How Do I Deal with Pus from a Piercing?

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  • Written By: Christina Edwards
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 16 March 2019
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Pus from a piercing, especially a new piercing, is not uncommon, and it is usually a sign of infection. Individuals with new piercings should avoid touching the areas as much as possible, since this can introduce bacteria into the area. The affected piercing should not be removed right away, since this can cause an abscess. Instead, the area should be washed with a weak solution of sea salt and water. If the piercing does not get better within a few days, medical attention is usually recommended.

New piercings are the most susceptible to infection, which often causes redness, swelling, and pus drainage. This typically occurs when tiny micro-organism are introduced into the piercing hole. When this occurs, the body's immune system surrounds the micro-organisms with white blood cells and attempt to expel them from the body. The result of this is pus, which can be white, yellow, or green.

One of the most common ways that bacteria gets into a new piercing is when a person touches it. Experts typically recommend not touching a new piercing, unless absolutely necessary, such as when cleaning it. When one does touch a new piercing, however, she should wash her hands well.


When there is pus from a piercing, most experts also do not recommend removing the jewelry. This can cause the outside holes of the piercing to close. An abscess may then form on the inside of the piercing hole. Internal scar tissue could also form.

Pus coming from a piercing can usually be effectively treated with a weak solution of salt and water. Sea salt is usually recommended for this. Regular table salt is not recommended, since it often contains iodine, which can cause further irritation.

Roughly 1 teaspoon (5 milliliters) of sea salt should be mixed into a glass of hot or warm water. The mixture can them be stirred to help completely dissolve the salt. Once the salt is completely dissolved, it can then be used to rinse pus from a piercing.

The salt water solution can usually be rubbed onto most types of piercings with a sterile cotton swab. Individuals with tongue piercings, however, may be able to swish the solution around in their mouth. An infected piercing should be rinsed with a salt water solution two to three times each day.

Pus from a piercing, along with other signs of infection, should generally begin to dissipate within four days. Although all signs of infection may not be completely gone, the area should be better. If there is no improvement, a visit to a medical professional is usually necessary. More aggressive antibiotics may be needed to clear up a major infection.


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Post 3

My nose piercing got infected. I had green colored pus coming out of it every day. I didn't do my salt water soaks as directed, so it's completely my fault.

I ended up going to my doctor about this because I was afraid of the infection spreading. My doctor gave me five days worth of antibiotics and antibiotic cream to use on the piercing. I also soaked my piercing in salt water a few times a day.

The infection has cleared up now and everything is looking great. I'm glad that I didn't take any chances and went to my doctor.

Post 2

@fBoyle-- If the discharge is clear, then it's probably not pus, just serum. Serum is what the body develops when it's trying to heal. So it's not a bad thing.

You don't need to do anything, but don't take your earrings out. Piercings can close up very quickly and this clear serum is trying to do just that. So if you take your earrings out, you may have to get them pierced again.

Post 1

I got my ears pierced a few days ago. There is clear pus coming out of my piercing. I smelled it and it doesn't smell bad. Do I need to do anything about this?

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