From ears to lips to bellybuttons, piercings are popular. But they also carry risks and can cause complications. Where you get a piercing and how you care for it can help you prevent infection and speed the healing process. Read on to know how to care for your new piercing:
WHAT TO CLEAN WITH:
- Packaged sterile saline solution made for wound care (read the label), or a non iodized sea salt mixture you make yourself: dissolve 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of non iodized (iodine-free) sea salt into one cup (8 oz.) of warm distilled or bottled water. A stronger solution can irritate your piercing, so don’t put in too much salt!
- A mild, fragrance-free liquid soap—preferably antimicrobial or germicidal
HOW TO CLEAN THE PIERCING: Wash your hands really well before you clean or touch your piercing for any reason.
SALINE: Soak for five minutes once or more per day. Seal a cup of warm saline solution over the area. For some piercings it will be easier to use clean gauze or paper towels soaked in saline solution. Rinse after you salt soak because dried salt crystals could hurt you and you’re piercing.
SOAP: Apply soap only once or twice a day. While showering, lather up a dime sized drop of the soap to clean the jewellery and the piercing. Leave the soap on the piercing no more than thirty seconds.
RINSE: Rinse to remove all of the soap from the piercing. You do not have to rotate your jewellery through the piercing.
DRY: Dry gently with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels could snag on jewellery, and they might have bacteria on them.
WHAT TO AVOID
- Avoid cleaning with Betadine, Hibiclens, rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and Dial or other strong soaps, because these can damage your healing piercing. Also don’t use ointments because they don’t let your piercing get the air circulation it needs and may contain ingredients that are not safe for long-term use.
- Avoid Bactine pierced ear care solutions, and other products containing Benzalkonium Chloride (BZK). This can be irritating and should not be used for long-term care.
- Avoid cleaning too much. This can irritate your piercing and make it take longer to heal.
- Avoid irritation like friction from clothing, too much motion of the area, playing with the jewellery, and rough cleaning. These could make ugly and uncomfortable scar tissue form, and cause other problems like migration and a longer healing time.
- Avoid rough play, unwashed hands on (or even anywhere near) your piercing, and contact with others’ bodily fluids like saliva while you are healing.
- Avoid stress and recreational drug use, including too much caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol.
- Avoid putting a healing piercing in a lake, pool, hot tub, etc. First, protect your piercing by using a waterproof bandage. You can buy them in any drugstore.
- Avoid all beauty and personal care products on or around the piercing, including cosmetics, lotions, and sprays, etc.
- Don’t hang charms or any object from your jewellery until the piercing is fully healed.