In order to keep your new nose piercing looking and feeling great, you’ll need to learn how to clean it correctly for the duration of the healing process, which can last six weeks to nine months depending on the piercing and the person. Here’s how.
Nose Piercing Aftercare Essentials
Nose Piercing Cleaning Routine
Wash your hands: Any time you’re cleaning a new nose piercing, make sure that you’ve washed your hands thoroughly. A new piercing is essentially an open wound, so touching it with dirty hands will increase the chances that it gets infected.
Apply sea salt solution: Soak a clean cotton ball with SSS and gently hold it against your piercing for a minute or two. Repeat this process for five minutes, making sure to soak both the inside and outside of the piercing. Be careful that the cotton balls don’t snag your nose ring. You may want to buy a small bulb syringe from a pharmacy in order to flush the inner part of the piercing with SSS.
Dry the area: When you’re done soaking your piercing, pat it dry with a clean, dry cotton ball or facial tissue. Again, be careful that it doesn’t snag your jewelry.
Rinse between cleanings: Carry a bottle of piercing aftercare spray to flush dirt and debris from your nose piercing and provide cooling relief three to four times per day between cleanings.
Watch for irritation and inflammation: If you’re experiencing persistent redness or irritation, you may want to apply a small amount of tea tree oil or jojoba oil directly to the piercing. These oils are all-natural moisturizers and antiseptics. If you make your own SSS, you can also add two to three drops of either oil to one cup of SSS to use during your cleaning routine.
Make it a habit: Incorporate these aftercare steps into your morning and evening routine; cleaning your piercing is just as important as washing your face and brushing your teeth. Cleaning a new piercing less than twice a day increases the risk of bacterial buildup and infection, but cleaning your piercing too frequently may cause dryness and irritation, which could also lead to infection. If you occasionally miss a cleaning, it’s alright — just pick up again the next morning or evening.
What to Avoid During the Healing Process
1. Scratching, tugging, or unnecessarily handing your piercing or nose ring.
2. Touching your piercing with unwashed hands.
3. Moving your jewelry to break up dried lymph fluids, or “crusties,” which the body secretes as a natural part of the healing process. Instead, use SSS or aftercare spray to soften the crusties and then gently wipe them away with a cotton ball or facial tissue.
4. Applying balms, creams, cosmetics, or ointments to your piercing while it is healing, as they may trap bacteria and increase the risk of infection.
5. Completely submerging your new piercing in water, which can carry bacteria that may lead to infection.
6. Washing your piercing with regular soap, unless your piercer strongly recommends it.
See your piercer immediately if swelling presses your nose ring or stud uncomfortably into your nose, or if you develop a rash or other signs of allergic reaction. You may need a different size of jewelry or a different material, such as titanium, surgical steel, or bioplastic.
See your doctor if the skin around your piercing is hot to the touch, streaked with redness, discharging thick, yellowish pus, or if you develop a fever. These are all symptoms of infection, which you may need antibiotics to address. If you do get an infection, you don’t have to give up your nose piercing — just follow your doctor’s instructions and keep up with your aftercare routine.