When you were a teenager, the stud piercing in your right nostril was probably inspired by The Craft — and, if we're being honest, a way to piss off your parents. Then, maybe you moved on to a septum piercing after spotting it on cool-girl celebs like Zoë Kravitz and FKA Twigs. But even though nose piercings are experiencing a resurgence now, they've been around for thousands of years and hold special significance in many cultures. And while a piercing — in an area prone to mucus — might seem intimidating, it's actually one of the easiest areas to clean and care for, according to pros.
Although the official healing time is close to three months, taking care of a nose piercing is relatively low lift compared to other piercings. Whether you have a hoop or a tiny stud, the majority of the jewelry is inside the nose's mucous membrane — an area of the body that naturally clears out bacteria to prevent infections.
But even though your body does the majority of the grunt work, you should still prescribe to a regular cleansing routine for the part of the piercing that's outside of the nasal cavity. Brian Keith Thompson, L.A. celebrity piercer and owner of Body Electric, explains that using a mild soap on the small strip of skin between the ring for septum piercings or on the outside of your nostril for studs is the easiest way to avoid infection.
But you don't need to move or twist the jewelry as you clean. Just gently massage a pea-sized amount of a fragrance-free cleanser (Thompson's a fan of Dr. Bronner's soap) on the area of the new hole. When you're done, pat the skin dry with a paper towel (skip using a regular wash cloth in case it snags the jewelry and causes irritation) and finish with a spritz of saline solution. You should complete this entire routine once or twice a day, depending on how often you touch your nose. Thompson adds that while you might not need to clean the inside of the nose with soap, you can use a saline product with a fine-mist tip to keep the cavity hydrated (especially during the winter).
You'll notice that this step-by-step doesn't include any alcohol. Dermatologist Rachel Nazarian, FAAD, MD, tells us that while alcohol is known for keeping wounds clean, it's not the best solution for a piercing. Not only is it too drying, but it can lead to inflammation — which will most likely lengthen your healing process. And nobody wants that, right?
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