When it comes to taking care of new piercings, don't leave it to fate and hope that your piercing will heal all on its own. Like any body modifications, new piercings need TLC too. So the big question is: Do you have to use salt spray to heal piercings? If this is something you've heard about but you're a little unsure of, you probably want to get your facts straight before making any hasty decisions.
Let's face it, when you go under the piercing needle, you are literally puncturing a hole in your body. Now don't get me wrong, piercings are awesome, but just like tattoos or other body mods, piercings change your natural body and can lead to infections if you don't look after them properly. Aftercare is essential for any body mod and it's always best to listen to a professional piercer's aftercare advice.
When it comes to using salt spray to heal piercings, there's a fair amount of conflicting information out there, so I wanted to get the information straight from a pro piercer’s mouth. So, I caught up with Ashley of Venus by Maria Tash to get the facts about salt spray.
It appears that many piercers advise using a saline solution to clean new piercings. The UK's National Health Service (NHS) states, "...many piercers advise gently cleaning new piercings with a saline (sea salt water soak) solution twice a day, preferably after washing or bathing." The NHS goes on to explain the methods in which to do this. However, the NHS adds, "Not all experts agree that new piercings should be regularly cleaned in this way, as it involves fiddling with the piercing and getting it wet, which could actually increase the risk of infection if the saline solution is not strong enough."
As someone with earlobe piercings that healed up during adolescence and who knows very little about new piercing aftercare, I wanted to discover what a professional piercer like Ashley thought about using salt spray to heal piercings. Ashley explains, “We don't typically suggest salt water for healing piercings.” She continues, “There is a specific type of salt that you're supposed to use and also a specific amount of salt to water that one must use to achieve the ‘appropriate’ salinity – I use quotes here because it's not really advisable to use salt water as a means of healing piercings.”
"That said, even if someone follows the appropriate amount of salt to water you can't ensure that the vessels in which you're doing so are sterile, so you're essentially mixing bacteria into your salt water." Ashley tells me.
So it seems the best course of action is to steer clear of using salt spray or any kind of salt water or saline solution – unless you're specifically advised by a professional – because nobody wants to be applying bacteria infected liquid to their new piercing, which is basically like an open wound until it's fully healed. If you're in need of aftercare assistance, head down to your local piercing salon and get some expert advice from a professional piercer.