Using Sea Salt as Aftercare: What, How, & Why?
Healthy and effective aftercare is incredibly important when it comes to any fresh piercing. A new piercing that is taken care of will heal faster, prevent unforeseen problems, and will help you enjoy your piercing to the fullest.
An important and very common suggestion for aftercare is the use of saline or salt water. Why is salt an effective cleanser? Do different types of salt have different levels of effectiveness? How often should I be soaking my piercings?
From belly button rings to nose rings, Body Candy is here to help you make smart and informed decisions when it comes to your aftercare needs!
Why does salt work?
First and foremost, it's helpful to understand that every body is different! While there is no universal aftercare solution that will work for every single person in every situation, salt soaks are one of the most common and effective ways to treat a piercing.
When your skin is wounded, salt deposits in your body help to activate cells that fight off infection. Soaking your fresh piercing in saline will deliver therapeutic amounts of salt to the wound, which helps aid in the overall healing process. These soaks can flush out any discharge or debris that may be slowing down the healing process. A warm salt soak can help to soothe the pesky itches and irritations that come along with a fresh piercing. It also helps to promote much-needed circulation to the wound.
What kind of salt should I use?
When searching for salt, aim for a non-iodized sea salt. Sea salt often contains extra (and natural) minerals that can aid with the overall healing process.
When selecting salt for your solution, be sure to avoid regular table salts or Epsom salts. While the salt you use in your kitchen can also be effective, these varieties often contain chemicals that can irritate or even prolong the healing process. Because of this, when creating your salt soak solution, non-iodized sea salt is always going to be the safest and healthiest option.
For situations where soaking isn't an option (like work, school, or traveling), pre-made solutions (made by companies like H2Ocean) come in piercing aftercare sprays or mouth rinses. H2Ocean specifically is specially formulated with purified water, sea salt, lysozyme and sodium benzoate; these are all chemicals that are naturally found in the body's own metabolism.
How often should I soak?
A general rule of thumb is to soak your piercings at least twice a day. If you are having difficulty with healing or are feeling extra irritated/sore, gradually increase the frequency of your salt soaks.
Every piercing will have a different process for soaking - for some piercings (like nipples, ears, or nostrils), the entire body part might need to be submerged in the saline solution. When possible, a cup of warm salt solution can be held against the skin to form a seal. It's best to attempt this in a shower or bathtub to avoid a salt water mess.
Though it may be tempting to create a super-strong salt potion, a properly-formulated mixture is integral to achieving the most therapeutic results. Be sure to check out our convenient little chart to help create the most effective salt soak mixture.
As always, if you are experiencing any medical issue including pain or discomfort - consult your professional piercer!