Piercing Aftercare Myths

Body piercing has become more and more popular over the past years. Twenty years ago it was daring to have a third hole pierced in the top of your ear. Today, the cashier at the supermarket may sport a ring through her brow, her nose or her lip, and the president of the PTA just may be hiding a navel piercing beneath her Lands End button down. Along with the growing popularity, though, have come myths handed down about the best way to help your new body piercing heal. Most of these are not helpful at all, and some can be downright harmful. Here are some of the most popular and accepted myths about caring for a new body piercing, and what the experts have to say.

Consult a piercing professional or doctor if you have an infection. The information on this page is strictly advisory.

MYTH: Rotate your new jewelry often to keep the skin from attaching itself to the metal.

TRUTH: No, say the pros. Keep your hands OFF new jewelry and piercings to reduce the risk of infection. In fact, the only thing that rotating the jewelry does - aside from introducing germs - is damage newly forming tissue so that the healing has to start all over again.


MYTH: If there are signs of infection, you should take out the jewelry immediately.

TRUTH: Leave the jewelry in, say the experts. Taking it out will very likely result in the skin healing OVER the infected area, which will then have to be surgically opene to drain. If you leave the jewelry in, the wound stays open and infection can drain, promoting healing.


MYTH: Clean the newly pierced area as often as possible to get rid of germs that can cause infection.

TRUTH: Most new piercings should be cleaned no more than twice daily with a mild antibacterial soap. More frequent cleaning actually damages the tissue that’s forming and can encourage infection rather than discourage it.


MYTH: Use alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, HibaClens or another antibacterial cleaner on the piercing to prevent infection.

TRUTH: Alcohol and most other antibiotic/antibacterial cleaners damage new tissue and prolong healing times. The best thing you can do is clean twice a day with a mild antibacterial soap recommended by your piercing professional, and use salt water soaks as recommended.


MYTH: You should use antibacterial ointment on your new piercing to prevent infection.

TRUTH: Actually, antibacterial ointments can clog the piercing site, making it difficult for it to drain. Avoid using any kind of cream or petroleum based ointments around your new piercing.


MYTH: After a few weeks when the piercing is healed, you can take out the jewelry and the holes will stay open.

TRUTH: They may - or may not. Even piercings that have been fully healed for years can close up within minutes when the jewelry is removed. If you really want to keep your piercing, keep the jewelry in.

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