The first few weeks after getting a piercing are the most important. During this time, you need to ensure that your piercing heals completely with minimal complications and scarring. Depending on where your piercing is, the healing time will differ, and in some cases, you may need to keep cleaning your piercing for several weeks. Earlobes and soft tissue piercings heal the fastest, while cartilage piercings and those through thicker skin, such as the belly button, nipple, or eyebrow, take longer.
If you’ve got a new piercing and want to look after it properly, the good news is that you don’t need to spend a fortune on special disinfectants or cleaning solutions. You can keep your piercing clean and help it to heal with a few simple items you’ll find in your kitchen or bathroom.
Cleaning Your New Piercing at Home
New piercings need to be cleaned regularly and thoroughly to prevent them from becoming inflamed and infected. Infections can lead to permanent scarring, which can cause your piercings to sit unevenly. This also increases the risk of irritation and the formation of keloid scars, especially on harder tissue like the nose.
Use these tips to keep your new piercing clean and encourage quick healing.
Clean Your Piercing Twice a Day
One of the best ways to remember to clean your piercing at least twice per day is to clean it when you perform your other hygiene habits, like brushing your teeth. If you clean your piercing at the same time, you won’t forget in a hurry.
Wash Your Hands Before Touching Your New Piercing
Touching your piercing with unwashed hands can introduce a host of bacteria and pathogens into the piercing site, which you should think of as an open wound. Wash your hands thoroughly with warm water and gentle regular or antibacterial soap before touching your piercing to keep it clean and free of dirt, grime and infection-causing bacteria.
Try to avoid using heavily fragranced soaps and cleansers on your piercing, as these can cause additional irritation. Use gentle, unfragranced soaps wherever possible.
Wash Off Soap And Shampoo
If your piercing gets covered in soap, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel or any other product while you are bathing or showering, ensure that you give it a good rinse afterwards. All of these products can cause irritation that can lead to infection, so you need to ensure they don’t leave any residue behind.
A quick rinse of your piercing with clean, warm water will do the trick.
Use the following ingredients to keep your piercing clean:
Many experienced piercers swear by a simple salt water solution for cleaning new piercings. You can make this solution at home by combining 1 teaspoon of sea salt or table salt with a cup of warm water.
Apply this solution with a clean cotton pad or Q-tip twice a day to gently disinfect the piercing site and reduce inflammation. Carefully dab the piercing dry with a clean tissue.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is a powerful antiseptic essential oil that can kill bacteria, reduce inflammation, and promote the rapid healing of new piercings. However, using it in its undiluted form can cause irritation to your piercing and it may even burn your skin.
Try combining a few drops of tea tree oil with the salt water solution mentioned above, or add a single drop diluted in water to a damp Q-Tip and gently dab it around the piercing site. If you’re worried that your skin may be sensitive to tea tree oil, try a patch test first. Dilute the oil and swab a little on the inside of your arm. If you don’t have any reaction within 24 hours, it should be fine to use on your new piercing.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is an effective antimicrobial agent that can keep piercings from becoming infected thanks to its high concentration of acetic acid. Studies show that solutions of 3-5% acetic acid can disinfect wounds and promote their healing.
You can make your own apple cider vinegar piercing cleaning solution by combining raw apple cider vinegar with warm water at a 1:1 ratio. Dip a clean cotton pad or Q-Tip into the solution and thoroughly clean the skin around your piercing, then rinse the vinegar away with clean, warm water. Use this solution two or three times a day to prevent infection and encourage your new piercing to heal.
Coconut Or Almond Oil
Coconut and almond oil both have natural anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties, so they’re great for keeping your piercings clean and helping them to heal. Olive oil is also an option.
You can apply a dab of oil using a cotton swab or Q-tip twice a day for the best results. Just be aware that as you’re using an oil, it can leave an oil stain on your clothes, bedding, or anything else that your piercing comes into contact with.
One of nature’s greatest healers, aloe vera, can help to keep a piercing clean and infection free. A gentle yet effective option, aloe vera helps to soothe irritated skin and disinfects it too. It’s also easy to apply and wash off your clothing or anything else it comes into contact with.
You can use an aloe vera gel on your piercing twice a day, and if your piercing is sore or swollen, you can use it even more regularly. As an added plus, aloe vera is ideal for sensitive skin and it helps to prevent scarring. All you need to do is apply a dollop using a cotton swab, Q-Tip or tissue and ensure it covers the hole of your piercing.
Easy Ways To Keep Your Piercing Clean
Cleaning your new piercing with ingredients from home is an easy, quick, and cost-effective way to encourage its healing and prevent and treat minor infections.
Just remember, if your piercing appears red or swollen or is producing pus, it could be infected. If it doesn’t respond quickly to at home treatment, you need to chat to your piercer or seek medical advice to help it heal up properly.
Once your piercing is healed, you can change your jewelry for a more exciting ring or stud, show it off, and plan the next one!