Keeping your piercings clean is very important, especially when you've been recently pierced. It's important to remember that a body piercing is literally a wound. Your body will absolutely treat it that way!
It's important to keep wounds clean, right? Yes. But a piercing is a special kind of wound. Nobody wants an infection or a rejection, of course... But there is certainly a balance to be struck. Work with your body to keep your piercing clean (but not too clean) and you'll have a happy, healed piercing in no time!
Disclaimer: Body Candy is only here to give you helpful advice and information when it comes to getting pierced. Always consult a professional piercer for the correct aftercare advice! If you think you have an infection or another medical issue with your piercing, it's time to consult your doctor.
How often is too often?
Once or twice a day. That's all you need.
Use some saline or a gentle salt water solution. Try not to scrub at the piercing at all - let the water do the work.
While you're getting used to the look and feel of having a foreign object in your body, it's going to be tempting to fidget with it. This includes cleaning your jewelry!
It's simple - don't mess with your jewelry too often when it's healing. Surprisingly, one of the best ways to heal up quickly is to leave your piercing alone.
What happens when you mess with your piercings?
A common misconception is that "spinning" or "rotating" your jewelry in your piercing will help it heal. This used to be the go-to method for cleaning your fresh piercings - rotating an earring would "ensure cleaning product got to the inside of the piercing" and "would prevent skin from adhering to the jewelry."
We now know otherwise - during the healing process, your body will form a tunnel of new tissue around the jewelry known as a "fistula." When you rotate the jewelry inside of a fresh piercing hole, you can damage the delicate new cells with too much cleaning product or friction, and can actually introduce new bacteria into the piercing. This will ultimately delay the process of healing.
You should only be concerned with gently cleaning the "crust" away from the outside of a piercing. A gentle cleaning once (no more than twice) a day will suffice.
What NOT to put on your piercings?
Although it might seem like a good idea to clean your piercings with
Rubbing alcohol or witch hazel are far too harsh to be placed directly onto a piercing. They have a drying effect on the skin, which can lead to chafing, dryness, and extra irritation. All of these complications will ultimately increase the time required for healing.
Again, although essential oils (like tea tree oil) have a therapeutic effect in some uses, they should never be used on a healing piercing.
Yes, this is technically a "saline solution" - but it's not formulated for the gentle skin around a piercing hole. Stick with a warm salt-water bath.
We recommend a salt water solution as a "cleaning solution." We've also included a helpful little graphic with Body Candy's secret (and super simple) recipe for a salt soak that should work for you.
Some piercers might recommend a mild, fragrance-free antibacterial/anti-microbial liquid soap, or a pea-sized amount of baby soap. Just like a salt water soak, plan to apply it once, but no more than twice a day. You can let it sit on your piercing for 30 seconds. Afterwards, rinse gently but thoroughly. Do not try to work the soap into the piercing, and make sure when you're done that no traces of soap remain on the piercing for an extended period of time. Dry it with a clean paper towel so you don't accidentally snag it on a cloth towel.