The best alternatives to sea salt for cleaning nose piercings are anti-bacterial soaps and tea tree oil.
Antibacterial Soap – Antibacterial soaps are gentle cleansers that contain ingredients that help to neutralize common bacteria. They are great to use as sea salt or regular soap alternative because they ensure that no bacteria will grow around your piercing. This offers your piercing a better chance to heal.
Tea Tree Oil – Tea tree oil is great for cleaning nose piercings because they contain compounds such as terpinen-4-ol which has been shown by studies to kill bacteria, viruses, and Fungai. It’s a great natural remedy widely available as 100% undiluted. Tea tree oil can be applied to your clean fingers and rubbed gently into your piercing. Only a small amount is required.
What NOT to Use for Cleaning A Nose Piercing
Do not use the following products to clean or help with an infection on a nose piercing:
- Hydrogen peroxide will kill bacteria, but it will also kill the white blood cells that are trying to heal your piercing, so using this can delay healing and increase your chances of infection later.
- Rubbing alcohol can dry your skin and irritate the area trying to heal.
- Ear care solutions provided by drug stores are cheap options but often contain hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol, and other chemicals which actually hinder the healing process and aren’t needed if you’re keeping the area clean.
- Soaps containing Triclosan can dry out the surrounding skin of your piercing and should be avoided.
What You Need To Know Before Cleaning Your Nose Piercing
Before cleaning your piercing, here are a few things to note:
- It’s important to not touch your nose piercing between cleanings. Your hands contain a lot of bacteria that can be transferred to your nose piercing throughout the day.
- You should clean your nose piercing twice a day while it’s healing. Healing can take up to 6 months and minor redness and swelling are normal when you first get your piercing.
- Some people may experience more serious symptoms like burning, tenderness, and pus oozing from the site of the piercing. If you experience any of these symptoms 2 to 3 days after getting your piercing, see your piercer for options.
- Any infection in your nose may require you to remove your jewelry.
- Once your piercing has healed, you won’t have to clean as often but should still perform cleaning once a day.
How To Clean Nose Piercing Without Sea Salt
The steps below are for the use of unscented anti-bacterial soap but you can use any of the alternatives mentioned at the top of this article.
Step 1: Wash your hands to ensure there is no dirt or bacteria present.
Step 2: Wet a cotton ball with warm water and gently rub the area to ensure all dust, dirt, or dead skin is removed. If there are any scabs, don’t rub or try to remove them; just let them fall off naturally so that the underlying skin heals.
Step 3: Apply a large amount of unscented anti-bacterial soap to your fingertips and start gently rubbing the area around your nose piercing, including the jewelry. Don’t rotate or move the jewelry. Gently rub so that the area is lathered up. If you rub too vigorously or move the jewelry, it can introduce bacteria to the wound that is trying to heal.
Step 4: Rinse your nose and jewelry with warm water and ensure all of the soap is washed away.
Step 5: Dry your nose and piercing with a clean paper towel and throw it away, don’t use a cloth or other reusable material to dry your nose.
Step 6: Apply an anti-inflammatory oil, such as emu oil to your piercing. Studies show that emu oil contains fatty acids and other nutrients that promote anti-inflammation and nourishment to your skin. It can be safely applied to any area of the body.
Note that antibacterial ointments aren’t required unless your nose piercing shows initial signs of bacterial infection.