Tuesday, July 6, 2010
I got my nose pierced about six months ago and it has not yet healed. I have days, some times weeks, when it feels fine and then out the blue it flares up. What can I do to get it to heal completely? Like right now my allergies have started acting up, and it has become sore and a little swollen. What suggestions do you have for a infected nose piercing?
Noses, like many cartilage piercings, can be notoriously long in healing. That type of tissue just does not get the good blood supply that softer tissues do. Piercings heal from the surface back towards the center of the piercing, growing a tunnel of new skin inside the hole to form a permanent piercing. If the surface is healed, the center of the piercing can still be an open wound, and this is often why piercings will go days or weeks and then react badly.
See if you can ease your care routine. Only use antibiotic ointments if you have an actual infection (increasing redness, tenderness, yellow-green discharge). Clean the piercing once in the morning and once at night with hot water and a very mild, natural soap (Dr. Bronner's is a good one). If the piercing seems to react to soap, try using just hot salt water. Allergy and skin medications can dry mucous membranes and irritate healing piercings so watch for a correlation between taking medications and flare ups. Try a bit of lotion around the piercing if the surface skin is really dried out. Again, look for a lotion that is natural, without scents or dyes as those too can increase irritation.
The reactions you describe are common to the healing process of a lot of body piercings. Try not to sleep on your piercing too much. In the summer, take extra care of your healing piercing. Watch out as piercings that aren’t completely healed can be irritated by sweat, sunscreen, sunburn and chemicals in pools and hot tubs.
You can now get an e-booklet on nose piercings. It contains more information on healing and aftercare (especially keloids), and a question and answer section based on email received at this site.