Will Ocean Water Help Heal A Piercing?

by Rosie Narasaki
Jason Merritt/TERM/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Summer is a great time for the beach. Summer is incidentally also a great time for showing off new piercings. Does that mean the two can happily coexist — perhaps even be beneficial for one another? Can ocean water help heal a piercing? Hey, it's a question worth asking — after all, salt water does have natural antiseptic properties. It's even a popular method of cleaning body piercings — saline solution and salt water soaks are a great, gentle way of keeping your piercings clean. So, since the ocean is approximately 70 percent of the Earth's surface worth of salt water, does that mean it can actually help keep your new piercings happy?

Unfortunately, no. The truth of the matter is, while the ocean can have certain therapeutic, healing effects, it's not technically an advisable outing for new piercings. They are, after all, technically open wounds, and beaches often host more bacteria than we like to think. In fact, according to Britain's National Health Service, swimming of all kinds should be avoided while your piercings are healing — they explain that "it's possible to pick up an infection from any body of water," and that keeping your piercings dry is the best course of action.

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Recovery time depends on the piercing — according, once again, to the UK NHS, tongue piercings can heal in a scant two weeks, while belly buttons can take up to a year. A simple ear piercing usually only takes around 6 to 8 weeks to heal, so if that's the kind of new piercing you're going for, you have enough time to get one now and hit the beach when things start heating up in earnest at the end of July.

Avoiding the beach is tough, but a really, really cool piercing is worth it. And if you slip up and go swimming anyway?

Well, luckily there are lots of ways to avoid serious piercing infections, so long as you keep diligent and watch for warning signs.

Images: Jason Merritt/TERM/Getty Images, Tristan Fewings/Getty Images; Giphy