Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — Written by Lydia Kibet on November 30, 2020

A new nose piercing requires regular and thorough cleaning to help it heal and to prevent infection.


Piercing aftercare should start the day a person gets a new piercing and continue until it has fully healed.

It is important to know how to clean nose piercings, as cleaning prevents infection and other complications, such as nasal trauma, nose bumps, difficulty breathing, and scarring.

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This article explains everything a person needs to know about how to clean nose piercings so that they heal faster.


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Cleaning a nose piercing for the first time can be challenging, as the area will be painful and tender.

However, cleaning the piercing site will help soothe it and reduce pain and swelling.

Experts recommend cleaning a nose piercing twice a day until it heals completely.

Cleaning process

A person can clean a nose piercing by soaking the piercing site in warm saline water and keeping it submerged in the water for 3–5 minutes. A small mug or eggcup works well to hold the saline.

After submerging the piercing site in the saline, the person should rinse it with clean water and gently pat it dry with a clean paper towel.

Another option is to dip a cotton wool ball or Q-tip in warm saline solution and apply that to the piercing site for a few minutes.

These items are especially good for removing dried or crusted lymphatic fluid or blood from the jewelry or piercing site.


What to use to clean a nose piercing

To clean a nose piercing correctly, a person will need:

saline solution (this is simple to make using warm sterilized water and salt)cotton wool balls Q-tipspaper towelsa mug, eggcup, or small bowl to hold the saline solution
Aftercare 

Getting a nose piercing is a relatively quick process, which takes just a few minutes. However, the healing process takes several months.

Nose piercing aftercare is a crucial part of the healing process.

Frequent cleaning is the first step in nose piercing aftercare. A professional body piercer will recommend the following aftercare guidelines:

cleaning the site at least twice a day using a saline solutionavoiding touching the piercing site except to clean it with recently washed handscleaning the site with gentle, unscented soap once the piercing has healed completely

Nose piercing aftercare is important because it prevents infections and other complications, such as nasal trauma and changes in the nose’s shape.


Risks

Nose piercing does involve some risks and potential complications. Some of the common ones include:

Infection

If a person does not know how to clean their nose piercing, there is a possibility of the site becoming infected. If a nasal piercing becomes infected, it will take longer to heal.

Infections may also cause complications, such as scarring and nose bumps.

If a person thinks that their nose piercing may have become infected, they should consult a doctor, who can prescribe antibiotics.

Nasal trauma

An untreated nose piercing infection can cause nasal trauma, which is an injury in the areas surrounding and supporting the nose.

Changes to nose shape

If a piercer does not pierce a nose correctly, or an infection goes untreated, it may cause changes to the shape of the nose.


What to do if a piercing becomes infected

It is normal to experience pain, irritation, discharge, or bleeding as a new piercing heals.

However, anything that goes beyond these symptoms is a cause for concern.

A person should seek medical attention if the site:

appears red or discoloredhas blisters or bumpsis tender to the touchis overly painful and itchyoozes green or yellow discharge with a foul odor

Anyone who experiences fever alongside symptoms at the piercing site should also seek medical advice as soon as possible.


How long do nose piercings take to heal?

It can take about 3–6 months for nose piercings to heal completely.

However, the healing time may vary among individuals. It may also depend on the type of nose piercing.

For example, a nostril piercing takes about 2–4 months to heal, while a septum piercing may heal in a shorter time.


When is it safe to change jewelry?

Before taking out or changing the jewelry in a nose piercing, a person should ensure that the piercing has completely healed.

If a person is still experiencing tenderness, swelling, discharge, discomfort, or pain, it is unsafe to remove or change the jewelry.


Other safety precautions during healing

When it comes to nose piercings, it is crucial to know what not to do to avoid more severe complications.

A person caring for a nose piercing should always avoid:

touching the piercing with dirty handsfiddling with nose jewelry, which could cause irritationsharing nose jewelry with other peopleusing over-the-counter antiseptics, such as Neosporintrying to force a nose ring or stud back into the piercing hole, as this can cause trauma to the area

Shopping for nose rings made from safe, quality materials, such as surgical grade steel, will also help prevent allergic reactions and other skin sensitivities.


Summary

Knowing how to clean a nose piercing is important.

Practicing piercing aftercare using saline water from the first day helps speed up the healing process.

Nose piercing aftercare is vital to reduce the risk of infection and other potential complications, such as nasal trauma and changes in nose shape.

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Finally, if a person notices any abnormal symptoms, including foul smelling discharge, intense pain, nose bumps, or fever, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible.


Last medically reviewed on November 30, 2020


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Medically reviewed by Cynthia Cobb, DNP, APRN, WHNP-BC, FAANP — Written by Lydia Kibet on November 30, 2020

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