Packaged sterile saline is a gentle choice for piercing aftercare. Mixing your own sea salt solution is no longer a suggested practice from the APP. We strongly encourage you to use sterile saline labeled for use as a wound wash. Contact lens saline, eye drops, and other saline products should never be used on a body piercing. Your saline ingredients should list .09% sodium chloride as the only ingredient. Mixing your own sea salt solution will commonly result in the product being far too salty and strong, this can over-dry the piercing and interfere with healing.
Cleaning instructions for cleaning body piercings
- WASH your hands thoroughly prior to cleaning or touching your piercing for any reason.
- SALINE rinse as needed while healing. For certain piercings it may be easier to apply using clean gauze saturated with saline solution.
- RINSE site as needed to remove cleaning solution residue. Moving or rotating jewelry is not necessary during cleaning or rinsing.
- DRY by gently patting with clean, disposable paper products. Cloth towels can harbor bacteria and snag on jewelry causing injury.
What is normal?
Initially: some bleeding, localized swelling, tenderness, and/or bruising. During healing: some discoloration, itching, secretion of a whitish-yellow fluid (not pus) that will form some crust on the jewelry. The tissue may tighten around the jewelry as it heals.
Once healed: the jewelry may not move freely in the piercing; do not force it. If you fail to include cleaning your piercing as part of your daily hygiene routine, normal but smelly bodily secretions may accumulate.
A piercing might seem healed before the healing process is complete. This is because tissue heals from the outside in, and although it feels fine, the interior remains fragile. Be patient, and keep cleaning throughout the entire initial healing period.
Even healed piercings that you have had for years can shrink or close in minutes! This varies from person to person; if you like your piercing, keep jewelry in – do not leave the hole empty.
What to avoid?
- Avoid cleaning with alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, antibacterial soaps, iodine, bactine, ointment, or any harsh products.
- Avoid over-cleaning. This can delay your healing and irritate your piercing.
- Avoid submerging the piercing in unhygienic bodies of water such as lakes, pools, hot tubs, etc. Or, protect your piercing using a waterproof wound-sealant bandage. These are available at most drugstores and work best for nipple, navel, and surface piercing placements.
- Avoid undue trauma such as friction from clothing, excessive motion of the area, playing with the jewelry, and vigorous cleaning. These activities can cause the formation of unsightly and uncomfortable scar tissue, migration, prolonged healing, and other complications.