Tea Bag Compresses
Piercing aftercare can be quite tricky. Everyone's body is different and every piercer is different, meaning each and every time you head to a piercing shop, your experience will be unique. Sea salt soaks and sterile saline sprays are a very common aftercare procedure and are almost always a safe bet... But occasionally a professional piercer may recommend putting a tea bag on your piercing.
What's that all about?
It might not be too far of a stretch to understand that a gentle tea bag compress would be soothing on a fresh piercing. After all, a nice cup of tea in the evening is a great way to wind down after a long hard day... But what's the actual, scientific reasoning behind this pleasant soothing sensation?
When you take a sip of strong, black tea, you'll probably experience a bitter, earthy taste. This flavor profile comes from tannins, which are chemical compounds that have lots of beneficial properties, especially when applied to your healing piercings. A strongly-brewed black tea will be packed full of tannins, which is what makes them such great aftercare tools.
Fun fact: tannins are what gives tea its rich, brown color.
Antiseptic - a substance that stops or slows down the growth of microorganisms like bacteria
Antiviral - a substance that suppresses a virus' ability to reproduce or kills it altogether
Anti-inflammatory - a substance that reduces inflammation or swelling
Other Tea-Related Goodness:
Tannins aren't the only amazing benefit of tea bag compresses. Because the compress is warm, it can help to encourage circulation to the piercing site. More blood flow to your piercing means that much extra healing attention being provided by your body's natural reaction to being injured.
Certain types of tea are also full of potent flavonoids and other powerful anti-oxidants, which are both helpful in fighting inflammation and free-radical cells that can damage your bodily tissues.
How to Apply a Tea Bag To Your Piercing:
Sometimes sea salt soaks are inconvenient (have you ever tried to gracefully dip your nipple or nose into salt water?). It's certainly possible, but in some cases, a tea bag might actually be a lot more convenient. Here are the steps for a successful application:
1.) Brew the tea bag - unpack the tea bag and put it in a mug or cup. Add hot water so that the tea bag starts to release its brown color.
2.) Take the tea bag out - BE CAREFUL - if you used boiling water to brew the tea, wait until the bag is warm to the touch so you don't burn your skin.
3.) Wring the tea bag - head to a sink and squeeze some of the moisture out of the tea bag. Just a bit of dampness is fine - there is no need to have tea dripping down your body while you are applying the tea bag compress.
4.) Press the bag to your piercing - don't be shy, put the tea bag directly onto your piercing. Not too hard - you don't want to put any unnecessary pressure on the piercing. Putting the tea bag directly onto the piercing site (so it makes contact with the skin) will ensure the tannins can work their magic, and will also form a protective barrier between your piercing and the world.
5.) Leave it on - there's no time limit to how long you should apply these compresses. Try to do it while you are relaxing, so you're not fussing with it. Kick back and watch your favorite show or read a book.
6.) Repeat as often as possible - there's also no limit on the amount of times you can do this in a day. Just make sure you aren't putting any unnecessary pressure on the piercing site. Try to make time to do this once a day
Bonus.) Drink the tea - no use letting that freshly brewed cup go to waste! You can even drink the tea while you use the tea bag as a compress! Very meta.
For more information about sea salt soaks, another wonderful aftercare tip, check out our helpful blog here.