I was sitting at the local bar earlier this week and noticed a girl sitting across from me who was constantly playing with her lip piercing. It was obvious that she constantly played with it by the deep redness that surrounded the jewelry. Not only was this irritation aesthetically unpleasant, she was opening the door to a slew of possible complications.
In this article I will try to stress why you should never “play” with your piercings. Nothing good comes from constant movement of the jewelry and failure to leave your piercings alone can cause nasty scars and complications.
By constantly moving a piercing, weather it’s healed or not is counterproductive to the healing process. Jewelry should not be moved while healing and the more you irritate the surrounding skin the easier it is for infection to creep up on you. In the same aspect jewelry should never be changed before the healing process is complete and when replacing jewelry the process should be completed as quickly as possible to avoid closure of the hole which can happen rapidly.
In the event that you don’t take my advice and insist on playing with your new piercing. When your piercing starts to become irritated or infected you will need to either treat the affected piercing or remove it.
From The Association Of Professional Piercers
What is Normal?
- Can be reddish, brownish, pinkish, or purplish
- Can remain for many months with certain piercings, such as navels
- May be significant with oral piercings such as the lip or tongue, and may last several days immediately following the initial piercing
- Exudate of plasma, dead cells, etc.
- Should not be copious in quantity, malodorous, or green
- Will form a small amount of crystalline-appearing cruston the jewelry at the openings of the piercing
Things to consider when treating a troubled piercing or considering jewelry removal from a piercing:
The majority of troublesome piercings can be resolved without the piercing being lost.
- Advice to simply “take it out” is likely to be met with resistance from the piercee, and if infected can lead to the formation of an abscess (see below)
- Changes in aftercare and/or jewelry size, style or material may resolve the problems for the piercee/patient
- Inappropriate placement can also be the cause of problems. In this case removal is often required, and if done timely will prevent further problems
- Even momentary removal of jewelry from a healing piercing can result in amazingly rapid closure of the piercing, and make reinsertion difficult or impossible
- Problem: Piercing has been contaminated by pathogenic microorganism(s)
- Most Common: Piercee has touched piercing with dirty hands or otherwise contaminated piercing (exposure to bodily fluids, dirty water, etc.)
- Piercing done with inappropriately sterilized tools, needles, jewelry
- Piercing done with unclean, ungloved, and/or contaminated gloved hands
- Piercing exudes thick, green, malodorous pus
- Piercing and surrounding area is warm/hot to the touch (more so than other skin)
- Piercing site is swollen, red, and painful
- Increased mild sea salt soaks (for minor infections)
- Oral/topical antibiotics, as prescribed by a physician
- Removal of jewelry in the presence of an infection may result in an abscess. In the event there is a localized, draining infection, quality jewelry should be left in place to allow for passage of matter to the surface
- Abscesses are usually site specific. An exception is the chest where the duct system can result in the abscess being formed inches away from the piercing site
Many complications from a piercing can easily be avoided by leaving the piercing alone. Don’t cause undue trauma to your body by using your piercing as a time killer. Not only will you make your new piercing look like hell, you are running the risk of further permanent complications.