The Piercer's Corner - Stop! Put the contact solution down.

Stop! Put the contact solution down.

I have to say how surprised I am by the number of recent phone calls and visits I have received over the past few weeks from either my clients or others who have fresh body piercings. I wish they were just coming by to say “hello” but rather each of them had come by wondering why they were having issues with their body piercing. After asking them what their current protocol was for aftercare they all said to me, “I am using contact solution”. (Insert blank stare from me) What? Why in the world would you use contact solution? If you are a client of mine, you have received a rather lengthy aftercare brochure and a lecture from me at the end of the piercing service, specifically stating that “contact solution is not the saline solution that I am referring to”.

I know times are tough and sometimes dropping a few dollars more for some aftercare spray can really drain your wallet, but really? We carry a really awesome aftercare spray by H2Ocean at really reasonable prices. Those of you that I know are on a budget, I even let you know of other saline solutions available at the pharmacy that may save you a buck or two. At the end of the day, its not how much money I can get from the public on piercing prices and aftercare spray but making sure each person understands it about the health, healing and longevity of the body piercing. I have said it time and time again; if you already dropping your last $40 on a piercing, wouldn’t you want it to last and be a good experience? Well…then pick up some proper saline solution already!

So I am going to try and keep this simple but this is why you should NOT use contact solution on your body piercing (or any other topical antiseptic solution)

Contact lens Solution A contact lens cleaning solution may contain a mild abrasive, as well as a detergent or surfactant to clean buildup on the surface of the lens without scratching it. Some cleaning solution products contain tiny silica gel abrasive particles. Boric acid is the active ingredient contained in some brands of multipurpose contact lens cleaning solutions. Like hydrogen peroxide, boric acid is a disinfectant and anti-fungal agent used in contact lens solutions to prevent the growth of microorganisms on the eye. These sterile solutions are often preserved with ascorbic acid or edetate disodium. Ascorbic acid is an effective preservative for protecting against the growth of bacteria and fungi on contact lenses. Edetate disodium is another preservative used to stop the growth of microorganisms. All of these harsh additives and chemicals only damage the newly generating cells and tissue and actually prohibits your body from healing.

Sterile saline solution (0.9% sodium chloride) can be used to effectively clean any type of wound, no matter how deep. Because this solution matches the pH of your body fluids and blood, it does not burn at all when applied to wounds. Sterile saline wound wash will also be labeled as 0.9% sodium chloride. This solution matches the pH of your body fluids and blood, so it will not burn or sting when used to clean wounds. In hospitals, saline solution is used as a hydrating IV (intravenous therapy) fluid as well as irrigation for bone-deep sores, so you can rest assured that it is gentle on your body! It will not interfere with the normal healing process, damage tissue, cause sensitization or allergies or alter the normal bacterial flora of the skin (which means allows your body to naturally fight off bacterial and other virulent organisms.)

Never Use…

Rubbing alcohol is efficient at killing germs, and therefore it is used in certain cleaners and hand sanitizers. However, rubbing alcohol is also a drying agent and should never be used on open wounds. Nothing delays healing like parching the membranes of newly exposed skin. You may be killing germs, but you will also be causing a lot of unnecessary pain and delaying the healing process.

Hydrogen peroxide is perhaps more gentle than rubbing alcohol, but still it should not be used on open wounds. In a hospital, hydrogen peroxide is often used to clean equipment such as tracheostomy tubes. Something used to clean tough plastics should not be used to disinfect cuts and scrapes on your delicate skin! Years ago, hydrogen peroxide was more regularly used on cuts and scrapes, but more recent studies have shown that hydrogen peroxide may actually remove healthy cells and prevent new cell growth.

Benzalkonium Chloride (AKA aftercare solution from the mall)
Also, we have been on a campaign to educate the public on the dangers of getting pierced at the mall with the piercing gun. I have to laugh inside when we finally get someone in here to get their ear pierced properly with the needle method and they tell me they dont want to get any of our H2Ocean aftercare spray because their sister just got her ears pierced at the mall the other day and she still has some of their aftercare solution available. Just so you know, the their aftercare solution contains water and Benzalkonium chloride. Several years ago, hand sanitizers were developed and released to the public for killing germs and preventing illness. More recent research, however, has shown that not only do many of these sanitizers contain ingredients that can actually make germs stronger and more resistant, but some contain ingredients that are harsh on the skin and even potentially toxic. Benzalkonium chloride is one of these ingredients. If you find it on the label of any of your antibacterial soaps, sanitizers, wipes, or other germ-killing products, you may want to consider getting a more natural option…like sterile saline solution. Benzalkonium chloride has long been considered to be very safe. This is the ingredient that is found in Bactine. Some recent studies, however, have brought to light some concerns about using this ingredient often, particularly around sensitive tissues. So basically this aftercare solution may have the same damaging capabilities as using rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide.

So the bottom line? When budgeting for your next body piercing, consider setting aside an extra $10 to get buy the proper aftercare solution. Your body will thank you and you will be so glad you did.