This post may contain affiliate links. This means we may earn a small commission if you purchase something from a link. This does not cost you any extra and helps us keep the lights on. Thank you!
What is LITHA?
LITHA stands for Leave It The Hell Alone. While it may seem strict, the number one reason piercings don’t heal on time is because they are being messed with. Whether you are fiddling with them intentionally (or unintentionally), forced a jewelry change just because you decided you didn’t like the look of the one you got pierced with, are being neglectful and letting it get tangled in your hair or roll over onto it in your sleep, or you are washing it with soap (NEVER wash with soap – if anyone tells you to do this, do NOT trust them with your piercing), you are messing with your piercing and it will not be able to heal.
How Long Do I Have to Do it?
Leave it alone for the duration of the healing period. Don’t check to see if it’s healed by poking it, don’t listen to your friend who said hers healed completely in 3 weeks (it didn’t) and try to change your piercing, just leave it the hell alone. For the entire healing period.
How Do I Avoid Sleeping on it or Getting My Hair Tangled in it?
There are a few different methods that can be used to keep your piercing safe. If you have a healing piercing in an ear that you just have to sleep on, you can use a hemorrhoid (or donut) pillow to keep your piercing from touching anything while you sleep on it. If you just can’t prevent your self from rolling over, you might be able to push pillows up against your back so you are unable to move. Some people have found success with putting chip clips on their pajamas so when they roll over, they can feel the chip clip. Basically do whatever you need to do to avoid injuring your piercing in your sleep.
If your hair keeps getting tangled in it, wear your hair up all the time. Seriously, for the duration of your healing period, keep your hair in a pony tail or braid so it can’t bother your piercing. Wet hair is must more tangly than dry hair so be extra careful in the shower or when brushing/drying your wet hair to keep it very far away from your piercing.
What if I Just Can’t Stop Myself From Touching it?
If you can’t stop yourself from touching your piercing, you shouldn’t get one. Period. When you get a piercing you are intentionally hurting your body and forcing it to heal around something for vanity’s sake. That is not to be taken lightly and you are responsible for making sure your body (and your piercing) heal to the best of their ability. If you can’t stop yourself from touching your new piercing, you are not responsible enough to have a piercing.
Does that Mean I Can’t Wash it?
It depends. Are you asking if you can’t wash it with soap? Because the answer is no, you can’t wash it with soap.
Some piercers recommend different ways of getting crusties (those yellow flakes that build up on your jewelry while it’s healing) off. In general, crusties aren’t bad for your piercing. They are protecting it, like a scab. But if a crusty is ready to fall off, it is no longer providing any benefit to your piercing and you can remove it. NEVER pick at a crusty to pull it off. For one, if you have to pick, it’s not ready to come off. Two: your nails are dirty (even if you just washed them) do not risk getting an infection just because you decided you had to pick a crusty.
The main method for getting crusties off is to let the water wash over your piercing for a few seconds when you’re in the shower. The crusties that are ready to come off will come off and the ones that aren’t will stay there. That’s fine – LEAVE THEM. Don’t soak your piercings in regular water. Water that comes out of your tap contains a lot of things that can get in your piercing and irritate it if allowed to soak. Just let the water rinse over your piercing.
Another method is with sterile saline spray. If your piercer recommends these (most do) they will likely be readily available at the counter. You can also pick up a can at Walmart or any pharmacy in the first aid department. The key is: there should only be two ingredients: water and sodium chloride. If there are any other ingredients in your spray, do not use it. It is better to go without the spray than to add another ingredient.
You may be thinking: that’s just salt water! I can save money and make that at home! No, you can’t. If you listened to the paragraph above where I said not to soak your piercing in tap water, you would know that.
Use your sterile saline spray to spray all around your piercing for a few seconds up to twice a day. NEVER use cotton swabs or cotton balls as the fibers can get stuck in your piercing and irritate it. Don’t use cotton to dry it and don’t dip cotton in your sterile solution to try and push crusties off. (Never push crusties off anyway). Non-woven gauze can be used to dry your piercing as no fibers will fall off and get into your piercing.
You can also spray your sterile saline spray into a bowl and soak your piercing for up to fifteen minutes if your piercing is in a place that is more easily able to soak than spray. Throw away your bowl of spray every time you use it as it is no longer sterile.
Be careful with overdoing your salt water spray (either soaking or spraying it) as the saline can dry out your piercing and cause it to get more irritated.
How Do I Know Which is Right For Me?
As long as you are basically leaving your piercing alone, how you are rinsing it doesn’t really matter. If you are finding your piercing keeps getting dried out, you might want to leave the saline spray behind. If you use the saline spray and find that it helped you heal quicker, you’ll safely add it to your healing routine for future piercings. Everyone’s body is different and every single piercing is unique. You’ll figure it out.
What Else Can I Do to Heal My Piercing Faster?
Your piercing is going to take a long time to heal. You’ll have to accept that. However, most things that a doctor would recommend after a minor injury will also help, such as drinking enough water, getting enough sleep, and avoiding smoking and drinking.
It’s Been Way Over My Healing Time and It’s Still Not Healed
There’s two reasons this would happen: 1) You’re lying to yourself and you’re actually messing with it. 2) You have the wrong jewelry in your piercing.
Healing jewelry should be made of implant grade titanium. Regular titanium won’t do and stainless steel or 316L won’t do. Read this article on appropriate healing materials. If you aren’t 100% sure what you are wearing is implant grade titanium, visit a piercer and have them change it out for you.
You might not have downsized your jewelry to an appropriate length. After you are pierced, your piercer will fit you with a much larger piece of jewelry because it needs to be big enough to accommodate for swelling. In a few weeks after your swelling has gone down, you will need to visit your piercer again (seriously, visit your piercer – don’t switch out healing jewelry on your own) and they will switch you to a shorter piece. If you leave the longer piece in, it is likely that it will be nudged around often because of the extra length. A well fitting piercing is much harder to irritate.
Some piercers don’t recommend a ring for healing jewelry because it often shifts around. If your ring is shifting, it’s best to visit a piercer and get it switched out.
Remember: Piercings take a long time to heal. You will likely get impatient and want it to go faster, but you just put your body through something traumatic and are forcing it to heal around something foreign. Give your body the time it needs to heal.