We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How Do I Deal with Pus from a Piercing?

By Christina Edwards
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

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.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By donasmrs — On Nov 09, 2013

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.

By literally45 — On Nov 08, 2013

@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.

By fBoyle — On Nov 08, 2013

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?

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.