Nipple piercing can be done for self-expression, to increase sensitivity or for aesthetic reasons. Whatever your reason for doing it, know that the injury requires a little care and attention. You should be very careful during the healing process. Cleaning can be long and tedious, but absolutely essential if you want to stay healthy, avoid infection, irritation or discharge.
Part 1 of 3: Caring for a new piercing
Step 1. Clean it twice a day
The wound can take 3 to 6 months to heal, or even longer if you don't take care of it or if it becomes infected.
- Use only a salt water bath or sterile solution to clean your nipple.
- If you wash it excessively or use harsh products, the wound will become irritated and take longer to heal.
Step 2. Avoid any sexual activity involving stimulation of the nipple
You should also avoid anything that involves touching your piercing. Saliva contains bacteria that can trigger an infection. This precaution may seem like overkill, but if the wound is infected, you have to face a much more serious problem that will take quite a long time to heal. Take preventative measures to ensure proper healing and your body will thank you.
In addition to saliva, you should also avoid rubbing or touching the piercing and any rough play
Step 3. Wear clean clothes with a breathable fabric
You are likely to feel more comfortable wearing a regular sports bra (a bra that is not made for high impact sports), a tank top, or a shirt. You should prefer cotton because it absorbs sweat and is breathable, reducing the likelihood of bacteria accumulating and therefore developing an infection.
- Wash and change your sheets once a week.
- Wear a well-fitting sports bra or tank top when sleeping to prevent the piercing from getting caught in sheets or a comforter.
Step 4. Recognize what is normal
You may notice some tension and changes in the color of the skin around the nipple during the healing process. Your body may also secrete a yellowish-white liquid, and you may notice a scab on the jewelry. These are completely normal phenomena. You might notice scabs even after the wound has healed, but you can wash them off easily with lukewarm water.
Pay attention to how much secretions and scabs you have. This will allow you to assess what is normal
Step 5. Recognize infections
If you experience unusual swelling, redness, stinging, itching, rash, pain that does not decrease or go away, the wound may be infected. If there is no infection, you may simply be sensitive to the cleaning product used or the jewelry in your piercing.
- Pay attention to your body. If you think there is something wrong, take a look.
- If you smell a bad smell, an increase in secretions, or a change in color (other than normal), it is also possible that you have an infection.
Step 6. See a doctor or the person who put the piercing on you
If you notice any signs of infection, you should call one of these professionals. Above all, do not remove the jewel. Removing it does not automatically remove the infection. Instead, leave it where it is and wait for the consultation (with one of them).
- See the professionals as soon as you notice the first signs of infection. The longer you wait, the worse the situation will get.
- You may be advised to remove your piercing, take antibiotics, or have surgery. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics.
Part 2 of 3: clean the nipple piercing
Step 1. Wash your hands
Always wash your hands before touching the piercing. Wet your hands, apply suds with soap and rub them for at least 20 seconds. You can wash them with an alcohol-based disinfectant if you don't want to wash them with soap and water. However, the disinfectant will not be able to make them so clean.
- If you don't wash them before touching your piercing, germs and bacteria could infect it.
- You can hum the song "Happy Birthday" twice in your head rather than counting to 20.
Step 2. Clean the piercing when you are in the shower
Lightly soap your hands and apply some lather to your nipple. Then rinse with water, avoiding leaving any residue.
- Opt for a dye-free and fragrance-free soap. Avoid harsh ones that can irritate the skin surrounding the piercing.
- Do not apply the soap directly to your piercing and make sure that the lather does not stay there for more than 30 seconds.
- Do not wash the piercing (this way) more than twice a day.
Step 3. Dip the piercing in saline solution
This method is the best for taking care of your piercing. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of pure sea salt (non-iodized) in 250 ml of distilled water in a clean glass. Bend down and place the nipple in the container to submerge it completely. Squeeze the glass towards your body to create a sort of "suction cup effect" so that the solution cannot spill or leak out. You can stand or sit during the process.
- Leave the piercing submerged for about 5 to 10 minutes or more.
- Before soaking it, heat the solution in the microwave. Make sure you don't burn yourself, but remember that the hotter the water the better.
- Throw away the solution as soon as you are finished.
- Do this twice a day or even more often if the injury does not heal properly.
- You can prepare 4 liters of this solution and store it in the refrigerator. Then heat only the amount you will need for each cleanse. If you decide to brew a large amount, dilute 4 teaspoons of salt in 4 liters of distilled water.
- After doing this for 4 weeks, start by cleaning it every 2 or 3 days.
Step 4. Use sterile saline solution
The second best cleansing solution you can choose to take care of the wound is pre-made solutions. Spray it on the nipple, completely wetting the piercing. It is not necessary to rinse it.
- You can find it in any supermarket or pharmacy.
- Do not apply it on a cotton swab or cotton ball before using, spray it directly on the skin.
Step 5. Dry the area
After cleaning, gently dab the piercing with a paper towel. Cloth napkins are a breeding ground for bacteria and their fibers can catch on the jewelry. Ask your piercer if you can rotate the jewelry while cleaning.
Part 3 of 3: Avoiding Infections
Step 1. Do not use harsh chemicals to clean your piercings
Avoid cleaning them with betadine, iodopovidone, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, products containing lidocaine, commercial disinfectants or harsh soaps. Do not even apply detergents containing benzalkonium chloride (BZK) and antibiotic ointments such as bacitracin, neosporin. These creams often contain petroleum jelly and keep the piercing moist, which will attract bacteria.
- These substances and ointments interfere with the healing process by preventing the piercing from receiving oxygen.
- Also, you should avoid personal care products (such as lotions, shampoos, conditioners) on the piercing. Wash your hair (before) and use other products if you want to clean the piercing while taking a shower.
Step 2. Don't play with your piercings
You might be tempted to touch and play with your piercing, but try to resist. If the wound is still healing, touch it only when you need to clean it. Do not turn the jewelry or twist it either.
Step 3. Keep it dry
Dab the jewelry and the sore as soon as you leave the shower or finish disinfecting them. Change your clothes regularly and don't wear tight, sweaty clothes on the piercing for too long. Always use clean, disposable items (such as paper towels or cotton balls) to dry it, as (cloth) towels can contain bacteria.
- Do not immerse the piercing in lake water, in a swimming pool or in a jacuzzi. It would be a good idea not to go swimming until the hole has completely healed.
- If you go swimming, apply a waterproof bandage and clean the piercing as soon as you get out of the water.