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Congratulations on your new piercing. You've just taken the first steps toward a cooler you. Now the most important thing to know is how to keep your new jewelry clean and uninfected so it you can get your money's worth out of your new investment.

The studio where you were pierced may give you some type of antiseptic ointment when you have it done. If they do, use this until it runs out. If not, Neosporin or something similar will work just as well. You will also need Q-tips.

Squeeze a small portion of the ointment onto a Q-tip. Gently dab it onto the skin where the piercing both enters and exits the skin. This is also a good time to gently rotate the jewelry to make sure that it is not sticking to your skin.

When you first get pierced, avoid touching the piercing for a few days, at least until it quits hurting. And be very careful to not get it caught on anything, especially if you have a ring and not a bar. This is the number one way people get small rips around the actual piercing area. Not only are these rips extremely painful, but they also increase the risk of infection.

You should expect some seepage the first month or so. Just use a Q-tip to gently clean the area and continue to apply an antiseptic ointment.

What should you do if your piercing does become infected? First thing, don't panic. Infection does not necessarily mean you will have to take it out, or that it will scar. Continue to keep the piercing clean and apply the ointment twice a day. If the infection does not clear up in a week, you may have to remove it.

If it becomes necessary to remove a piercing, the best thing to do is go to a professional to have it taken out. This way, the jewelry is still usable if you decide to try again. If you must remove it yourself, be careful. A ring will have a ball where the two sides connect. Gently lift up on the top of the ring, until it pops free of the ball. Then, remove. DO NOT USE PLIARS! It is unnecessary and can damage your skin and the ring. A bar will have a ball at the top that unscrews. Simply unscrew the ball and gently pull the bar out. If you are careful, your jewelry will be fine and you can use it again. Most piercers will put jewelry you already have in for free or a much-reduced price.