Getting a new piercing is fun and exciting! While the initial piercing process might pinch a bit, you've got a new accessory for life!
How do you go about taking care of it, though? Do you know how to clean a nose piercing? What about all of the other aftercare that you need to do?
This doesn't have to be stressful and as long as you're diligent, it's all super easy! Keep reading to learn all about how to clean a new nose piercing and best practices for keeping your fresh piercing healthy while it's going through the healing process.
How To Clean a Nose Piercing Step-By-Step
Cleaning your new nose piercing isn't the only part of aftercare, but that doesn't make it less important.
If you were pierced with a ring, you're going to need to be more careful when you're cleaning your piercing and trying to keep it clean after you clean it. Rings can pull bacteria into the piercing and bring those annoying "crusties" through the fistula. Ouch!
As long as you're using implant-grade jewelry for healing and you had a good piercer, cleaning should be all that it takes to keep your nose feeling good under healthy and normal conditions. Let's talk about the cleaning process first.
Step 1: Let Your Piercing Breathe
When you're not actively cleaning your piercing, you should be keeping it dry and uncovered (unless it's a piercing normally covered by clothing. If you need to keep a piercing under a mask try to do any masked tasks quickly so that you can let it breathe again later).
Makeup and lotions should not interact with the piercing.
In other words, start with a dry and uncovered piercing.
Step 2: Find the Right Solution
Many people are misinformed when it comes to piercing cleaning. All you need to clean your piercing is sterile saline solution, often found at pharmacies worldwide (though you may see it labeled as wound wash).
When you look at the ingredients you should only see saline and water. Some advertise salt and water though these may be more drying.
If you must, you can use hot water alone.
Step 3: Spray
Spray your new nostril piercing with the saline solution or hot water. You shouldn't be touching the piercing with your fingers, though you can use tightly-woven gauze if necessary (more on that later).
If you're using hot water alone, this can be done in the shower. Simply let the hot water run on your face for a few seconds. This is also great for getting rid of those crusties.
Step 4: Dry
Remember, we want to keep our piercings dry! Gently pat your piercing with a clean fabric. Be careful to choose something that isn't going to catch on your piercing and irritate it. Knits and anything that's too fuzzy can be problematic for this.
What Not to Do
There's a lot of misinformation around the world when it comes to piercings. They're not considered important so you can read a lot of bad info.
Here are a few common mistakes people make when it comes to cleaning a nostril piercing (or any piercing for that matter)
Don't Remove, Move, or Twist Jewelry
This is the most common mistake, often encouraged by poor-quality piercing studios and shops like Claire's with misinformed workers.
Your jewelry will not get stuck if you don't move it. Moving it can cause bacteria to enter the piercing and it will hurt the fistula.
Think of it like a wound. When you have a new cut or scrape, are you supposed to pick at the scab? Why not?
Your skin is healing and it's healing around the new jewelry. It won't get stuck unless your jewelry is poorly sized or placed incorrectly. You also don't want to replace the jewelry even if you think you need to take it out to clean it.
Your jewelry will be clean if you are. Do not remove it during the healing period.
Do Not Use Harsh Cleansers or Chemicals
Many people are instructed to use things like isopropyl alcohol and Bactine on their new piercings. These are too harsh for your piercing and can cause inflammation and irritation. They're also unnecessary.
Similarly, avoid peroxide.
Using these products is tempting but you will only be slowing down your healing process.
There's a certain blue bottle of piercing spray popular amongst piercers. While this isn't as harmful as some other options, it does contain additives that may be allergens.
When in doubt, use saline or water.
Don't Use Cotton Balls
Cleaning with cotton balls is popular. They're soft, they can hold liquid, and they're affordable. What's the problem?
Cotton balls can catch on your piercing, making you tug it by accident (or worse, tug it out). Some people say that you can even catch the fuzz on the piercing and leave it there by accident. This can cause problems in the fistula and it's unhygienic in general.
Cotton pads, like those used for makeup, are an acceptable alternative. Tightly-woven gauze is also good. These are fine for drying or applying saline.
Don't Pick At Crusties
Your fresh piercing is going to secrete blood and lymph. While the blood should only last a day, lymph can last for months of the healing process. This is a clear to slightly yellow liquid that your body produces to heal wounds.
When it hardens, it becomes a darker color and it can accumulate on your piercing. You're going to want to pick at it!
Resist the urge. You don't want to disrupt your piercing. The crusties should be removed so that you don't experience swelling or irritation but it's best to do it with hot water in the shower. A clean syringe-type object is also good for this (like those used for patients who just got wisdom teeth removed to avoid dry socket).
If you absolutely must use your hands it's best to either sanitize beforehand or use clean gloves.
Bonus: General Aftercare
Keeping your piercing clean is the most important part of aftercare but it isn't the only one.
Aftercare is easy once you know what you're doing, but when in doubt, contact a highly-qualified piercer to get advice.
Do Not Go Swimming
Well, you can go swimming but you shouldn't be dunking your head underwater. If it's too tempting, you need to stay on land.
Remember, we want to keep your piercing dry.
Aside from this, there's so much bacteria in the water. Pools are treated with chemicals but these chemicals can dry out and irritate your fresh piercing.
Oceans and lakes are also harmful. There's a myth that the ocean is good for your piercings because of the salt. If it was only salt and water there may be some truth to that, but there's so much life in the ocean.
If you're too tempted to get in the water, put off the nostril piercing until you know that you'll have a few months without water.
Downsize On Time
You shouldn't be changing your own jewelry unless you have to (like, for example, during a pandemic when piercers can't help you with things below a mask).
Your piercer should have pierced you with oversized jewelry. Studs will stick out like small antennae and rings will be wide and extend past the nostril (if this isn't the case, consider seeing a different piercer). They should also have given you a downsize date or estimate.
When you return to them, they'll check on your piercing first. Then they'll measure you for your downsize.
This jewelry will be more comfortable, less likely to snag, and it will most likely be more visually appealing.
Don't Change Jewelry Early
While you should have a piercer change your jewelry, you should never change your own jewelry before your healing period is up. A nostril can take anywhere between 6 to 9 months to heal, though bodies vary. It heals from the inside out, so don't assume it's healed early just because it looks okay.
You were pierced with high-quality jewelry (hopefully). While healed piercings can tolerate shiny jewelry with different materials, fresh piercings require better quality metal to avoid any negative skin reactions.
It's tempting to choose the pretty and affordable options now, but wait to change until you've healed. You'll thank yourself later when you can wear fashion jewelry without irritation.
Your new piercing is a part of your body. The best thing that you can do to heal is to live a healthy lifestyle.
You can drink but only in moderation. Get exercise and eat well to keep your body functioning at its best. A healthy body will heal effectively.
When In Doubt, Talk to Your Piercer
Not all piercers are alike. When you're seeking advice or a second opinion, find someone who knows what they're talking about. They should be able to help you even if they didn't perform the piercing.
Many people suspect infections without realizing that piercings can be inflamed. A bump on a nose piercing is common and it's not an infection. It's a sign of irritation.
Take this to a piercer before you take it to a doctor. You'll save yourself a useless visit and some harmful advice.
New Nose Piercing? Awesome!
Knowing how to clean a nose piercing is the first step towards healing. Make sure to follow our aftercare instructions and you'll be changing out your jewelry to all of the pretty new options in no time!
To learn more, or to check out some of our jewelry for healed piercings, visit our site!