How to Heal Piercings

Now that you’ve gotten your piercing, you’re probably ready for it to heal quickly. To speed things up, clean the piercing every day with mild soapy water. Don’t irritate the skin around the piercing and avoid reopening the wound which could slow down healing time. Give the tissue around the piercing plenty of time to heal before you change the jewelry. If you suspect you have an infection, ask the piercer, doctor, or dermatologist if you need antibiotics or if cleaning the site will be enough.

EditSteps
EditCleaning the Piercing
Wash your hands before touching the pierced area. Use mild soap and clean water to scrub your hands clean. Rinse well with clean water before you’re ready to touch your skin.[1]
Avoid letting anyone else touch your pierced area since they could introduce bacteria.

Soak the area in saline for 5 to 10 minutes every day. To keep the area clean, dip a clean gauze pad or paper towels into saline solution. Place the pad over the piercing and hold it there for 5 to 10 minutes. You can do this 1 to 2 times a day.[2]
Depending on the piercing, you may be able to dip the piercing directly into a cup of saline solution. For example, if you have a finger piercing, submerge your finger in the saline so the piercing is covered.

Wash the piercing with soap and water if directed. If your piercer tells you to clean the area with soapy water once a day, wash the skin around the piercing with a fragrance-free mild soap and water. Rinse the area with water to completely remove soapy residue.[3]
Avoid using soaps with scents, dyes, colors, or triclosan since these will irritate the skin.

If the piercing is on your ear, remember to wash behind the piercing as well.

Pat the area dry with a paper towel or napkin. Take a clean paper towel or napkin and blot the cleaned skin. Don’t apply too much pressure or rub the skin because you don’t want to open the wound. Once you’re done, throw the paper towel or napkin away.[4]
Don’t use cloth towels because they can become caught or snagged on the jewelry.

Limit how often you clean the piercing to once or twice a day. It might seem like a good idea to frequently clean the area throughout the day, but washing the skin too much can actually wear the tissue down. This will slow down the healing time.[5]
Wash your piercing after you shower since water will already be getting around the site of the piercing.

EditCaring for Your Piercing
Leave any crusty scabs in place. Simply soaking the piercing with saline and washing it with gentle soap and water is enough to keep the skin clean. Don’t pull or pick at any crusty scabs that form since this can open up the piercing and cause it to bleed. You’ll find that the crusty material should fall off on its own as the piercing heals.[6]
You don’t need to turn or twist the jewelry as the piercing is healing. Rotating the jewelry may actually irritate the skin and slow the healing.

Avoid using antibiotics or disinfectants on the piercing. These may irritate the piercing as it’s trying to heal. Antibacterial ointments can trap moisture and cause bacteria to grow around the piercing. Disinfectants such as rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide can make it harder for the tissue to heal.[7]
Avoid using antibacterial soaps or disinfectants that container benzalkonium chloride (BZK).

Keep the piercing site clean and dry throughout the day. Ensure that other people don’t touch the area. You’ll also need to keep sweat and dirt out of the piercing. For example, don’t put makeup or spray fragrances near the piercing. Clean items that might come into contact with the area so you don’t introduce bacteria.[8]
Depending on where the piercing is located, clean your cell phone, headphones, glasses, or hats.

Give the piercing time to heal before you take out the jewelry. Most piercings will take at least a few weeks or even months to heal. Be patient and give the piercing a chance to heal before you take out the jewelry. Here are a few healing times for common types of piercings:[9]
Earlobes: 3 to 9 weeks

Ear cartilage (such as tragus, conch, industrial, rook, or orbital piercings): 6 to 12 months

Nostril: 2 to 4 months

Oral: 3 to 4 weeks

Lips: 2 to 3 months

Naval: 9 to 12 months

Genitals: 4 to 10 weeks

EditTreating Infected Piercings
Recognize signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or fever. While it’s normal to feel some pain around the site of the piercing, it’s important to pay attention to signs of infection. In addition to pain that doesn’t go away or gets worse when you touch the skin around the piercing, other signs of infection include:[10]
Yellow discharge, green discharge, or blood

High fever

Redness, swelling, or a hot sensation

Persistent itchiness

Bad odor

Schedule a medical exam as soon as you can. Since an infection can become more serious, make an appointment with your doctor or a dermatologist as soon as possible. If you can’t afford an appointment, talk with the person who did the piercing.[11]
The doctor or dermatologist will take your medical history, do a physical exam, and decide the best treatment for you.

