piercings should typically be cleaned twice daily. (Frequency also depends on your skin type, your daily activities and environment, and what piercing you are trying to heal.) You should continue
this cleaning routine for the entire healing period. Do not over-clean your piercing. Cleaning too often with an overly harsh cleaning solution, or
with too many different types of cleaning solutions, can irritate your piercing. If cleaning your piercing twice a day is suggested, don’t assume cleaning it ten times a day is better: It
piercings discharge lymph, blood and blood plasma, and dead cells. The purpose in cleaning your piercing is to remove this discharge as well as any dirt or bacteria picked up during the day. The
products you use on your piercing are not what make it heal— they only keep the piercing clean while your body works to heal it. Do not think of your cleaning solution as medicine, because it isn’t.
Salt water and/or saline solutions should be used to irrigate your piercing, but it is the action of flushing out the wound that helps healing, not the saline itself. Likewise, soap should just be
treated like soap; lather around your piercing and then rinse thoroughly.
TO CLEAN YOUR PIERCING, USE ONE OF THESE METHODS:
WARM SEA SALT
The single best thing you can do for your
piercing is to keep up a regular regimen of salt water soaks. These flush out the piercing, help to draw out discharge, stimulate blood circulation, and soothe irritations. We strongly suggest
soaking your piercing at least twice a day—more often if healing is difficult.
Make a soaking solution by mixing sea salt and
distilled water. Use pure sea salt (non-iodized) and not table salt, which contains extra chemicals that can irritate your piercing and
dextrose (sugar) that can cause yeast infections. When buying salt, read the label: it should contain only salt (sodium chloride) and possibly an anti-caking agent (often calcium phosphate, calcium
silicate, or prussiate of soda). Do not use Epsom salts, as this is a completely different chemical compound. Make sure your salt-to- water ratio is correct. A stronger or weaker solution is not
better and may actually harm your piercing.
It’s often easiest to mix it up by the gallon and keep it
in the fridge. Cold soaks can be soothing for the first few days; after, heat as needed to make a warm salt-water soak.
Mix according to the table below (use measuring spoons and
cups for accuracy).
use: Fill a small glass with the solution and warm. (You can heat it in the microwave.) Put the solution in a glass, press the glass against your skin to form a seal, and hold it over
your piercing for five minutes or until the water cools. For piercings like nostrils, ears, nipples, and some penis piercings, the entire body part should be submerged in the solution.
1 Cup (8 oz.)
1 Quart (32 oz.)
1/4 Cup (Approx.)
Sterile saline solutions are a convenient, portable cleaning options.
While rinsing with saline solution doesn’t promote increased blood flow to the area the way that a warm soak does, it does provide a quick cleaning fix if you’re at work, traveling, or someplace
where soaking isn’t an option. Popular brands include H2Ocean®
, NeilMed® saline solution, and Simply SalineTM Wound Wash. (The saline products sold for contact lenses or ear and nasal irrigation
sometimes contain additives that may not be suited to healing piercings. Instead, check the first aid aisle of your drugstore and look for saline specifically formulated for wound care.)
To use, liberally spray the solution, thoroughly saturating the piercing.
Your jewelry does not need to be rotated and sterile saline solution does not need to be rinsed off. (Do not simply dip cotton balls or swabs in a saline solution and apply it to the skin; you must
irrigate the piercing to clean it effect
sea salt soaks and/or saline rinses are the preferred aftercare for most piercings, soap effectively removes the residue of sweat, dirt, skin oils, cosmetics, cigarette smoke, and natural discharge
that can sometimes remain after a salt water soak or saline rinse. Use a natural, fragrance-free and dye-free soap. Stay away from harsh antibacterial soaps, especially those
containing triclosan (like Dial®). Remember: It is the action of washing that is most effective in removing bacteria, not the soap itself. Lastly, be sure to use a liquid soap, because bar soaps
collect dirt and bacteria that can easily be reapplied to your piercing.
Thoroughly wash your hands, then lather the soap in your fingers before lathering the piercing and surrounding skin. Thoroughly clean the piercing and jewelry, making
sure to gently remove any discharge on the jewelry, then rinse. It is not necessary to rotate the jewelry during cleaning. If you find cleaning with soap is too harsh—if the skin around the piercing
is becoming dry, red, or irritated—go back to salt water soaks and/or saline rinses.