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Caring for a New Piercing: Dos and Don’ts
New piercings can take between six weeks and several months to fully heal. Until then, you’ll want to follow these simple aftercare tips—along with anything else your piercer recommends.
Clean it. Clean your piercing once or twice a day with mild antibacterial soap, taking care to rinse the piercing thoroughly.
Soak it. Soak your piercing in a saline solution for 5–10 minutes at least twice per day. Your piercer might supply a bottle, but otherwise you can make your own by dissolving one-quarter teaspoon of pure noniodized salt in one cup of warm distilled water. (If it’s not possible to fully soak the piercing, apply the solution with clean gauze or paper towels.) For piercings inside the mouth, rinse with the saline solution or an alcohol-free antibacterial mouthwash for 30 seconds up to five times a day.
Sleep safely. Wear clean, breathable clothing around your piercing when sleeping, and change your bedding regularly. For ear or facial piercings, try slipping a T-shirt over your pillow and rotating it to a different side each night to ensure a clean surface.
Don’t take it out. Even a years-old piercing can close up within a matter of minutes if the jewelry is removed. Even if you suspect your piercing has become infected, it’s important to contact a medical professional before removing it, as this may create further complications.
Don’t fiddle with it. Resist the temptation to rotate or touch the piercing at all except during cleaning. If you do have to handle your piercing, make sure you wash your hands first.
No swimming. Bodies of water tend to be ideal habitats for bacteria, which means that hot tubs, pools, lakes, apple-bobbing tournaments, and even bathtubs are off limits for a while to decrease the risk of infection.