Myth Busting: Aftercare "Tips"

What makes or breaks the healing of a piercing is the aftercare. There are countless articles, blog posts, and websites out there that all claim to have the best tips and tricks to take care of your fresh piercing. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them rely on outdated procedures or fad-based ideas that aren't truly helpful.

The most common self-help plan out there is the “DIY Sea Salt.” This is a terrible idea for multiple reasons. The water typically used is non-sterile, as is the salt. Using any non-sterile solution or liquid on a fresh piercing runs the risk of infection or contamination. Application of a DIY solution also involves using a cotton ball or Q-tip; these items aren't sterile, either. Cotton is also extremely fibrous and fibers break off very easily and insert themselves into the healing wound. This will ultimately to irritation and the possibility of your piercing not healing at all.

Another top-listed helping hand for piercings is tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is sited as cure-all for keloids, bumps, and infections. There is no medical research to vouch for that. While it is an antiseptic capable of soothing most infections, keloids and infections must both be dealt with by medical professionals. There is no DIY or over-the-counter cure for either. Keloids are a permanent mass that require surigcal removal. In short, if it goes away on its own, it's not a keloid. Tea tree oil will not fix the issue.

Commonly, people use rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide on their piercings. This is problematic. As an ethanol-based liquid, rubbing alcohol will dehydrate your wound, leading to cracking and scabbing. Hydrogen peroxide is a debrider that clears out any contaminates in a wound. In piercings, this can cause a reopening of the wound. Therefore, it is against recommendation to use either rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

Googling “aftercare for piercings” will immediately bring up hundreds of articles. However, the majority of them don't provide adequate or even safe assistance. As always, reach out to your piercer for any help.

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