Safely Swimming with a New Piercing: Essential Aftercare & Tips

So, you’ve just gotten a new piercing and you’re eager to dive into the pool or the ocean. But wait, can you swim with a new piercing? It’s a common question that’s worth considering to protect your new body art.

Swimming with a new piercing can be risky. Water bodies, whether they’re swimming pools, hot tubs, or natural bodies of water, harbor bacteria that can lead to infections. Moreover, chemicals like chlorine in pools could potentially irritate your fresh piercing.

Key Takeaways

  • Swimming with a new piercing poses several risks such as bacterial infection and irritation due to chlorine in pool waters or salts in oceans.
  • All water bodies, including swimming pools, hot tubs, and natural bodies of water, harbor bacteria that could lead to infections in new piercings.
  • Chlorine in swimming pools, while useful for sanitation, can irritate fresh piercings, behaving like a harsh chemical on the open wound.
  • It’s important to keep a new piercing dry as much as possible. If swimming is unavoidable, using a waterproof bandage to cover the piercing can offer some protection.
  • It’s crucial to cleanse the piercing immediately after swimming, preferably with a saline solution, and avoid contact with dirty hands or shared items like pool towels.
  • Natural bodies of water, hot tubs, and public pools carry a high risk of infection. It’s recommended to wait for at least 30 days after a piercing before swimming in such places.
  • After swimming, the piercing needs to be carefully dried and rinsed with saline. Regular checks for signs of infection should be a part of the aftercare routine.

When swimming with a new piercing, it is crucial to take preventive measures to avoid infections; covering the pierced area with a waterproof bandage is recommended by experts to keep bacteria at bay, as noted on Mayo Clinic. Additionally, the American Academy of Dermatology advises gently cleaning the piercing with saline solution before and after swimming to reduce the risk of irritation and promote healing. It’s also essential to avoid bodies of water that are likely to be high in bacteria such as lakes and rivers, a safety tip reinforced by Healthline.

Risks of Swimming with a New Piercing

When temptation kicks in, it’s vital to understand the Risks of Swimming with a New Piercing. You may feel compelled to freshen up in a pool, but is it worth the potential damage? It’s not exactly black and white.

One of the primary concerns you’ll deal with is infection. Water bodies are teeming with bacteria which might not bode well with your new piercing. Picture this: even seemingly clean water bodies like swimming pools or hot tubs are bacteria havens. Dive in and you’re inviting these opportunistic little organisms straight to an open wound.

While we’re on the subject of swimming pools, let’s talk about chlorine. Yes, it’s a significant part of keeping the water sanitized and safe for everyone. But, remember that a new piercing is akin to an open wound. Chlorine, with all its disinfectant power, might not exactly be your piercing’s best friend.


Swapping the chlorine-drenched environment for the natural allure of oceans, rivers, or lakes? You’re not exactly safe either. These waters could host parasites and potentially harmful micro-organisms that may lead to problems if they encounter your fresh piercing.

Saltwater brings another set of risks to the table. Salts are notorious for drying out skin, and a new piercing, sensitized and healing, might be aggravated by this. It’s a tricky case of ‘is it more harmful or helpful?’, as some believe saltwater can help in mild cleansing and healing of wounds.

In understanding these threats, it’s obvious exercising caution when considering swimming with a new piercing isn’t just an overreaction – it’s an absolute necessity. You’ve got to protect your body art and prevent potential complications. Being patient and waiting for your piercing to fully heal before hitting the water might be the way to go.

Precautions to Take

Straying into the water with a new piercing isn’t unavoidably wrong. It’s feasible, given that you take the appropriate precautions. Your piercing is an open wound. Hence, it’s prime real estate for bacteria and other micro-organisms to set up camp. Taking steps to reduce the risks can save you a world of pain.

Primarily, it’s key to keep the piercing dry as much as possible. Avoid submerging it in water. If you must swim, consider using a waterproof bandage to cover the area. There’s an array of waterproof bandages in the market which make great protective gear for fresh piercings.

Secondly, it’s important to cleanse the pierced area immediately after swimming. Saline solution is your best friend here. It’s mild yet effective to wash off contaminants without causing irritation. Remember that your healing piercing should not be touched with dirty hands. Cleanliness is highly crucial at this stage.

Furthermore, avoid touching the piercing with pool towels or any other shared items. They can harbor lingering bacteria which is harmful for your open wound.

Additionally, factor in the type of body of water you’ll be swimming in. Natural waters teem with harmful organisms that love an open wound, making oceans, rivers, and lakes a no-go for fresh piercings.

To expand the context, let’s break down the risk levels and timeframes for different water bodies:

Water BodyRisk LevelMinimum Time to Wait (Days)
Hot Tubs/JacuzziHigh30
Private PoolsMedium21
Public Pools/OceansHigh30

Prevention beats cure any day. Don’t rush back to the water. Time, patience, and care are essential for your piercing to heal completely. The longer you wait before you swim, the lower your risk. It’s your personal responsibility to care for your body art and to ensure the healing process is smooth and complication-free.

