Can You Go Swimming After Getting A Piercing?
So you’ve got a fresh piercing, but you’re wondering if it’s safe or not to jump into a swimming pool.
Regardless of where you got your piercing, it’s important to follow some basic rules before you jump into a pool. Let’s take a look at what you need to know when it comes to swimming after getting a piercing.
Swimming with a New Piercing
If you have just gotten a fresh piercing, it’s not recommended that you jump into a swimming pool right after. Most body artists will recommend that you try to avoid swimming for the first 24-48 hours after you have gotten your piercing. When you first get a piercing, a needle is literally puncturing your skin and wounding the tissue.
That wounded tissue needs time to heal properly. The best way a wound can heal is by letting the air hit it so that the punctured area can dry up and new skin can start to form. If you jump into a swimming pool right away, you prevent the healing process from starting because there is too much moisture.
Can I Shower After a Piercing?
While it’s important to keep the piercing dry, this does not mean you can’t jump in the shower for a quick rinse. Just be sure that you rinse out the area around your piercing so that there is no shampoo, conditioner, or soap residue. Make sure to dry the area as well once you get out of the shower.
The main concern with swimming after getting a new piercing is the risk of infection. No matter what type of water you are swimming in, you are putting your new piercing at risk of encountering harmful germs and bacteria.
Indoor swimming pools have chlorine in them, which can irritate the wounded tissue, while outdoor bodies of water, including streams, lakes, and rivers, harbor a plethora of bacteria that can cause an infection to fester in your puncture wound.
Signs of an Infection After Swimming
If you wait until 48 hours until you jump into a pool, your chance of getting a piercing infection from swimming does go down a bit. This is because the wounded tissue starts to form a crust of protection around the piercing.
But even if you do wait until the 48 hours is up, you’re not totally in the clear. You can still get an infection from swimming. Look out for these symptoms to tell whether or not your new piercing has gotten infected.
- Your piercing is visibly red and swollen.
- There is a throbbing pain that seems to grow around the piercing.
- The skin around your piercing is warm to the touch.
- Discharge or pus might ooze out from the piercing. The discharge can be anywhere from yellow to greenish in color.
- There is a foul odor to the discharge.
If you do suspect there might be an infection in your piercing, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Your doctor should be able to give you antibiotics or an ointment that will kill the bacteria.
Looking After Your New Piercing
Whether you decide to go swimming or not, it is imperative to look after your piercing properly once you’ve just had the procedure completed. Looking after your piercing mainly requires only two things; keeping the area dry and keeping the piercing clear of any germs and bacteria.
Whenever you get a piercing, you will also get a bottle of .09% saline spray to clean the piercing. To clean your piercing, you simply need to spray the solution around the jewelry and your skin. If there is any crusting around the jewelry or on your skin, don’t work it out. Instead, let the spray loosen the crusting up, and it will fall off as the day goes on.
The best aftercare product I’ve personally used is the After Inked Piercing Aftercare Spray. Not only is it vegan, but it’s also completely alcohol and additive-free. The solution works well on all skin types including sensitive skin, and it comes in a generously-sized mist-spraying bottle for easy application. When using it from the very start of the healing process, the spray helps to decrease healing times and aims to eliminate any lingering pain or soreness.
Sometimes you can use a Q-tip, tissue, or cotton swab to work the crusting off, but if you do that, you risk introducing bacteria to your fresh wound. Try and clean your piercing with the saline solution at least three times a day. Soon enough, your piercing will heal up.
How Long Does It Take a Piercing to Heal?
Depending on where you go the piercing, it may take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a couple of months for your piercing to heal. Here is a general guideline.
- Earlobe – 6 to 8 weeks
- Cartilage – 4 to 12 months
- Tongue – 6 to 8 weeks
- Belly button (navel) – 9 to 12 months
- Nose – 2 to 4 months
While waiting to jump into the water after getting a fresh piercing can be incredibly annoying, an ounce of prevention is certainly worth a pound of cure. Getting an infection on your new piercing is one of the most annoying things you can experience. Not to mention, if you don’t take care of your piercing properly from the get-go, you could risk having an infection that gets so out of hand, you will need to remove your jewelry and you may end up with a nasty scar.