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Piercings are difficult to take care of any time of the year, but the winter is an especially bad time for those who have just got a body modification.

It’s cold, wet and do we need to mention the pain of having a snowball thrown at a newly pierced ear? Here’s how to look after your piercing during the winter, to avoid pain and infection:

Avoid soap

Avoid using soap to wash your piercing during the colder months as it can contribute to the drying out of the skin around the area. It’s not a problem if soapy water goes near them while you’re showering, but it may be an issue if you’re washing the area directly with soap. Stick to natural moisturisers, with little chemicals and elements designed for healing piercings.

Don’t neglect old piercings

Even if you’ve worked hard during the summer and kept your piercing in tip top condition, the winter may mean it’s time to start looking after it again. If you notice the area is drying outy ou can buy a solution from your piercer if you’re worried.

Avoid warm water

A warm water compress by itself is likely to dry out the area and be a hindrance instead of a help. Although it may seem like it will help with the irritation, it’s best to use a saline solution.

Do not twist or turn

If you notice the area is drying out or producing a clear ooze, avoid twisting and turning or trying to pick the dry skin away. Instead use your saline solution to cleanse the area and stop any infections from beginning to happen. Twisting and turning may lead to more irritation.

Be healthy

According to Elle, ‘a healthy diet is always important but especially after a piercing’. Make sure you’re looking after yourself in the winter months and still getting in regular exercise. Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water throughout the day.

Cover up affected areas

The winter can be a particularly harsh time for every part of your body, so as well as putting on gloves and a hat, you should put protective clothing over your piercings as best you can too. Noses and ears get particularly cold throughout the chillier months and the added metal attracts the cold a lot more.

Make sure the clothing isn’t tight and won’t snag your piercing, as this can result in irritation and infection also. You should also avoid heavy earrings that may add more pressure to your ears and nose, and opt for different materials like Pyrex, if you know you’re going to be in the cold for a long period of time.

If you do experience any problems during the colder months, do not hesitate to visit your piercer and listen to their advice. Keep in mind that the longer to heal piercings, like a cartilage one, will need extra care during the winter.