Don’t be afraid to go to the emergency room if you think you have a severe cartilage infection. These are trickier to treat and can cause more complications than other piercings.

Ask the doctor if you have a metal allergy. If you suspect that the infection was caused by an allergy to nickel, ask for an allergy skin test. The doctor or dermatologist will test a small patch of your skin to determine if you have a metal allergy. Nickel is the most common metal to cause a skin allergy that leads to infection. The doctor may recommend putting cortisone cream on the area and replacing the nickel jewelry with stainless steel or gold.[12]
If your allergic reaction is severe, you may have to remove the jewelry and let the hole close. Once the skin heals, you can re-pierce the site, but use hypoallergenic jewelry.

Follow the recommended treatment plan. Your doctor may advise you to keep the jewelry in while you’re treating the infection, but if the infection is severe, you may need to remove it. To treat the infection, you’ll probably need to apply an antibiotic cream for several days until the infection clears up.[13]
For a severe infection, you might need to take a course of oral antibiotics.

EditRelated wikiHows
Pierce Your Own Cartilage

Pierce Your Belly Button

Treat an Infected Ear Piercing

Care for Newly Pierced Ears

Clean a Body Piercing

Reopen a Partially Closed Ear Piercing Hole

EditReferences
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Today in History for 20th May 2019

Historical Events

1861 – North Carolina becomes 11th and last state to secede from the Union
1895 – 1st commercial movie performance (153 Broadway, NYC)
1926 – Thomas Edison says Americans prefer silent movies over talkies
1972 – 5th ABA Championship: Indiana Pacers beat NY Nets, 4 games to 2
1985 – 38th Cannes Film Festival: “When Father Was Away on Business” directed by Emir Kusturica wins the Palme d’Or
2018 – K-pop boy band BTS are the first Koreans to perform at the Billboard Music Awards

More Historical Events »

Famous Birthdays

1772 – William Congreve, English officer (design fire rocket)
1883 – Paul Arntzenius, Dutch painter, graphic artist and etcher, born in The Hague, Netherlands (d. 1965)
1921 – John Harrison, British vice admiral/surgeon
1967 – Ramzi Yousef, Kuwaiti-born Pakistani terrorist
1971 – Tony Stewart, American race car driver
1981 – Iker Casillas, Spanish footballer

More Famous Birthdays »

Famous Deaths

1503 – Lorenzo de Medici, Italian patron (b. 1463)
1751 – Domingo Miguel Bernaube Terradellas, Spanish composer, dies at 38
1834 – Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert de Motier, nobleman, dies
1917 – Philipp von Ferrary, Italian philatelist (b. 1850)
1940 – Amar Singh, Indian cricketer (of pneumonia Indian pace bowler 1932-36), dies at 29
1956 – Andre Eugene Maurice Charlot, actor (Summer Storm), dies

More Famous Deaths »

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How to Grow and Care for a Bonsai Tree

Bon sai is an art that has been practiced in Asia for many centuries. Bonsai trees are grown from the same seeds as trees that grow to full size. They are grown in small containers and trimmed and trained so that they remain small and elegant. Learn how to grow a bonsai tree, train it in one of the traditional bonsai styles, and care for it so that it stays healthy for many years to come.

