A new piercing is always a whimsical and exciting detail in anyone's appearance. However, it can quickly turn into a nightmare if the area becomes infected after putting on the jewel. Some people are more prone to infections than others, but it only takes a few simple steps to heal and allow the piercing to heal healthily and without infection.
Part 1 of 3: Caring for the Nose Piercing
Step 1. Trust a professional
It is well known among body modification enthusiasts that there is a right and a wrong way to get piercings. You need to be sure you are approaching a professional studio, renowned and where the piercer has a great experience. If you invest the time and effort to find the best and most qualified studio, your piercing will certainly have a much better chance of healing well and quickly. Additionally, an experienced professional is able to give you appropriate advice to take care of once the job is done. Here are some of the main factors to consider to make sure you get a safe piercing:
- A hollow piercing needle. Professional piercers use this type of needle because it is more hygienic and easier to control, especially for straight, well-placed piercings that heal quickly.
- Avoid getting gun piercings. This nose piercing tool can cause more pain and is not usually used for this purpose because it does not allow precise work. Also, as these guns are more difficult to clean, they could more easily transfer transmissible infections through the blood.
Step 2. Make sure your hands are clean when touching the piercing
You need to wash your hands with antibacterial soap every time you handle it. There is normally sebum on the face which, together with the secretions coming from the newly pierced nose (clear liquids and sometimes even blood) and the dirt on the hands, can cause an infection.
Step 3. Leave the jewelry in the hole
Unless there is a problem with the size, style or material of your first piece of jewelry, you should leave it where it is for as long as it takes to heal (usually 6-8 weeks).
However, if you want to change it while the hole is still healing, you should contact the piercer and have him replace it
Step 4. Clean it regularly
You have to be gentle with your new jewelry. First, use a cotton ball or cotton swab dipped in water and wipe off any residue and scabs that form on the site. You may think that by initially using alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, you will be able to kill the germs responsible for infections, but in reality these products also eliminate the "good" bacteria that are trying to heal the wound; therefore do not use these too aggressive disinfectants. A safe and easy-to-use cleaner to clean the piercing is a saline solution: simply dissolve some salt in the water to create a solution suitable for this purpose. You can dip a cotton ball or Q-tip into the solution, or you can directly dip the pierced nose into a bowl of salt water. If you choose the second option, let your nose soak for at least 5-10 minutes once a day. Finally, you can rinse it off to get rid of any residual dirt. To create a saline solution at home you will need:
- A pinch of non-iodized sea salt (without iodine).
- 250 ml of warm water, distilled or bottled.
Step 5. Look for signs of infection
Some piercing injuries or ailments may be visible, but others may not be noticed by an inexperienced eye. At first it is normal for there to be some bleeding, localized swelling, achiness, burning sensation, itching, a whitish or yellowish discharge (plasma, not pus) and some crusting on the site. But it's important to know how to distinguish between the normal side effects and the signs of an infection, so that you can eventually treat it better and as soon as possible. Among the most common signs of piercing infection you can note:
- Persistent itching or redness.
- Pain or tenderness to the touch.
- Sensation of heat or burning over the area.
- Fluid leaking from the hole, such as pus or blood.
- Bad smell.
Part 2 of 3: Treating the Infection
Step 1. Check the symptoms
An infection and an allergic reaction have similar symptoms, so it is important to be able to distinguish between them in order to treat the area if it is infected. The allergic reaction differs in a burning sensation, the skin retracts around the hole (as if trying to move away from the metal), and a loss of yellowish or clear liquid.
Some metals can cause an allergic reaction, therefore it is advisable to use surgical steel, titanium, platinum, niobium, gold (as long as it is 14k or more), nickel-free and biocompatible alloy rods. If an allergy occurs, you must immediately contact the piercer to have the material of the jewel replaced promptly
Step 2. Follow a thorough cleaning procedure
Continue to clean the piercing with soap and water or a saline solution to help eliminate the bacteria causing infections. A nose piercing infection can be caused by different factors, such as the introduction of external pathogens (bacteria and fungi), the use of a jewel that is too tight or poor hygiene habits. Therefore you need to make sure you regularly and thoroughly clean your piercing until it heals completely, usually about 6-8 weeks after doing it.
Step 3. Implement some home remedies
If the infection doesn't seem particularly serious, you can try to treat it yourself with home remedies before seeing your doctor. You can try some of the solutions described here:
- Warm saline compresses: encourage greater blood circulation in the affected area, accelerating healing.
- Cold compresses: Help reduce swelling, pain or discomfort in the piercing area. When applying them to the site, be sure not to place the ice directly on the skin, as you could damage the tissues around the affected area. Instead, wrap it in a cloth or towel before applying it.
- Wraps with sachets of chamomile: This is also an effective home remedy, especially if the saline solution has not given the desired results. Simply dip the sachets in hot water and place them with some pressure on the piercing area. Let them sit for 10 minutes and when they get cold, dip them back into hot water.
- Dough of aspirin: put some aspirin in a glass (about 4 tablets) with very little water, in order to create a paste. Apply it to the infected area every night before going to sleep; after a few days check how the healing is progressing. Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory, meaning it can reduce the infection without causing irritation.
Step 4. Do not use too aggressive disinfectants
If you regularly clean your piercing, you should avoid using this type of product; this is even more true if the area is infected. You should not use too strong substances such as tea tree oil, alcohol, betadine, hydrogen peroxide, and denatured alcohol on infected areas, as this could promote the formation of scars or growths.
- These harsh disinfectants can create a burning sensation and cause more irritation in an already suffering area, not to mention that they kill the cells that are trying to fight the infection.
- Other antibacterial ointments, such as Neosporin, can prevent air from circulating freely in the area.
Step 5. Contact your doctor
If the infection does not go away or subside within a few days (at most within a week), the best thing you can do to treat your infected piercing is to describe the problem to your doctor. You can contact a dermatologist or your doctor; however, if you are unable to contact your doctor or go to a clinic, you can go back to the same piercer who punched you and have him advise you on the appropriate treatments.
Part 3 of 3: Keeping the Piercing Healthy
Step 1. Be careful not to irritate the piercing
Take precautions when dressing or undressing, as it would be very painful if the jewel were to get caught in your clothing while putting it on or taking it off. Take your time when getting dressed, move very carefully and avoid yanking the nose ring with your clothes.
Some people try to sleep on the opposite side of the piercing, or use a neck pillow, so as not to irritate the jewelry while sleeping
Step 2. Do not put cosmetics on the piercing area
Be careful not to put any lotion, make-up or facial cleansing products on your face while the piercing is healing. If this happens, immediately rinse the product gently with a little warm salt water.
Step 3. Prevent the piercing from coming into contact with unsterilized water
Do not immerse your nose in waters such as lakes, swimming pools or hot tubs during the healing phase, to avoid possible infections. Optionally, you can get waterproof dressings and sealants to avoid exposing the area to water. You can find these gauze pads at all pharmacies.
- When taking a shower, hold your nose under running water. Hot water helps "wash away" the bacteria present on the piercing.
- Keep your head in an appropriate position when you sleep to reduce swelling.
- A strong and aggressive solution is not necessarily better; too concentrated saline solution can irritate the piercing.
- Never use thick creams as they can clog the hole.
- Vitamin E oil is great against scars and bumps and is easily absorbed.
- Wrap the pillow in a large, clean T-shirt and turn it over every night; this way you have four clean surfaces to rest your head on when you sleep.
- If you have sensitive skin, you need to clean it less than 2-3 times a day, otherwise you can irritate the piercing area.
- Never use a petroleum-based product such as Neosporin. Also, avoid using alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and iodine tincture.