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Bactine for Piercing: How Safe for Cleaning And Healing?

Many people think that the hard part is over once they get their piercing.

But in reality, aftercare is just as important as the piercing itself. After all, you want to ensure that your new piercing heals quickly and without any infections.

In fact, a Brazilian schoolgirl died of piercing infections in 2021.

Female model with septum and nostril piercings
Image by Anderson Guerra via Pexels

While death from the piercing is quite rare, and some piercings, like belly button piercings, demand a prolonged aftercare routine.

One of the most popular products for piercing after-care is Bactine. But how effective and safe is Bactine for piercing?

Let’s take a closer look.

What Is Bactine?

Bactine is an over-the-counter antiseptic spray. It contains lidocaine, a local anesthetic that numbs nerve endings.

It temporarily numbs the skin and reduces pain or discomfort caused by skin irritations, insect bites, sunburn, minor cuts and scrapes.

Available in spray, gel, skin patches, ointment and various other forms, Bactine is the top-selling antiseptic and pain reliever in America.

Bactine pain relieving liquid and spray
Image via Bactine

Many people use it to relieve pain associated with piercings and tattooing.

This medicine is for topical application, so it should not go into your mouth, eyes or any open body part.

If it does, rinse with water immediately and see a doctor (if necessary).

Do not use Bactine if you are allergic to lidocaine or any other ingredient in the product.

Also, don’t apply too much because the skin can absorb it, causing severe side effects.

Consult a doctor if you experience anything other than mild numbness and irritation.

Can You Use Bactine for Piercing Cleaning and Healing?

Bactine is a product that many people use to clean piercings. Previously, many piercers suggested people use it on ear or nose piercings.

But not anymore. This medicine is not great for an open wound like a piercing.

Why is Bactine not suitable for piercing?

Many people vouch for the Bactine spray for piercings, saying how the antiseptic has helped them heal faster.

The truth is they would have recovered without using any medicine and by following a proper cleaning routine.

You see, piercings have been there for thousands of years. People have healed without using Bactine or any other fancy medicine.

In fact, Bactine for piercing can do more harm than good.

Woman model with face piercings
Image by Marlon Alves via Pexels

Since Bactine is an antiseptic, it may kill off newly forming and healing skin cells, causing your piercing to heal slower.

Also, over-sterilization can mess with your immune system and delay healing by drying out the fistula formation.

Another reason Bactine sabotages the growth of healing piercings is due to the lidocaine in it.

It is a numbing agent that can help to reduce the pain associated with a piercing.

However, lidocaine may prevent the blood from clotting properly, prolonging the healing time and making the wound worse sometimes.

Another risk is that lidocaine can cause an allergic reaction. If you are allergic to the substance, you may experience swelling, redness and itching at the site of the piercing.

In severe cases, you may even have difficulty breathing.

What does the Bactine manufacturer say?

Still in doubt and want to try Bactine on your piercing? Maybe because your friend or colleague had a fantastic experience and their wound healed faster than their jewelry was shipped from Etsy?

Think again.

The manufacturer of the medicine does not recommend using it on body piercings.

They advise consulting your doctor before applying it to any puncture wound.

What should you do?

Talking to your piercer before using Bactine on your piercing is important.

They can give you specific instructions on safely using the medicine or suggest a safer alternative for your piercing.

What Can I Use to Clean My Piercings?

So, if you cannot use Bactine for piercing, what can you use? The truth is there is no need to use any medicine or antibacterial product unless prescribed by your piercer or a doctor.

You should clean your piercing daily with a mild, fragrance-free soap. You can use liquid or bar soap, but don’t use antibacterial soap or something containing harsh chemicals or fragrances because that could irritate the wound.

If you’re using a salt water soak, you’ll want to ensure the water is as clean as possible.

You can boil water and then add a few tablespoons of sea salt, or you can buy a sterile saline solution from the store.

Soak the piercing for about 5-10 minutes, and then rinse with clean water.

If you’re thinking about using disinfectants like rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide, let’s see the effects of these substances on puncture wounds.


Rubbing alcohol is an antiseptic, but using it on your belly button or septum piercing will only dry out the area.

Your body tries to heal the piercing wound by forming healthy cells in that area.

Using a disinfectant will only kill those cells and slow down the healing.

Tea Tree Oil

Bactine pain relieving liquid and spray
Image via Bactine

Tea tree oil has some antiseptic properties, so some people will suggest against it.

However, it’s a natural product with strong anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial substances, so it helps during the initial healing process and treats old wounds.

It can promote quick healing, reduce irritation and prevent infection.

Dilute tea tree oil by pouring a few drops into water or carrier oil before applying it to your piercing because the essential oil is quite strong and can burn or irritate the skin when used undiluted.


Warm water is one of the best things you can use to clean your piercing. It will help to remove any crusting or debris that may have built up around the wound.

And it will also help to soothe any irritation or inflammation that may be present.

Be sure to use a mild soap or cleanser with warm water to avoid further irritation.

Pat the area dry with a tissue or clean cloth after cleansing because moisture at the piercing site can be a breeding ground for bacteria.

Body Piercing Aftercare Products

You must consider a few things when getting a piercing—pain, healing and aftercare.

Another important thing is to decide on the proper aftercare products.

There are a lot of different products on the market, and picking up the best one could be challenging.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help.

There are a few body piercing aftercare products on the market that can help speed up the healing process and keep your piercing clean.

One of the most popular piercing aftercare products is H2Ocean. It’s a saline solution that’s specifically designed for piercings.

This cleaning solution contains a unique blend of sea salt and 82 elements and minerals that work together to cleanse and soothe your skin.

Plus, the spray remains sterile, so you can be sure that your piercing is getting the very best care possible.

In addition to cleansing your piercing every day, you should also be sure to clean it after any activities that might cause it to become contaminated.

This includes swimming and working out.

Chlorine and other chemicals in swimming pools can irritate new piercings, so it’s important to get them cleaned as soon as possible after swimming.

The same goes for working out. If you’re sweating, clean your piercing as soon as you’re done because sweat can promote infection.

Is Tea Tree Oil the Best Piercing Aftercare Product?

Tea tree oil is a good option if you’re looking for a safer alternative to Bactine for piercing.

It has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, making it an ideal treatment for body piercings.

It can help to soothe irritation and speed up the healing process.

Other benefits you can get from tea tree oil application are:

  • Prevention of fungal infection
  • Protecting the piercing from scar tissue and keloids
  • Reducing the inflammation of bumps and pustules

However, you should never use undiluted tea tree oil on piercings. Always dilute it with water or carrier oil, like coconut oil.

Then apply it to a cotton ball or Q-tip and gently clean the area around the piercing.

You can also add a few drops to a cup of warm water or saline solution and use it as a soak.

Never use this oil for treating oral piercings because it’s suitable for topical use only.

Ingestion can cause several side effects, including dizziness, disorientation and losing muscle control.

Final Words

Bactine is not the cure-all for piercings that many people make it out to be.

In fact, it can do more harm than good. It’s best to stick to a simple cleaning routine and let your body do its thing.

Regarding piercing aftercare, it’s important to listen to your piercer’s instructions.

They know what’s best for your piercing and can help you overcome any problems.

Always seek medical advice if there are any complications with the healing process.

FAQs about Bactine for Piercing

Does Bactine help heal piercings?

No, you should not use Bactine for cleaning or treating piercings. It has a numbing agent that can give instant relief.

However, many complications can arise from overdosing, allergic reactions and other factors.

What can I put on an infected piercing?

You can use salt water soak for cleaning a piercing. If there is an infection, take medical advice instead of applying over-the-counter medicine or antibiotic cream.