EditSteps
EditPicking Out a Bonsai Tree
Select a tree species. The type of tree you grow should be reliant on the environment where you’ll be keeping it. Your region’s climate and your home environment should both be taken into account when you’re deciding which species of tree to grow. To be on the safe side, select a species that is indigenous to your part of the world.
Deciduous species such as Chinese or Japanese elms, magnolias, oaks, and crabapple trees are good selections if you’d like to grow your bonsai outside. Just be sure to pick out a species that can grow to full size in your region.[1]
If you prefer coniferous trees, junipers, pines, spruces, or cedars all make excellent choices.

If you want to grow a tree indoors (or if you live in a hot climate), consider a tropical species. Jade, snowrose, and olive trees may be grown as bonsais.

Decide whether to plant the tree from seed. Planting a bonsai tree from seed is a slow but rewarding process. If you plant a tree, you’ll have to allow it time to take root and grow strong before you can begin trimming and training. Depending on the species of tree you grow, this could take up to five years.[2] Many find the extra wait and effort to be worth it since seeds are so inexpensive and the grower is able to control the tree at every stage of growth. To grow a bonsai from seed, take the following steps:
Buy a package of bonsai tree seeds. Soak them overnight before planting them in soil with good drainage and the right nutrient composition for your tree species. Plant the tree in a training container (as opposed to a ceramic display container, which is only used once the tree has been trained and reached maturity).

Give the planted tree the correct amount of sun, water, and a consistent temperature, again dictated by the specific species of tree.

Allow the tree to become sturdy and strong before you begin to train it.

Consider foraging for a bonsai tree. This method of acquiring a bonsai tree is highly valued, since caring for a bonsai tree you find in the wild requires a lot of skill and knowledge. If collecting a tree that has had its start in nature appeals to you, consider the following factors:
Select a tree with a sturdy trunk, but one that is still quite young. Older trees won’t adapt well to being placed in a container.

Choose a tree with roots that spread evenly in every direction, rather than growing laterally or entangled with the roots of other trees.

Dig around the tree and extract a large amount of soil along with the roots. This will prevent the tree from dying of shock when it is moved to a container.[3]
Plant the tree in a large training container. Care for it according to the needs of the particular species. Wait about a year for the roots to get used to the container before you begin training it.

Choose from among trees that have already been partially trained. This is the easiest way to begin the art of bonsai, but it is also the most expensive. Bonsai trees that have been grown from seed and partially trained have already received a lot of time and care, so they are usually quite pricey. Look online and in local nurseries and plant shops for a bonsai tree to bring home with you.
If you buy a partially-trained bonsai from a shop, talk with the person who trained it about its specific needs.

When you bring the bonsai home, give it a few weeks to adjust to the new setting before you begin working with it.

EditKeeping a Bonsai Tree Healthy
Pay attention to the seasons. Bonsai trees, like all trees and plants, react to the change in seasons. If you’re keeping a bonsai tree outside, it will have an even stronger reaction to the change in temperature, sunlight, and the amount of rainfall in the region. In some regions there are four distinct seasons, and in others the seasonal changes are more subtle. In any case, understand the way your tree species reacts to the seasons in your region, and let that information guide the way you care for it.
Trees lay dormant during the winter; they aren’t producing leaves or growing, so they don’t use as much nutrition. During this season, watering the tree is about the only care it needs. Avoid trimming it too much, since it won’t be able to replace the depleted nutrients until spring.

In spring, trees begin using the nutrients they stored during the winter to sprout new leaves and grow. Since your tree is in transition during this time of year, it’s a good time to repot the plant (adding extra nutrients to the soil) and begin trimming.

Trees continue to grow during the summer, using up the rest of their stored nutrients. Be sure to water yours well during this period of time.

In the fall, tree growth slows, and the nutrients begin accumulating again. This is a good time for both trimming and repotting.

Give the tree morning sun and afternoon shade. Your bonsai tree’s light needs depends on the species and your climate, but most will thrive in a location that receives morning sun. Turn the tree 90 degrees every few days so all of the tree foliage can receive an equal amount of light.[4]
Indoor trees may need a light shade cloth over the window during hot, bright summer months.

