How to Sanitize a New Lip Ring

Protect your piercing to avoid infection.
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Your new lip ring serves as an edgy fashion statement, but if the piercing isn't cleaned regularly, it can quickly turn into a nightmare. When you get a lip piercing, your skin is exposed to infection-causing bacteria until it heals. In general, it takes a minimum of two to three months for a lip piercing to fully heal. Until then, you'll need to clean your ring and pierced skin with gentle, yet effective sanitizing solutions.

Wash your hands with warm water and antibacterial soap before handling your lip piercing.

Dampen a washcloth with warm water, then gently hold it on the lip piercing for two or three minutes. This softens the discharge crust that has built up around the pierced area.

Remove the softened crust from the pierced area using a cotton swab. If the crust does not come off easily, dip the cotton swab in saline solution and try again. If you have scabs, do not pull them off or try to remove them. The scabs will fall off when your skin has healed.

Lather your hands with antibacterial soap and warm water. Gently clean the lip ring and the area around the piercing. Rinse well with lukewarm water. Repeat this cleaning process twice daily until the skin heals.

Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of non-iodized sea salt in 1 cup of warm distilled water.

Dampen a washcloth with the salt water solution, then gently press it on the pierced area.

Allow the ring and pierced area to soak for five to 10 minutes, then pat the area dry with a paper towel. Clean the piercing with salt water once per day until the skin has healed.

  • If you experience excessive swelling, bleeding, pain or dark-colored discharge in or around the piercing area, contact a doctor as soon as possible. These are signs of a possible infection.
  • Keep your piercing as clean as possible. Do not apply makeup, lip balm or other cosmetics to the pierced area. Also avoid using hydrogen peroxide, rubbing alcohol or petroleum-based antibacterial ointments on the piercing.
  • Get rid of your old toothbrush and start using a new one after you get your lip pierced. Toothbrushes harbor bacteria, so it's best to use a clean one to minimize risk of infection.
  • Don't remove the piercing to clean it or your skin. The piercing hole can shrink quickly, making it very difficult to reinsert the ring.

Melissa King began writing in 2001. She spent three years writing for her local newspaper, "The Colt," writing editorials, news stories, product reviews and entertainment pieces. She is also the owner and operator of Howbert Freelance Writing. King holds an Associate of Arts in communications from Tarrant County College.