How To Take Care of All Piercings
To take proper care of all piercings, you will need the following materials:
- Salt water solution like H2Ocean or Pressions brand aftercare spray
H2Ocean can be found at Wal-Mart in the jewelry section for about $10.00 a bottle. If you would like to make your own salt water solution at home, this is the recipe:
- 1/4 teaspon of fine grain, non-iodized sea salt
- 1 cup clean warm water
- Spray bottle
Mix the sea salt together in the spray bottle (the dollar store has a bunch of these that are perfect for this- but make sure it's clean). Shake the bottle well to dissolve the salt into the water. When finished spray a Q-Tip with the salt solution until the end of it is soaked and dripping.
The good thing about taking care of piercings is that the process is pretty much the same for all types of piercings. Make sure to wash your hands well before cleaning or touching it. Touching a new piercing with dirty hands is the fastest way to get it infected. So clean them hands. If you MUST touch it and play with it, carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer. Better to look like a germaphobe then to have a nasty oozing piercing.
Ears-Cartilage and Lobe: When having a new ear piercing it is important that you don't twist the jewelry around in the hole because the jewelry and the crusties can damage the tunnel and hurt you. (Crusties are usually clear or pale yellow and are a normal part of the healing process. The dead blood cells and plasma surface from inside the hole and then dry when exposed to air, which makes them crusty). To clean any type of ear piercing, (cartilage, lobe, specialty piercings- tragus, industrial, conch, rook, etc.) soak a Q-Tip in salt water solution and swirl around both the top hole and the bottom hole. Make sure the Q-Tip is saturated and dripping; this will dissolve and soften the crusties on your skin and on the jewelry. Whenever an ear piercing gets stiff and does not rotate, do not force it to, simply clean away the crusties as described above.
Eyebrows and Noses: With eyebrows, saturate Q-Tip in salt water and clean both the top hole and bottom hole as well as as much of the jewelry as you can see. With nostril piercings, be careful you don't accidentally pull out your jewelry when cleaning the outside (top) hole. To clean the inside of a nostril piercing, place your clean fingertip over the top part of the stud, to make sure it doesn't get pushed out. Then insert a Q-Tip into your nose and work it carefully around the stem of the jewelry. Don't inhale too much in case some salt water gets up into your sinuses...I can't imagine that would feel too awesome. With septum and bridge piercings clean both holes well and as much of the jewelry as you can see.
Lips, Labret, Monroes, Bites: These piercings only require you to clean the outside (top) holes with your Q-Tips and salt water. To clean the inside holes, swish your mouth out with mouth wash that is alcohol free.
Tongues and Webbing: Swish well with an alcohol free mouth wash. Do this after you eat, smoke, or have oral sex. Of course it is always better to abstain from smoking and/or having oral sex right after you get a tongue piercing.
Dermals, Surface, and Cheeks: When cleaning dermals, saturate Q-Tip with solution and swirl it around the dermal top. With surface piercings, clean both holes with solution. When cleaning cheeks clean the outside with salt solution and swish mouth wash to clean the insides.
Navel: Clean both the top hole and inside hole with salt solution, as well as as much of the jewelry that can be seen. With any piercing you can move the jewelry back in forth inside the tunnel and this will spread the salt water inside the hole to clean it completely. Just make sure your hands are clean before touching.
Nipples and Genitals: Saturate a Q-Tip with warm salt water and clean both the enter and exit holes as well as the jewelry.
How often should I clean my piercings? I suggest cleaning a piercing at least four times a day: once around breakfast, once around lunch, once around dinner, and once before you go to bed.
Things you should NOT use on or to clean piercings with:
- Alcohol- has been proven to kill cells (cytotoxic) and because it is too strong and drying
- Hydrogen Peroxide- also kills cells and too harsh
- Bactine, pierced ear care solutions and other products containing benzalkonium chloride (BZT) and benzethonium chloride (BZT)- these are designed to kill germs and stop them from growing but don't necessarily clean the skin and can cause dry/ flaky skin.
- A+D ointment, bacitracin, Neosporin, etc.- keeps oxygen from getting inside tunnel
- Betadine and other providone-iodine products- can damage new cells
- Dial liquid soap- too harsh, dries skin
- Listerine and other alcohol-containing mouth washes- damages new cell growth
References: Angel, Elayne: Piercing Bible,The. Pg:191-92