Things to Avoid

Having a fresh piercing doesn’t mean giving up on fun. When it comes to outdoor activities like swimming, there are just some things you need to avoid to maintain the integrity and health of your new piercing.

One key rule here is to avoid untreated water at all costs. Bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and ponds are notorious for their high risk of bacterial infections. These natural water bodies are a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead to potential infections if they come in contact with a newly pierced area. Despite their refreshing allure, they’re the most dangerous. You must consider your health first and save the dive for when your piercing’s fully healed.

Next on the list: hot tubs and public pools. Although these areas might seem cleaner due to the use of chlorine, they also pose threats. Hot tubs and swimming pools are often used by multiple people, hence, the probability of shared bacteria is immensely high. You’re better off waiting for your healing period to pass before joining the crowd.

But alas, you might ask – “What about the ocean?” While sea water does have some known healing properties, don’t get too excited. The ocean is a mixture of both fresh and treated water, making it an inconsistent option at best. Yes, the saltwater can expedite the healing process, but the other harmful microorganisms present in the water can offset this benefit.

Finally, steer clear from shared items like goggles, swim caps or towels. Even if they were previously used by a friend or family member, they’re not safe for use. Bacteria and other microbes are quite sneaky, and can easily transfer from these items to your new piercing, escalating your risk for infections.

Remember, proper piercing care is most crucial during the healing phase. Do everything you can to avoid infection during this precious period. Your patience will pay off when you can finally enjoy your new piercing, confidently and without worry.

Caring for Your Piercing After Swimming

Once you’re out of the water, proper aftercare is crucial to stave off any potential infections. Regardless of whether you’ve swum in a pool, sea, or any untreated natural water body, your new piercing needs meticulous attention.

First thing’s first, cleanse your piercing carefully. Pat your piercing dry with a clean, unused towel and make sure to not rub or cause any unnecessary friction. You might want to consider carrying a pack of saline piercing wipes for a quick and efficient cleanse, especially if you’re swimming away from home.

Next, rinse your piercing thoroughly with a saline solution. The wound wash saline solutions, available at pharmacies, are a great option. Keep in mind that this isn’t your regular shower routine. You don’t want to use soap or any other harsh chemicals on your piercing. Stick to saline and remember to do a gentle but thorough rinse.

Check your piercing regularly, particularly if you’ve been swimming. Look for signs of infection, including redness, swelling, and unusual discharges. You don’t want to wait for it to become painful before you realize that there’s an issue with your piercing. Early detection of a problem gives you a head start on treatments and ensures that you’ll keep any potential complications at bay.

Patience is key when it comes to new piercings. It might take weeks or even months for your piercing to fully heal. Don’t rush this process with frequent swimming or by neglecting aftercare steps. Your piercing is a wound that needs time to heal, and impatience can lead to unnecessary complications.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you suspect an infection, seek professional help immediately. Piercing infections are serious and you mustn’t try to self-medicate or ignore the symptoms. Your piercer or a medical professional should be your first point of contact.

Remember, swimming with a new piercing can be fun, but it demands additional care and attention. By following these steps and being vigilant, you can enjoy a swim without risking the health of your piercing.


So, you’re probably wondering, “Can I swim with a new piercing?” The answer isn’t a simple yes or no. Sure, you can dive in, but you’ve got to be smart about it. Remember, your piercing is a fresh wound and it needs time to heal. Swimming could expose it to harmful bacteria, which could lead to infection. But, don’t let this put a damper on your pool or beach plans. With a proper aftercare routine, you can still enjoy a swim. Just make sure to cleanse your piercing carefully after, use saline solutions for rinsing, and keep an eye out for any signs of infection. If you’re ever in doubt, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. After all, it’s your body, and you want to take the best care of it. So go ahead, make a splash, but don’t forget to care for your piercing.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is aftercare important for piercings after swimming?

Aftercare is essential to prevent infections and ensure the healthy healing of your piercing. Unsanitary water can introduce microbes leading to infection.

2. What should I use to clean my piercing after swimming?

Clean your piercing with a saline solution after swimming. It helps cleanse the pierced area without causing irritation.

3. What signs of infection should I look for in my piercing after swimming?

If you notice redness, swelling, pain, pus, or experience a fever, these could be signs of an infection. Seek professional help immediately if you see these signs.

4. How long does the healing process take for a piercing post swimming?

Patience is key as the healing time can vary significantly depending on the location of the piercing, your overall health, and how diligently aftercare procedures are followed.

5. Can I swim without worrying about my piercing health?

Yes, with proper aftercare and vigilance towards signs of infection, you can enjoy swimming without extensive worries about your piercing health.