6 Unexpected But Foolproof Ways To Take Care Of Piercings

There is much to be said, I think, in favor of piercings. Not just the ones in your ears, attained for free (plus the price of the earrings) at your local Claire’s–ones that dot  noses, lips, tongues, belly buttons. The ones that make a statement. They’re interesting. They are a way to make people take notice of you, and set off metal detectors, and feel as though you fit in at the cool coffee shop down the street that only sells vegan beignets and artisan cold brew, and only in Mason jars. What I am trying to say is that piercings make you look cool, which, as everyone knows, is the most important thing that a human being can try to achieve.

But no matter how interesting, or how cool, or how fitting to a bespoke espresso cafe your piercings may be, all piercings are basically no good if they get infected. Which, you know, is something that happens if you don’t take care of them properly. Infections are painful, uncomfortable, and kind of gross, to be honest – not to mention potentially dangerous, which is obviously the most important. You should be doing everything you can to avoid them. So, check out these things you didn’t know about taking care of piercings:

Ask Your Piercer To Use A Needle, Not A Gun

While a gun might seem like a more viable option--more high-tech, faster--you should actually ask your piercer to use a needle over a gun whenever possible. Guns actually push the tissue of your skin out, causing more damage to your skin. Needles, on the other hand, have a cleaner puncture, so there is less damage to the skin. It's also easier to sterilize a needle over a gun.

Image source: iStock

Don't Use Rubbing Alcohol To Clean It

For a fresh piercing, you can--and should--clean out the piercing with soap and water, a saline solution, or the solution that comes with the piercing. Just make sure you don't use rubbing alcohol, which dries out the piercing to the point where it becomes more susceptible to infection.

Image source: iStock

Make Sure Your Piercing Is Hypoallergenic

When you first get a piercing, your best option is gold stainless steel. Anything else (like sterling silver, which can contain traces of lead) can cause infections, irritation, and allergic reactions.

Image source: iStock

Only 'Turn' The Ring When It's Wet

Your piercer will probably tell you to rotate your piercing a couple times a day, but what they might not mention is that it's important to only do it when it's wet (so, after applying some of the cleaning solution). Otherwise, it can irritate the piercing and cause unnecessary bleeding.

Image source: iStock

Know The Difference In Care For 'Organic' Piercings

If you get an "organic" piercing--bone, wood, or horn, usually used for gauges--know that the caring techniques for them are different. Instead of a sterile solution, you want to use an oil, like emu or jojoba.

Image source: iStock

Stay Away From Unnecessary Irritants

Try not to get any chemicals or irritants like perfume or hairspray near your new piercing. If you've just gotten a new ear piercing, you should also try not to use over-ear headphones, since this can cause unnecessary pressure (and possible infection) for the piercing. If you've just worked out, or just gotten out of the pool, you want to make sure that you clean out your piercing right away. Sweat and chlorine are definitely irritants, so it's important to clear them out ASAP.

Image source: iStock

Do you have any piercings? Did you know any of these tips? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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