Protect the tree from extreme temperatures. During the summer, it’s fine for the tree to spend the majority of time outside. Bring it inside overnight when temperatures dip below about . In preparation for the winter, get your tree acclimated to spending more time indoors by moving it inside for a few hours at a time, and increasing the time it spends indoors every day until you bring it inside entirely.

Provide food and water. Fertilize the tree with a special fertilizer meant to keep bonsai trees healthy. When the soil begins to look dusty or dry, water the bonsai. The exact watering frequency depends on the tree species and the season. You may need to provide a little water every day during the summer, but only water once every few days during cold winter months.

EditTraining a Bonsai Tree
Choose a training style. There are several traditional training styles that you can choose for your tree. Some are meant to resemble a tree in nature, while others are more stylistic. There are dozens of bonsai styles to choose from, although the training container you use may limit your options.[5] Here are some of the most popular:
Chokkan. This is the formal upright form; think of a tree growing strong and straight with branches that stretch evenly around it.

Moyohgi. This is the informal upright form; the tree has a more natural slant, rather than growing straight upward.

Shakan. This is the slanting form – the tree looks windblown and striking.

Bunjingi. This is the literati form. The trunk is often long and twisted, with minimal branches.

Train the trunk and branches. “Training” the young bonsai tree involves gentle bending of the trunk and branches to guide their growth. Wrap the tree in wire to hold it in this position, as described here:
Use annealed copper wire for coniferous trees, and aluminum wire for deciduous trees.[6] You’ll need heavier gauge wire toward the bottom of the trunk, and finer wire for the branches.

Firmly anchor the wire by wrapping it around a limb once or twice. Do not wrap too tightly, which can damage the tree.

Wrap the wire at a 45-degree angle, using one hand to steady the tree while you work.

Trees have different wiring needs depending on the time of year and whether they have just been repotted.[7]
As time goes on and the tree grows and begins to take on the shape you have designed, you’ll have to rewire the tree and continue to train it until it holds the shape you want without the help of wire.

Prune and trim the tree. Use a small pruning tool to strategically clip off leaves, buds, and parts of branches to help the tree grow a certain way. Each time you prune, growth is stimulated on another part of the tree. Knowing where to prune and how often is part of the art of bonsai, and learning how to do it takes a lot of practice.[8]
When you transfer from a larger container to a smaller one, trim the roots to the shape of the pot. Don’t prune the roots until the trunk has reached the desired size.

Prune in the summer to direct new growth. If you need to remove an entire limb, wait until autumn when the tree is less active. Do maintenance pruning to remove dead branches in late winter or early spring.

Over-pruning a tree can cause damage, so be careful not to clip away too much.

EditDisplaying a Bonsai Tree
Move the tree to a display container. When you deem the tree’s shape to be finished, it’s time to move it away from the training container. Beautiful ceramic and wooden containers are available for you to display your bonsai to best effect. Choose one that complements the bonsai style you have created. Be sure to repot it carefully so that the roots are not damaged, and use a container big enough to hold the amount of soil (and nutrients) that are necessary for the tree to stay healthy.
Choose a container that is as long as your tree is tall. The thicker the trunk of your tree, the deeper the container should be.[9]

Consider adding other features to the container. While the bonsai should be the star of the show, adding a few additional elements can add to the beauty of your bonsai display. Stones and rocks, shells, and tiny plants can be used to make the tree look as though it is part of a forest or beach scene.
Be sure not to crowd the roots with stones or other objects.

Adding some moss is a great way to create an intriguing display.

Place the bonsai on a display stand. A beautiful bonsai deserves to be displayed like any other work of art. Choose a wooden or metal display stand and place it against a blank wall, so that the bonsai will stand out. Placing it near a window is a good idea since the bonsai will continue to need sunlight while it’s on display. Continue watering, fertilizing, and caring for the bonsai, and your work of art will stay alive for many years.

EditTips
Trimming the tree is what causes it to stay small. Otherwise, it will outgrow its container.

EditRelated wikiHows
Prune a Bonsai Tree

EditReferences
EditQuick Summary
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