Just like adopting a puppy or investing in a fancy houseplant, new piercings require attention, love, and care. Sure, it's fun to map out all the coolest dog parks in the city or plan the kind of Instagram post your fiddle leaf fig deserves, but there's a lot more to it — and the same goes for piercings. No matter how long you've been pining after that Maria Tash diamond hoop, you still have to put in the work that comes long after splurging on jewelry.
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to piercing aftercare. And along with those misconceptions come questions — and lots of them. How long until I can change my cartilage jewelry? How do I clean my piercings? Why is my nipple ring getting crusty? Luckily, we tapped two piercers — Cassi Lopez, head piercer at New York Adorned, and Brian Keith Thompson, piercer to the stars and owner of Body Electric in L.A. They're sharing their top dos and don'ts of piercing aftercare, average healing times, and answers to the questions unique to top piercing locations, ahead.
Keep in mind that piercing isn't an exact science, so different experts recommend different techniques, but these are the experts we trust. Thompson puts it best: "Talk to 100 piercers and you're probably going to hear 100 forms of aftercare." So if you're considering getting a new piercing, whether it be your nipple, your lobe, or anything in-between, remember this advice: Read up on piercings everywhere you can and put the same kind of attention into picking your piercer as you have your piercing, then listen to their advice, too.