Piercing Aftercare in Detail: Salt of Life

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Salt is, of course, necessary for human survival.  The search for and trading of salt has impacted trade and the rising and falling of nations.  It seasons and preserves food, and as we know, it also has therapeutic uses.  Salt is great stuff–you can eat it, gargle with it, and bathe with it.

Of course, it’s also one of the main components of basic body piercing aftercare. In case you missed my obsessive cross-linking, here’s my post on how to do sea salt soaks for your piercings:  Like Chicken Soup for your Piercings.

The APP’s standard aftercare recommends a “non-iodized sea salt solution.”  That’s all very well, but what exactly is sea salt, where can you find it, and why can’t you just use Morton’s off the shelf?

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Salt comes either from mines or from the sea, and the nutritional value of each is the same. The chemical composition of salt is NaCl, or sodium chloride.  Regular table salt is refined, then anti-caking agents are added for pourability.  Iodine is also added as a nutritional supplement.  You do not want these additives in your piercing!

There are many varieties of salt. Look for salt which has no additives.

Some people recommend kosher salt, which you can find in your grocery store.  Kosher salt is raked during the mining process to produce a fluffy texture which melts well.  But look! The box I have, which I use for cooking, has “yellow prussiate of soda” in it added as an anti-caking agent.  So, read the labels for any type of salt you are considering purchasing for your sea salt soaks.

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Another type of salt you may find in your grocery store is Celtic Sea Salt, or another brand of gourmet sea salt.  This type of salt is off white, almost gray, due to the trace minerals which haven’t been refined out.  I use this stuff in food, to brush my teeth for gum therapy, and for therapeutic baths.  I personally don’t know what effect these trace minerals have on piercings, so I prefer to use plain, refined NaCl without any additives if I can get it.

Not Epsom salts! Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) may have therapeutic benefits, but they are not what is recommended for your piercing.  Food grade rock salt may be okay (not the crap stuff they sell to put on roads), but remember you want this stuff to dissolve in hot water.

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Where to Find Salt for your Aftercare:

Your piercer.  The best studios will have salt available, either for purchase, or given as a freebie with your aftercare instructions.  If they don’t have it for sale ask them–why not?

Your grocery store or health food store.  A health food store is often a good bet.  I found the individual packets of pure NaCl pictured above sold for use in neti pots (jalneti).  Avoid products with anti-caking agents or iodine added.

Online.  Many body jewelry retailers carry salt for aftercare. Here are a couple of sources from my favorite sites:

Sea Salt from Tribalectic

Jala Neti Pot Salt from Yoga & Life  (Neti pots are fabulous health aides too–check them out!)

Sea Salt from BodyArtForms

Note:  You can also use pre-packaged sterile solution for your piercing aftercare, which you can buy at a drugstore.  Not contact lens solution! Contact lens solution has added stuff!

You can also buy proprietary aftercare solutions, like H2Ocean, containing salt.  Let me just say here:  I don’t like them! You don’t know exactly what you are getting, and most of them are much more expensive than plain salt.   In addition, sprays, while they might be good convenience products for aftercare when you’re on the road or running around, don’t allow for the beneficial effects on your piercing of immersion in hot salt water. All this stuff smacks to me of people just wanting to cash in on the popularity of body piercing, and I can’t see any of it is better than plain, cheap, natural salt therapy. Again, read the labels and know what you are buying.

Some further links to info about salt and salt therapy:

Salt Works

Celtic Sea Salt

Geology of Salt from About.com

Too much salt is bad for you, but I love it!

15 Responses to Piercing Aftercare in Detail: Salt of Life

  1. Sela says:

    H2Ocean is “okay” for people needing it for the conveniences of travel; HOWEVER, I stopped using it a while back because one of the ingredients is actually derived from egg whites. Yuck! I don’t want egg whites on my piercings!

  2. piercedconsumer says:

    The H2Ocean people won’t say exactly how much salt is in there, either. I say, if you need a convenience item, fine, but concentrate on immersion with plain sea salt for your primary aftercare.

  3. Jared Karnes says:

    Thanks for the comments on one of our past weblog posts. I was checking out your site and ran across this salt post. I wanted to also recommend our salt soak product – we create (in house of course) pre-measured sealed paper tea bags which contain the right amount of sea salt for one soak, as well as chamomile flowers, which are incredibly soothing. So the result is essentially a single use “chamomile salt tea” that we have had a lot of success with. These bags are perfect for travel, no measuring, no mess, pack extremely easily.

    You’ve got a good thing here, I am going to keep reading through your site 🙂

    • piercedconsumer says:

      Yes, and did you see I mentioned them (the salt/chamomile bags)? Even put a pic on there and a link to your site to buy them! Your site, and your blog, are awesome, too, and I’m intending to feature them in a future post.

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  4. piercedconsumer says:

    oops: here’s where I mentioned the salt/chamomile soaks from One Tribe:
    http://piercedconsumer.com/2009/01/23/more-herbs-for-piercing-aftercare/

  5. Bash says:

    If a “convenience solution” is needed, why not roll your own? I’m with you…the Scotch-Irish in me rebels at paying inflated prices for what is alleged to be salt water.

    For your reading pleasure:

    http://www.amazon.com/Salt-World-History-Mark-Kurlansky/dp/0142001619

  6. Bash says:

    Dang it…where did my comment go??? I’ll try again…

    I agree with you, re: “convenience solutions”…very high priced salt water. If you have need of the stuff, why not roll your own?

    For your reading pleasure:
    http://www.amazon.com/Salt-World-History-Mark-Kurlansky/dp/0142001619

    • piercedconsumer says:

      Some comments need to be manually approved, or get into the spam box and need to be “un-spammed” so if you don’t see your comment appear right away, be patient!

  7. Bash says:

    I give up. 😦

  8. Bash says:

    Another thought on salt: Sometimes you don’t have salt, or it’s inconvenient, or your skin rebels, or…

    A hot water soak is a not too distant second choice, followed closely by a hot, moist washcloth.

  9. music.freak666 says:

    thanks! this helped a butt load!! 😀

  10. […] you need more info on how to do sea salt soaks for your piercings, look here and here. […]

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