How To: Care for your body piercing

Care for your body piercing

Prevent infection by keeping your ear, nose, lip, tongue, navel, eyebrow, and other body piercings clean.

Step 1
When you're ready to get a piercing, be sure to consult the Association of Professional Piercers for a trained and licensed body artist.

Step 2
Use jewelry that is less likely to contribute to an infection, like implant-grade surgical steel, surgical titanium, solid gold, and platinum. Many piercers require you to buy the starter jewelry from them to ensure quality control.

Step 3
Touch the piercing as infrequently as possible, and never without washing your hands with antimicrobial soap first.

Step 4
Saturate the piercing site twice a day for six weeks in sterile saline solution, or one-eighth of a teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt dissolved in one cup of distilled water. Dab with gauze or a cotton ball and gently rinse to remove residue.

Step 5
Don't use hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, antiseptics, ointments, or mouthwash that contains alcohol; they can interfere with healing.

Step 6
Avoid swimming, hot tubs, and even baths: Chlorine can irritate the piercing, and bacteria thrive in these environments. While showering, apply a little of your regular soap lather to the piercing, and rinse thoroughly. Pat dry with a paper towel, not your bath towel. Keep lotions, sprays, creams, and perfumes away from the piercing. Change your sheets every few days.

Step 7
Be on the lookout for signs of infection, like pus, swelling, redness, or pain at the piercing site. Consult a doctor if you notice any of these symptoms.

Step 8
Keep the jewelry in place for as long as the piercer recommends.

Fact: Besides the ear, the most popular piercing among women is the navel, while men opt most often to pierce their nipples.

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