Body Piercing

How to Clean a Septum Piercing

It’s always exciting to get a new piercing, but piercings do require some care to stay clean. If you just got a septum piercing, the main cleaning method involves sea salt soaks three times a day. You should also strive to keep the piercing clean by avoiding activities like swimming and only touching the piercing with clean hands. Even with excellent aftercare, infections do happen. If you notice an infection, see a doctor right away for evaluation.

Method One of Three:
Doing Regular Sea Salt Soaks

  1. Keep up a cleaning routine for at least a month. While septum piercings take six to eight months to fully heal, you only need to follow a strict cleaning regimen for about a month. During this time, do a sea salt soak three times per day.
    • During this time, you should also minimize contact with the piercing and keep creams and makeup away from your face.
  2. Mix your sea salt solution. Fill a glass with about eight ounces of clean tap water. Add about a quarter teaspoon of sea salt. Make sure to use sea salt and not table salt. Mix the solution with a spoon until the salt dissolves.
    • Use warm water, as this will help dissolve the salt. Avoid very hot water, as this may be uncomfortable.
  3. Soak your piercing in the solution. Soaking a septum piercing can be a little uncomfortable, but it’s an important part of the healing process. Dunk your piercing in the solution for five to 10 minutes. If submerging your piercing in water becomes uncomfortable, you can also press a cotton ball saturated with the solution to your piercing for about 10 minutes.
  4. Clean away crust with a q-tip. After soaking your piercing, take a clean q-tip. Dip the end of the q-tip into the piercing solution. Use the q-tip to gently rub away any any crust forming around your piercing.
  5. Soak your piercing three times a day. To keep your piercing clean, soak it around three times a day. Do one soak in the morning, another in the afternoon, and another in the evening. Do not soak your piercing more than three times a day, however, as this can dry it out and increase the risk of complication.

Method Two of Three:
Keeping the Septum Clean

  1. Avoid touching the piercing. Do not touch the piercing unless it’s during the cleaning process. If you do touch the piercing, wash your hands thoroughly first. The less contact your hands make with the piercing, the lower your risk of an infection.
  2. Use gentler products on your face. If you use other products on your face, like moisturizers or face washes, keep them away from the septum piercing as much as possible. You should also use gentler cleansers and moisturizers made with natural ingredients. Avoid using anything with alcohol or peroxide. You should also refrain from using anything scented on your face.[8]
    • Avoid these products for about four to six weeks, as this is the length it takes a septum piecing to heal.
  3. Do not swim until your piercing has healed. Stay away from lakes and swimming pools while your piercing is healing. Even chlorine pools have a lot of bacteria that can get int your piercing and cause complications.
    • You can begin activities like swimming again after four to six weeks, which is when the piercing will be healed. Once healed, there will be less pain and crustiness around the piercing.

Method Three of Three:
Dealing with Complications

  1. Recognize an infection. Most septum piercings will heal up without a problem if you keep them clean. Unfortunately, however, infections do sometimes happen. The following are signs your piercing has become infected:
    • Yellow or green discharge.
    • A lump near the piercing.
    • Intense pain, redness, or swelling.
  2. Do not remove your jewelry. Your first impulse may be to remove your jewelry if you notice signs of an infection. However, this can actually make the infection worse. If the hole in your piercing closes, this can form an abscess that can have serious medical complications.
  3. See a doctor right away. In the event your piercing becomes infected, make an appointment with a doctor immediately. Infections should not be treated without medical assistance and self-medicating can worsen an infection.
  4. Take any medications your doctor prescribes. Infections are usually treated via topical or oral antibiotics. Take the full round of any antibiotics your doctor prescribes, even after symptoms of an infection have passed. With prompt, proper treatment, a pierced septum infection can be quickly treated.

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