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How to Clean a Nose Piercing

Taking care of your new nose piercing properly can help it heal without getting infection, irritation or pain. Learning how to clean a nose piercing reduces the chance of inflammation and promotes healing. At the same time, other care tips such as maintaining a healthy lifestyle by sleeping well and not smoking should be taken into consideration. In addition, you should only touch your face and your piercings when your hands have been washed.

How to Clean a Nose Piercing

1. Prepare a Salt Solution

Dissolve ¼ tsp. of non-iodized sea salt in one cup of lukewarm water or buy a saline solution from the chemist.

2. Wash Your Hands

Thoroughly clean your hands with antibacterial soap before you touch your piercing. This will ensure that germs from your hands do not get into the piercing and prevent infection.

3. Soak a Cotton Ball in the Salt Solution

Soak a cotton ball in the solution you have prepared and gently dab it on the piercing for three to four minutes. Remove it with caution just in case it gets caught in the stud or nose ring.

4. Pat the Area Dry

Use a paper towel, clean tissue or a dry cotton ball to dry the area. Avoid towels as they can snag on the stud or ring. They could also be holding bacteria that can cause an infection.

5. Remove Any Crusting

Dip a cotton swab in the salt solution and use it to rub around the ring to remove any crusting. Also, rub it inside the nostril. Crusting tears the skin and can cause the piercing to be inflamed. However, don’t rub your piercing too hard.

Tips for Aftercare of Nose Piercing

Knowing how to clean a nose piercing is not enough, one should also know how to take care in order to avoid infection.

  • When the piercing is healing, it is not necessary to move, turn or rotate the stud.
  • Eat a healthy diet and sleep early.
  • Change and wash your towels and beddings weekly.
  • Take shower instead of a bath. If you do want to have a bath, first clean the bath tub as it might be harboring germs.
  • Do not use alcohol, Hibiclens liquid, Betadine solution, Dial soap, hydrogen peroxide or other strong chemicals to clean the piercing as they may injure the healing piercing. Ointments are also not advisable as they do not let the piercing breathe.
  • Do not use products containing benzalkonium chloride or any ear piercing cleaning solution. They can cause irritation to the nose piercing.
  • Do not over-clean, or you may end up irritating the piercing and making it more difficult to heal.
  • Avoid too much motion or irritation from clothing. This could lengthen the healing process and leave scars.
  • Avoid unwashed hands, rough play or other body fluids coming into contact with the piercing while it is healing.
  • Avoid drugs, alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and stress.
  • Protect the piercing by water proof bandages when soaking in a tub, swimming or diving.
  • All beauty products should not come into contact with the piercing, including sprays, lotion and cosmetics.
  • Do not hang anything from the nose ring until it has healed completely.

How Long Does It Take for a Nose Piercing to Heal?

Type of Nose Piercing

Healing Time

Nostril piercing

4 to 6 months (both high and regular nostril piercings)

Septum piercing

6 to 8 weeks (as long as only the sweet spot was pierced; not below or above)

Rhino piercing

6 to 9 months

Nasallang piercing

4 to 6 months

Bridge piercing

8 to 12 weeks

Signs of Healing

If the area around the piercing looks normal and the minimum healing time has passed, your nose piercing might have healed. This means you do not see flakes, discharge, swelling and discoloration. The hole will feel tight, making it difficult to move the stud. However, there is a chance that the piercing might look healed but it is actually not. The reason is that piercings start healing from the outside. Even though you do not feel pain when you move the stud in the piercing, it might still be very delicate inside. For this reason, it is better to wait for the maximum healing time to pass before trying to change the stud.

What If I Have an Infected Nose Piercing?

Pain on the area around the nose piercing, swelling and redness are normal on the first day of the piercing. However, they all reduce as your piercing heals. It is even more important to learn how to clean a nose piercing when you get an infection. The symptoms of a nose piercing infection include pain, swelling, bleeding and green or yellow pus with a foul smell. If you have trouble with your piercing, try some of these remedies.

1. Cold Compress

It will relieve the pain and swelling. Wrap ice in a towel or cloth, and then place it in the piercing.

2. Tea Tree Oil

When the piercing gets an inflammation, tea tree oil will help boost the antiseptic capabilities of sea salt soaks. Thoroughly mix 2 teaspoons of carrier oil with 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil. Dip a cotton ball in the mixture and apply on the infected area.

3. Aspirin Paste

Aspirin is anti-inflammatory medication and can help heal the piercing without causing additional irritation. Mix a little water with 4 tablets of aspirin and make a paste. Apply it before going to bed.

4. Seek Medical Attention

If the infection is still persistent after a week, visit a dermatologist or general health care provider for help.

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