to build up around your piercing.[8]

Part 3
Preventing Pain from an Infection

  1. 1
    Wash your hands before handling the piercing. If you handle the piercing for any reason, wash your hands. Use clean, warm water and antibacterial soap. Touching a piercing without clean hands is a major cause of infection.[9]
    • Try to wash your hands for about 20 seconds.
    • Make sure to get all areas of your hands clean. Pay attention to the backs of your hands, under your fingernails, and between your fingers.
  2. 2
    Use salt water soaks. Regular salt water soaks can promote healing and prevent infection. You may get salt water solution from your piercer. You can also mix a teaspoon of salt water into 8 ounces of water and mix thoroughly.[10]
    • Soak a q-tip or cotton swab in the salt water. Place it on the piercing for a few seconds and then discard.
    • Repeat this process for 5 to 6 minutes.
    • Do this twice a day for about a month or until your piercing is fully healed.
  3. 3
    Avoid swimming. Swimming after a piercing is a bad idea. Chlorine from pool water, and contaminants from open water, can irritate a piercing and cause infection. Refrain from swimming until your piercing is fully healed.[11]
  4. 4
    Make sure nothing touches in the pierced area. Keep foreign objects away from the pierced area while you wait for it to heal. Do not, for example, wear a hat if you have an eyebrow piercing. You should alway be aware of your hair if it's longer. Keep long hair from touching the piercing. You may have to pull your hair back more often as the piercing heals.[12]
    • Avoid sleeping on the side of your body where the piercing is. Bacteria from your pillow can cause an infection.[13]


  • Have your piercer change out the jewelry to a smaller size after the swelling is gone, if need be.
  • If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call your piercer and ask.


  • Most infections come from dirty hands, so always wash your hands before touching your piercing.
  • Even old piercings can become irritated or infected.

Article Info

Categories: Tattoos and Piercing