Crusties—the nickname for the clear or yellow caking that forms around a healing body piercing. Crusties are the result of your body trying to heal itself. This is simply a mix of lymphatic fluid, epithelial debris and dead blood cells which seeps out clear and dries to a yellowish color when exposed to air. It’s nothing to worry about and is not usually indicative of any problem.
Crusties need to be cleaned carefully and thoroughly whenever you notice them. DO NOT pick the crusties off—that’s just introducing your dirty hands to a healing piercing and can increase your risk of infection. The best way to clean them is to soak the piercing in warm saline solution, softening the crusties which then come off easily. If you do not soften them and the jewelry rotates through the piercing, these crusties may scratch and irritate the inside of the piercing, delaying healing and possibly opening a channel for infection.
If you’re unable to soak your piercing, use a clean cotton swab soaked in saline solution. I’ve carried around a small bottle of prepared solution and some Q-tips in a clean plastic bag so I can swab away crusties as they appear throughout the day.
After a couple weeks, you will see less or possibly even none of the crusties. Keep in mind, though, that even healed piercings may seep slightly. As always, do not hesitate to call, e-mail or come by the shop if you have a question. We are always ready to assist you!